Colleges offer a number of resources and services for students that are staffed by people who want to help you - it’s their job and passion!
Tapping into the many resources available on campus will help you get the most out of your college experience. Do you know about all of the services that are typically offered at college? You’ll find a list of the top ten campus resources for college students below.
Be proactive and take a minute to check them out on your campus, and make sure to tell your friends.
10 Campus Resources That Have Your Back:
1. Counseling Services
The transition to college can sometimes be challenging. Think about it: you’re living away from home for the first time, you have to make new friends, and you’re likely faced with higher academic demands than you’ve ever experienced before. If the transition is something that is so difficult that it’s starting to affect your mental health and wellness, you may consider counseling services. Counselors and psychologists are trained to help students work through problems like this, and confidentiality is a part of their code of ethics. Being proactive is especially important when considering help from counseling services.
2. Physical Health Services
Have the flu? Need a vaccine or X-ray? Your school most likely has a health service system and doctors that can help you on a walk-in or appointment basis. If not, they’ll be able to refer you somewhere nearby. At four-year schools, a health service fee is typically included in your tuition for clinic visits, so you’ve already paid for these services! Note there may be a co-pay if you need something that’s more specialized (like certain immunizations before you study abroad).
3. Academic Advising
It is so important to see your academic advisor regularly – at least once per term. In many ways, your academic advisor can be a lifeline to a successful college experience. Advisors are like Swiss army knives - they can help you make connections on campus; answer questions about student employment, grad school, or how to get involved in student organizations; and ensure you’re on track to graduate. Your advisor will also know about relevant campus resources that could be beneficial to you, academically and otherwise. If you have a question and don’t know who to ask—start with your academic advisor! If you have a question that’s time sensitive and you can’t meet you advisor in time, stop by “walk-in” advising hours.
4. Writing Help / Tutoring
It’s normal to get to college and feel like your writing skills could use a little extra help. In reality, most students need some level of assistance with college-level writing. Most schools have a writing center where peer and/or college employees are available to help you for free. You can meet with a tutor in person to talk about what questions and concerns you have, and sometimes you can submit work online. You can get help no matter what stage of writing you’re in, whether you’re brainstorming, writing an outline, working on your first draft, or reviewing a graded paper. Tutors at the writing center will also be able to help you prepare for written midterms and exams. Visiting the writing center and taking advantage of its resources will undoubtedly help you become a better writer.
5. Math Help / Tutoring
One of the most important keys to doing well in college is not getting behind! If you feel like you’re getting behind in your math class (whether that be algebra, calculus, statistics, etc.) or you need some extra assistance because a big exam is coming up, get the help you need from math tutors offered by your class or the Math Department. Sometimes tutors work out of a “math lab,” which is a classroom dedicated to math tutoring. Make sure to ask your professor or instructor where you can find more information.
6. Career Center
The campus career center offers help with job and internship searches as well as resume and cover letter review. What do you want to do after you graduate? It’s a question that haunts many students! If you’re unsure but want to start exploring, make an appointment with a career center advisor.
The career center is not only for juniors and seniors, but also for underclassmen looking to map out the transition from academic to professional career. Looking for internships, exploring potential careers, learning about your interests, and connecting with alumni are all things that a career center can help you with.
There is no one except you that will manage your post-graduation career, so starting early will help you think about your post-college plans in a concrete way. With a better understanding of post-college opportunities, you will also develop a sharper focus on your studies.
7. Study Abroad Office
Is it your dream to go abroad? Make that dream possible by talking to someone from a study abroad office. It is highly encouraged for students to have an abroad experience while they are in college (and if money is an issue don’t worry – there are many scholarships, need- and merit-based, available)! Going abroad will allow you to learn more about other cultures and experience life in a new place. Many students will go abroad in the summer but others may go for a fall or winter semester. You can talk to a study abroad advisor about where you want to go and when – and how you can fund it. If your school doesn’t have a study abroad office, talk with your academic advisor about opportunities to go abroad.
8. Research Opportunities
Along with encouraging students to go abroad, many 4-year colleges encourage students to get involved in research. Doing research, whether it’s in the sciences or liberal arts, will allow you develop skills that will be useful to you in your career. For example, you may learn to analyze data and write a report based upon that data. Eventually, you may even have the chance to present your research. Conducting research also allows you to develop professional relationships with faculty members by working with them on a regular basis. To find research opportunities, reach out to faculty who research topics you’re interested in and ask about working with them. Your academic advisor may also have some leads.
9. Financial Aid Office
Your college has grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study funds available for students. You can learn more about different types of funding and your individual financial aid package from staff at the financial aid office. Financial aid advisors have worked with thousands of students from all walks of life and are well-equipped to answer any questions you have. If you run into an unexpected financial crisis - even during summer break - they can help you come up with solutions. Some colleges have small grants or loans specifically for student financial emergencies. They can also help you complete the FAFSA. Don’t let any financial aid issues become a burden for you. Ask a financial aid advisor today!
10. Housing Office
At many 4-year schools, students live in dorms their first year. Usually it goes well, but if you have any issues with your dorm or your roommate, make sure you reach out to your hall director. Many students choose to live off campus after their first year, and renting an apartment for the first time or moving to campus after commuting can be stressful. You can reach out to the housing office for more information, and staff there should also be able help to you review a lease agreement so you understand it before you sign.
College is a unique time in your life where you want to maximize your experiences so that you’re better positioned to achieve your long-term goals. Colleges and universities want to set you up for success - in and out of the classroom - and have created many resources to help you achieve your goals. Avoid unnecessary stress down the line by taking the time to check them out now!
Academic Advisor, University of Michigan