Student Services News

News from the Student Services Centre (Carrington Building)

Month: October 2013

Staying at Reading for postgraduate study

Keep thinking. Keep learning. Keep Reading.

Master's at Reading postcardIf you are a current undergraduate at the University of Reading, there are a whole host of reasons why you might want to consider staying at Reading for postgraduate study. You could use postgraduate study to get a deeper understanding of your subject, or use it to focus on a new field. A postgraduate degree might help you in your career and could open up new doors for you.

There are also financial reasons why you might consider doing a postgraduate degree at Reading:

  • You can get up to £1,000 off fees through the alumni fee discount
  • If you are a UK/EU student, you’re eligible for a Reading Alumni Scholarship worth over £10,000
  • If you are an international student, you can apply for one of the Country Scholarships that are worth up to £10,000

Is a postgraduate degree for me? Am I qualified?

You might be wondering if postgraduate study is for you. If you have a thirst for knowledge, need a specific qualification for your chosen career, or just want to stand out from the crowd, then it probably is!

You don’t need a first class degree to do postgraduate study. We normally expect our postgraduate students to have an undergraduate degree in the 1st or 2nd class range (or international equivalent). It’s true that we prefer a degree qualification of 2.i or higher, but each course is different, as is each student.

The course will be a step up from undergraduate study and we are looking for hungry students who have a passion for their chosen subject and the desire to succeed. Whilst postgraduate courses have a greater emphasis on independent learning many of them have structured teaching in much the same way as undergraduate courses.

For more detailed information and to get any other questions answered, please check the postgraduate study webpages or come to the Reading Postgraduate Study Room at the Careers and Placement Fair on 30 October.

Welcome Week survey

It may seem like a lifetime ago, but we’re keen to hear about your experiences of Reading during Welcome Week. We’d like you to tell us about your experiences in the run-up to arriving at Reading, moving in weekend, and Welcome Week itself!

Your feedback will help us to make improvements for next year.

Completing the survey will also give you the chance to volunteer for a Welcome Week Focus Group and be entered in a Prize Draw! Prizes include:

  • £200 Oracle Gift Card
  • £100 Amazon Vouchers
  • £50 Book Tokens

A link to the survey was emailed to eligible students last week. If you’ve lost the link, or need a reminder, then please send an email to

Closes 23:59 on 4 November 2013.

A peek inside the Carrington Building

The Carrington Building is open from 08:00-17:30 Monday to Friday, although the services in the building have different opening hours. During these opening hours you are welcome to make use of the PCs on the groundfloor, the group study areas, and browse the leaflets and self-access materials throughout the building.


Students at the Helpdesk09:00-17:00, Monday to Thursday, 09:00-16:30 on Friday.
The Helpdesk is your first port-of-call for any query. You can come to the Carrington Building to ask your question, or you can log a call via the Online Helpdesk –

  1. Log in to the RISISweb Portal and click on the Helpdesk tab and select the link to Log a new call now under ‘My Helpdesk Calls’.
  2. Select a category
  3. If our FAQs do not answer your question click on the Proceed to log your query
  4. Type your question into the description field – please provide as much information as possible
  5. To submit your question clik Preview then Log now
  6. The helpdesk Team will respond to your question an alert you by email

Advisory Team
By appointment (ask at the Helpdesk)
Professional and confidential support and advice to all taught students on:

  • Course Withdrawal
  • Course SuspensionReturning to Study
  • Switching to part-time study
  • Repeating a year of studies
  • Course transfers involving a repeat period of study
  • Module queries

Student Financial Support
By appointment (ask at the Helpdesk), or drop-ins 10:30-13:30

  • Fees Enquiries and Adjustments
  • Bursaries and Scholarships
  • Hardship Funds
  • Short-term Loans
  • US Student Loans Administration

Immigration Advice
By appointment, ask at the Immigration Helpdesk (to the left of the main Helpdesk), or drop-ins Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 10:00-13:00 and Wednesday 14:00-17:00.
Professional and confidential support and advice to all students on:

  • Student visitor visas
  • Academic visitor visa requirements and applications
  • Tier 4 visa requirements and applications
  • Dependant visa requirements and applications
  • Visa corrections and/or amendments
  • Tier 4 Reconsideration and Variation applications
  • Replacement and transfer visas and BRPs
  • Appeal guidance
  • Working during your studies
  • Ensuring visas conditions are maintained
  • Working after your studies
  • Guidance on eligibility for working after your studies

International Student Advice
By appointmnent (ask at the Helpdesk).
Professional and confidential support and advice to all international and EU students on:

  • Living in the UK
  • Welfare
  • Studying in the UK
  • Getting involved

ERASMUS and Study Abroad
Ask at the ERASMUS and Study Abroad Helpdesk (to the left of the main Helpdesk)
The ERASMUS & Study Abroad Office has responsibility for:

  • Management of all inward and outward study abroad mobility at the University of Reading (non-degree seeking)
  • Promotion and coordination of all ERASMUS and other student and staff mobility activities at the University
  • Management of all ERASMUS contracts
  • Organisation of the application and distribution of ERASMUS funds for student and staff at Reading.

Accommodation Information Desk (turn left as you enter the building)
For all your queries about life in University accommodation.

Disability Advisory Service
Professional and confidential support and advice for current and prospective students with disabilities, including:

  • Assistance with Disabled Students Allowance
  • Arranging specialised support
  • Liaising with your Department or School regarding appropriate arrangements
  • Special arrangements for examinations

1st Floor

first floor seating area outside the Careers, Placement and Experience CentreCareers, Placement and Experience Centre
09:00-17:00 (10:00-17:00 on Wednesdays)
At the Careers Centre you will receive expert careers and placement advice from professional staff. We can support you whatever your year or subject, whether you are a postgraduate or undergraduate and whether you have a clear idea of your career plans or not. You can:

  • Gain help in finding valuable work experience through internships and placements in and outside of your degree programme.
  • Engage with a wide variety of employers and discover future opportunities through our on-campus careers fairs and events.
  • Access our Quick Query appointments with a Careers Adviser which are 10-15 minutes, Monday to Friday where you can discuss any careers or placement related matter. Just come in and book on the day.
  • Book a longer Careers or Placement Discussion for more in depth advice on career options, career choice dilemmas, concerns with job hunting or the application and selection process.
  • Gain support from Careers Advisers for interviews you have scheduled by booking an appointment to help you prepare and try out some mock interview questions. Just provide a job description, CV and/application form in advance.
  • Attend a range of workshops and events through our Headstart and Faculty Careers Events programmes.
  • Access thousands of job and placement opportunities through My Jobs Online.
  • For part time roles whilst at University you can also visit our Job Shop based in the RUSU to see opportunities and gain advice.

So be proactive and use us to get ahead whatever stage you are at.

Reading Experience and Development Award
Access the RED Award via the Careers, Placement and Experience Centre as above
The RED Award is an optional scheme which has been designed to help you stand out from the crowd in today’s increasingly competitive jobs market. By participating in volunteering, work experience and training sessions as part of the RED Award you will develop precisely the examples of self-development employers are looking for.

You can call into the Careers Centre to ask any questions you might have or email

The University Counselling and Wellbeing Service offers short-term counselling and training for all currently-registered students. Our aim is to support you in making a success of your university life, whatever challenges are ahead.

Peer Support
“Support for students by students”. The Peers Supporters are a network o students, trained in listening and helping skills,who offer friendly, informal, but confidential support to any student of the university. Whilst they nominally have an office on the first floor of the Carrington Building you might find them in the foyer, outside the Carrington Building, in your Department, or even in your hall.

2nd Floor

Joint Faculties Office
By appointment only
The Joint Faculties Office provides support to the University’s Schools and Departments. They also work very closely with The Advisory Team, to provide support for students in the following areas:

  • Changing degrees
  • Optional Modules
  • Extenuating Circumstances
  • Suspensions & Withdrawals

Central Room Bookings and Timetabling
By appointment only (for timetable queries), or (to book a room)
Contact us for queries about your timetable, or to book University rooms for private study, or group work.

Examinations Office
tables for exams09:00-16:30
We will issue your examinations timetable and you should come to us if there are any issues with the exams timetable.


New academic year structure for 2014/15

A new academic year structure will come into force in 2014/15, following approval from the University Council.

The undergraduate term structure will consist of two eleven week terms, followed by an eight week summer term.

The new term dates are as follows:

Autumn Term
Monday 29 September to Friday 12 December 2014

Spring Term
Monday 12 January to Friday 27 March 2015

Summer Term
Monday 20 April to Friday 12 June 2015 

See a table of the full academic year structure >>>

An implementation group, chaired by Head of University Administration Dr Richard Messer, will oversee the changes to ensure a smooth transition. The group were in contact with Schools and Services via Faculty Management Boards and Heads of Service during September to give support and advice.

Professor Gavin Brooks, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning, said:

These changes are an important part of our continuing efforts to improve the student experience and bring us more in line with our competitors.

A consultation with students and staff earlier this year received over 200 responses. As a result, the Working Group presented a revised model to the University Board for Teaching and Learning and the Senior Management Board, taking into consideration much of the feedback. Comments were broadly supportive of starting and finishing the academic year earlier, which is the main driver for the change.

Struggling to settle in?

We hope that you have settled in well at the University and that you are enjoying your studies. In our experience some people benefit from a little extra support as they start their studies at Reading. There are a range of support services available to you (most of which are based in the Carrington Building):

Thinking of leaving the University?

Sometimes students find that after having been at university for a few weeks they wish to postpone their studies or discover they would prefer to explore other career options.

If you feel that you want to make a change, please let us know as soon as possible to discuss the best way forward. It is important that you have this conversation sooner rather than later, because if you decide to withdraw or suspend your studies you may still be liable for part (or all) of your fee. There are a series of key dates by which you must make such a decision, the first being the 31 October (if you leave after the 31 October you will be liable for at least 50% of the fee – full details are available in the Fee Payment Policy). You can find more information on the processes involved on the Withdrawing/Transferring page of the Student website.

We do not wish for you to rush into a decision without careful consideration, and our staff are here to help you through the process. You can contact any of the services mentioned above to support you and offer guidance.

National Fire Service industrial action

Fire EngineOn Friday 1 November (between the hours of 18:30-23:00) and Monday 4 November (06:00 – 08:00) there will be national fire service periods of industrial action.  During this period Royal Berkshire Fire Service (and Buckinghamshire Fire Service for Greenlands) have in place contingency arrangements and they will be providing emergency cover during the industrial action.  However, as their resources will be significantly reduced during this period, the fire services will respond to ‘life or limb’ incidents only.  This means life critical incidents, such as house fires or road traffic collisions where people are trapped.  The fire services will not respond to Automatic Fire Alarm Actuations unless a real fire is confirmed and they will not attend when persons are shut in lifts unless the incident is ‘life threatening’.

In the event of a fire emergency at the University the normal procedures for reporting a fire and evacuating the building should be followed. These are detailed on local fire action posters displayed throughout our buildings:

  • On discovering a fire
  • Operate the nearest fire alarm call point
  • On hearing the alarm, evacuate the building
  • Call the Fire Service by dialling (0)999
  • Call Security on x6300 or 0118 378 6300 from a mobile

Remember, if you know there is a real fire, you must phone 999 to inform the Fire Service

During periods of industrial action, calls will be dealt with on a priority basis so when you speak to the emergency services .operator please provide as much information as possible about the incident. This will ensure that the Fire Service can make an informed decision about their level of response. ‘Life and Limb’ incidents will take precedence but even for this type of incident the Fire Service response will be reduced.

Automatic Fire Alarms

If the fire alarm sounds in your building, but you do not know if it is a real fire, you must evacuate, and the Evacuation Officer must phone University Security as soon as possible to alert them.

Security Services will also be alerted automatically by the fire alarm system. They have been trained to safely investigate the cause of any fire alarm, and will inform the Fire Service if there is a fire. Please note, only Security staff are trained to investigate fire alarms, all other staff must evacuate immediately by the nearest escape route.

The Fire Service are very unlikely to send a fire engine unless an actual fire is confirmed, so it is essential that Security Services are called on Ext 6300 or 0118 378 6300 as soon as possible if the fire alarm sounds in your building and it is not obvious that it is a real fire.

Precautionary Measures

Because of the day and timing of this particular strike the majority of our staff and students will not be at work.  However staff and students who are at work during the time of the strike must be warned to take care and to prevent fires and false fire alarm signals.  So please:

  • Don’t use toasters
  • Don’t use portable heaters unless absolutely essential
  • Turn off electrical appliances and close all doors and windows when a room is unoccupied
  • Ensure that all doors and particularly those marked as ‘FIRE DOORS’ are kept closed at all times as this will restrict the spread of fire should one occur. However automatic fire doors that are on magnetic hold-open devices linked to the fire detection system can be left open on their magnetic catches
  • Only use passenger lifts when absolutely necessary -You must never attempt to exit a lift in the event of a breakdown except when assisted by a trained person, even if you are close to a floor.

Remind your family of the need to take care at home.  Excellent and comprehensive information on home fire safety can be sourced by following the link to the Royal Berkshire Fire Service

Careers and Placement Fair 2013


Careers Fair bannerThe must attend careers event for all years and disciplines.

  • Wednesday 30 October 2013
  • Open between 11:00 – 15:00 in the Palmer Building
  • 80 plus exhibitors across all sectors

With over 80 organisations representing all sectors from accountancy to volunteering, this is the largest recruitment event of the year at the University of Reading, providing you with the opportunity to meet with organisations offering graduate schemes, placements, postgraduate courses and volunteering opportunities.

Click here for more details, including the full list of exhibitors.

Along with meeting organisations and professional bodies you can review your CV with a Careers Adviser – no need to book just bring a printed copy with you.

Why should I attend?

  • Only chance to meet 80 plus recruiters targeting Reading students
  • Free CV checking service
  • Gain personal insights into a huge variety of careers areas
  • Not sure which path to take, be inspired!
  • Employer deadlines are fast approaching, be prepared!
  • New for 2013- The Reading Postgraduate Study Room

Wednesday 30 October 2013 11:00 – 15:00 in the Palmer Building

Careers Fair banner - times and venue

Part-time jobs fair – 16 October 2013

Part-time Jobs Fair flyerIf you’re wondering how to make ends meet over the coming term, or want to add extra skills and experience to your CV then the Part-time Jobs Fair is the place to be!

Come along on Wednesday 16 October between 11:00-15:00, in 3sixty, Students’ Union.

Employers from the local area will be attending and will have jobs on offer that you can fit in around your studies.

We’ll also have staff on hand to check your CVs so you can get that perfect job.

For more information and a full list of the employers attending visit the Careers website.

Security and Safety Awareness Week 2013

Security vehicleThe Security Services team will be running their annual Security and Safety Awareness week from 7–11 October in the Palmer building.

Come along and find out how to protect yourself and your property, and take the awareness test to see how observant you are!

There will be information on:

We will also have the following organisations attending in the week:

  • Police
  • NHS 111 Service
  • DAAT (Drugs and Alcohol team)
  • Housing (Tuesday only)
  • Trading standards (Tuesday only)
  • Dr Bike (Tuesday & Wednesday only)
  • ABC Medical (Wednesday only)

Security will be on hand to give security advice, free bike register, awareness test and run a competition to find the “Usual Suspects”  (there will be a bike “D” Lock  for the winner).

The local police will be on hand to advise for all personal security issues, and answer any questions staff/ students may have. The police will also be signing staff/students up to the Thames valley alerts scheme.

The drugs team will be offering tips and advice plus giving the staff /students the chance to see how Alcohol effects their perception etc. There’s also the chance to wear special Beer goggles and steer a remote control car around a circuit to show the difference between being sober and tipsy/Drunk.

Bring along your bike on Tuesday and Wednesday and have “Dr Bike” give it a full maintenance check ready for the winter. 

NHS 111 service will be advising everyone about the new controls coming into play regarding calling 999 and the difference between an emergency and non-emergency calls.

 ABC Medical will be on hand to offer basic first aid advice and demo CPR techniques on Wednesday.

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