Written by Ashley Fontaine, BA English Literature and Film & Theatre
Student support is at the heart of the University of Reading’s ethos and this is demonstrated through the range of health and wellbeing services that they offer.
Whatever the type of support you require – including counselling, financial, spiritual and disability support – there are members of the university who are trained, on hand, and ready to help or advise you.
Below is an A-Z guide of the main support services that are available for all Reading students.
No matter what religious and spiritual beliefs (faith or non-faith) you hold, this centre is a space for all students, especially those who’d like some pastoral support or simply someone to talk to. The chaplaincy is open Monday to Friday, 8:30–17:30 and has a total of five chaplains – all from local churches in the Reading area.
Students are able to call, email or just drop in if they wish to speak to a member of staff. You can find the chaplaincy centre on the Whiteknights Campus at Park House Lodge.
Telephone – +44 (0) 118 378 8797 Email – firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook Group – The Reading University Chaplaincy Community
The University Counselling and Wellbeing service is run by a team of highly skilled and qualified counsellors and mental health advisors. The service is there to offer all students (undergraduate and postgraduate) specialist support for any developmental, clinical and academic issues, and the best thing is that it’s free of charge!
- The Counselling and Wellbeing service is located in the Carrington Building, room 106 on the Whiteknights Campus and is open Monday to Friday, 10:00–12:00 and 13:00–15:00.
- Students must register at the Counselling and Wellbeing service reception if they would like to see a counsellor or mental health advisor.
- Students are supported through one-to-one consultations.
- There is a strict confidentiality policy; information is not shared to others without prior permission.
“I started working with the counselling service a few months into my first year at the University of Reading. I found that my anxiety had worsened once I left home; I had not been away from home for so long before. My counsellor was amazing! Whether listening with a tissue on hand or making me laugh, I felt comfortable. I’ve felt there’s been a real improvement since attending my sessions.” – Eleanor Dewar, BA English Literature
You can find out more about how the Counselling and Wellbeing service works under the About Counselling and Wellbeing Page on the Student Essentials website.
This support service enables students with any disability, mental health condition, or specific learning difficulty to get advice and guidance. The team can help with the following:
- Physical disabilities
- Sensory disabilities
- Mental health difficulties
- Medical conditions
- Autism or Asperger syndrome
- Specific learning difficulties
The Disability Advisory service also run a Social Mentoring Scheme. First-year students with autism spectrum disorders and mental health difficulties can be paired up with likewise second and third-year students. Each mentor is trained to support, act as a listening ear and help their mentees feel welcome.
“After developing repetitive strain injury (RSI) in my right wrist (my writing hand) halfway through A level, I knew that I did not want to have to suffer the pain of having to write any more exam papers. I thus decided to speak to the Disability Advisory service to see if they could help me in any way, and after having a consultation, I was later told that I would be allowed to use a computer for all of my exams. Having the opportunity to type-up my exam papers in my first and second year was highly beneficial, as doing so relieved my wrist pain and made me feel more at ease.” – anon
If you are unsure as to whether your disability falls under one of the above categories and/or want to know more about the Social Mentoring Scheme, contact the Disability Advisory service on +44 (0) 118 378 4202 or visit the team in the Carrington Building. Their reception is open Monday to Friday, 10:00-16:00.
If students face any personal, medical or family problems – these include a severe illness, death or severe illness of close relative or partner, mental health problems, a physical attack, or other events of comparable effect – and they believe that such is having a negative impact on, or is likely to affect, their academic performance, then the university may be able to consider ‘Extenuating Circumstances’.
Extenuating circumstances can range from extensions on coursework deadlines to exam re-takes, and students are advised to alert their Personal Tutor before making any claims.
You can submit an Extenuating Circumstances form under the ‘Actions’ tab on the RISIS portal. For a step-by-step guide on how to do so see the short video clip on the Extenuating Circumstances Page of the Student Essentials website.
Financial Support Team
Concerned about how you are going to manage financially while at university? Unsure about how to budget effectively? See the university’s student financial support advisors in the Carrington Building. Available all week (from Monday to Friday), the team can aid students who need help with:
- Short-term loans
If you come into any financial hardships during the course of your degree programme, the team offer specific advice drop-in sessions from 9:30–12:00 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Additionally, you can also speak to an advisor over the phone – +44 (0) 118 378 5555.
International & EU Student Support
Part of the Student Services sector in the Carrington Building, the team can advise EU and international students on anything from living and studying in the UK to visas and immigration.
Email (all queries) – email@example.com
Email (immigration and visa queries) – firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out how to book a one-to-one appointment with an advisor regarding immigration see the Appointment Section under the International Students Page of the Student Essentials website.
Open Mind Society
This student-run club is the University of Reading’s dedicated mental health society. The society aims to:
- Raise awareness of mental health
- Support those dealing with mental health problems
- Provide a safe space for students to speak in confidence and share their experiences with mental health.
“With the society now up and running, students can expect relaxing tea and coffee afternoons, special talks from staff in the psychology department, mindfulness events like this year’s mindful walk in Harris Gardens and much more!” – Katie Ralph, Vice President
Email – email@example.com Facebook Page – Open Mind Reading
The Academic Tutorial System is there to ensure that all students are supported throughout the entirety of their degree programme. Each student is partnered with a member of staff who works within their degree’s designated school or department. If you are a joint honours student like myself you will have a Personal Tutor from your main school or department. For instance, I study BA English Literature and Film & Theatre, so my Academic Tutor is from the School of Literature and Languages, specifically the Department of English Literature.
All in all, Personal Tutors are there to support students with their academic, personal and/or professional development. Tutees tend to meet up with their tutors at least once a term but are welcome to request more meetings if they wish.
Reading University Students’ Union (RUSU)
Student support services extend into the university’s Student Union. From housing advice to drug and alcohol support, RUSU provides an advice service that is free, confidential and specifically tailored to each student’s needs. Students can drop in or arrange an appointment at RUSU’s main reception.
RUSU is located on the Whiteknights Campus. See the RUSU website for their specific opening times.
Telephone – +44 (0) 118 378 4100 Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
All first-year University of Reading students are partnered with a STaR (Student Transitions at Reading) Mentor. The scheme enables trained second and third-year students to help first-year students settle into university. Mentors email their mentees before the term starts so keep an eye out on your emails!
“Being a STaR Mentor was a very rewarding experience. I was able to help my mentees if they had any questions about university life and to support them through their first term. Mentors are often paired up with students who are on the same or similar course as themselves, so I was also able to give my students a few tips. The scheme is great for students who don’t wish, or are too nervous, to approach members of staff.” – anon
If you haven’t heard from your mentor or have any queries regarding the scheme, contact the STaR Mentor Coordinator Chantelle Turner – email@example.com.
Each society has a designated welfare officer and they are there to support all members with any university-related or, to some extent, personal problems.