A Guide to Student Support Services Provided by Universities

If you’ve decided to pursue your dream degree abroad, you might be wondering how to choose the right university to apply to. There are many factors to consider, such as the location, the reputation, the tuition fees, and the curriculum of the program you’re interested in. But there is one more aspect that you should not overlook: the student support services.

Student support services are the various programs, resources, and initiatives that universities provide to help you achieve their academic goals and enrich their campus life. They can range from campus facilities and resources, to academic support services, to cultural integration programs, and more. These services are designed to meet the needs and interests of both international and local students, helping them to adapt and thrive in an inclusive learning environment.

Why are student support services important? Because they can make a huge difference in your university experience and your future success. They can help you:

  • Adapt to a new country and culture
  • Improve your academic performance and confidence
  • Develop your language skills and proficiency
  • Prepare for your future career and aspirations
  • Maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle
  • Enjoy your campus life and build a sense of community

In this article, we will explore some of the student support services that you should look for in a university, and how they can benefit you as a prospective student who wants to study abroad.

Campus Facilities & Resources

The Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford
Accommodation Assistance

Many universities have initiatives to help international students find suitable housing options. They may run their own on-campus or off-site accommodation, and may also offer assistance and advice in finding off-campus accommodation.

Health & Wellness Services

Access to healthcare facilities and medical support is non-negotiable for students studying abroad. Most universities have student health centers on campus where students can receive medical care, vaccinations, counseling services, and access to specialists when needed. Make sure to check if there are any health insurance requirements or recommendations specific to the university and country you are considering.

Library and Study Spaces

Well-equipped libraries and comfortable study areas are essential for academic success. Universities typically have libraries with extensive collections of books, journals, databases, and online resources that students can access. They may also offer dedicated study spaces such as quiet rooms or group study areas equipped with technology to facilitate collaborative work.

Sports and Recreation Facilities

Staying physically active is important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle while you live and study abroad. Most universities have recreation centers that provide sports facilities like gyms, swimming pools, tennis courts, sports clubs/teams that cater to various interests such as soccer or basketball etc., fitness classes (e. g., yoga or dance), outdoor recreational spaces like parks or fields where students can engage in physical activities. If you opt to use facilities that are not associated with your university, make sure you ask if they have student concession discounts.

Multifaith Centers

Recognizing the diversity of religious beliefs among their student population, universities often establish multifaith centers that serve as inclusive spaces for worshiping or practicing different religions on campus. Some also provide opportunities to learn about other faiths, cultures, and traditions. Services may include chaplaincy, interfaith dialogue, spiritual counselling, and more. There may also be programs such as meditation, prayer, worship, and celebrations.

Sexual Violence Support and Prevention Office

Universities typically set up dedicated departments with the aim of creating safe campus environments free from any instances of sexual violence or harassment. These specialized units provide support for survivors of sexual violence, and concurrently work towards raising awareness about prevention strategies.

Academic Support

Support for international students at Brock University (Ontario, Canada)
Tutoring Programs

Access to tutoring services can be invaluable when you need extra help with your coursework. Look for universities that offer tutoring programs where you can receive one-on-one or group assistance from qualified tutors.

Language Support

If English is not your first language, it’s important to choose a university that offers language support services. Look for institutions that provide language classes or language labs specifically designed for non-native English speakers. These resources can help improve your English proficiency and ensure that you succeed academically.

Mentoring Programs

Peer mentoring or faculty mentoring programs can provide valuable guidance and support throughout your university journey. Peer mentoring programs connect you with experienced students who can offer advice and assistance based on their own experiences. Faculty mentoring programs allow you to develop relationships with professors who can provide academic guidance and mentorship.


Universities often employ dedicated student advisors who can help you plan and achieve your academic and personal goals, and provide support throughout your studies. More specifically, you may have access to academic advisors who can help you with course selection, degree requirements, academic policies, and more. Meanwhile, personal advisors can help you with personal issues, such as stress, anxiety, or adjustment.

Career Development

The Student Affairs Office at Hong Kong Metropolitan University (HKMU) has a dedicated Student Career Services team to help students prepare for their career.

Career services are a crucial aspect of preparing your post-graduate career plans and achieving your professional aspirations. Universities often provide services to help you explore your career options and potential through various initiatives. For example, most top universities will offer the following.

Career Counselling

Career counseling is an invaluable way for students to explore their interests, skills, values, and personality, and how they relate to their career choices. A professional career counselor can assist with career assessment, exploration, planning, and decision-making.

Resume-Building Workshops

Universities sometimes host sessions to prepare you on how to create impressive resumes. You can receive expert feedback and access online tools for professional-looking resumes.

Internship Opportunities

Internships are a valuable chance to gain practical and relevant work experience in your fields of interest. Universities will often partner with local and international organizations and companies to offer internship placements in your field, either during or after your studies.

Networking Events

Universities organize and host various networking events that allow students to meet and connect with potential employers, mentors, and peers. These may include career fairs, alumni gatherings, and industry talks. Choosing a university that offers you these opportunities can help you expand your professional network, learn from the experiences and advice of others, and discover new opportunities and possibilities.

Alumni Networks

Alumni networks help students stay connected with their peers, mentors, and professors who graduated from the same university or program. They may also provide students with access to career opportunities, mentoring programs, events, and resources.

Diversity & Inclusion

A multi-faith space at the University of Liverpool (UK).

Universities provide services to foster a respectful and inclusive environment for students from diverse backgrounds and identities. These can include cultural integration programs to help international students adapt to a new environment.

Cultural Centers

Many universities have cultural centers where students can celebrate and learn about different cultures, traditions, and identities. They may offer events, programs, workshops, and resources that promote cultural awareness, diversity, and inclusion.

Anti-Racism Initiatives

Universities understand the importance of combating racism and discrimination on campus and beyond. They may have dedicated initiatives or programs that raise awareness about racial issues and provide training on cultural sensitivity. These can help foster a respectful and equitable environment for all students, staff, and faculty.

Accessibility Services

These are services that provide accommodations and support for students with disabilities or special needs. They may include adaptive technology, accessible classrooms, learning strategies, academic coaching, note-taking assistance, exam arrangements, and more. Universities prioritize creating an accessible learning environment for all students.

LGBTQ+ Resources

Many universities have LGBTQ+ resource centers or offices dedicated to supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) students. These centers often offer counseling services, educational workshops on LGBTQ+ topics, social events for networking within the community.

Indigenous Student Centre

Recognizing the unique needs of Indigenous students is essential in promoting their success at university. Indigenous student centres provide culturally relevant resources such as academic advising tailored to Indigenous perspectives and traditions. They also organize cultural events and connect students with community elders.

International Student Departments

Universities often have specialized offices or departments that assist and enhance the experience of international students throughout their journey. They may offer immigration, orientation, language, exchange, and intercultural programs and resources.

Student Life & Engagement 

Student accessibility services offered at Clemson University (US).
Student Clubs

Universities offer various clubs and organizations that cater to different interests, hobbies, and academic disciplines. Joining a club allows students to connect with like-minded individuals and engage in extracurricular activities.

Sports & Recreation

Most universities have sports facilities where students can participate in organized sports teams or enjoy recreational activities such as gym workouts, swimming pools, and tennis courts.

Leadership Opportunities

Universities actively promote and foster the development of leadership skills among their students by offering leadership programs and opportunities for involvement in student government or campus committees.

Volunteer Opportunities

To foster a sense of community and social responsibility among their students, universities have developed volunteer programs that encourage students to give back to their local communities, while also enabling them to actively contribute towards causes that they are truly passionate about. These programs create opportunities to make a positive impact, develop valuable skills, and establish meaningful connections with the wider community.

Apply through Global Admissions

As you can see, student support services are an important factor to consider when choosing a university. They can make a huge difference in your university experience and your future success.

Find your dream university: Global Admissions has a database of over 10,000 universities in more than 100 countries, covering various fields and levels of study. You can search and compare universities based on various criteria, and apply to your preferred programs directly through the platform.

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