Support Services at the University of Surrey

Hi! Hopefully now my blogging will go back to being consistent for real 😛 I’ve been basically sick every other week and I’ve had a lot of work to do and things to catch up on as well (and the one week when I was going to blog I ended up being trapped by the snow, but that’s a story for another time). I was going to write a post titled the snowpocalypse and tell you about how the world seems to end in England when it snows but apparently we’re getting another wave of that this weekend so I’ll write it next week instead. I recently started doing e-mentoring with the purpose of telling students who will be attending university soon everything they need to know and one of the topics was support services which made me realise I’ve never talked about that on this blog, so here it goes!  I’ll try to cover as much as I can but I might forget a few things and there’s other things that I don’t have firsthand experience with so it might be worth checking out the student support page ( and emailing with questions. Because of how many things fall under this topic I’ll make one paragraph per thing to make it easier to read.

SPLASH: SPLASH is based at the library and they also have some resources on the library website. They run workshops during the year on lots of different areas of academic writing, dissertation writing, referencing, etc and you can go to them for help looking for resources or to look over your references and formatting to make sure it’s all ok. I’ve never used them but I’ve heard really good things about it.

ALS: ALS stands for additional learning support, if you are a disabled student they will help you figure out adjustments to make sure your university experience and performance is as good as possible. I’m happy to talk about my experiences with them in depth if you are a disabled student but other than that I recommend reaching out to them as early as possible, I was in touch with them for months before my first semester and that helped make sure the support was in place from day 1.

Personal Tutors: they might work differently depending on the department but how it works in the maths department is that you get assigned a personal tutor (you’ll be told who it is on the induction week as well as meet your tutor) and you have meetings with them at minimum once per semester to talk about your progress, anything you need help with etc. They can talk to you about anything be it something academic that you’re having trouble with or financial/personal issues, they’re basically there to support you in all the ways they can as well as act as your advocate with other university services if needed. You don’t have to go to your personal tutor if you don’t want to, you are free to talk to any member of staff about anything but I personally find it helpful to have the space to talk once a semester because there’s lots of things I wouldn’t have actively sought out help for. If you’re doing job applications and the like they also be provide recommendation letters (at least in the maths department, not sure if other departments do it differently)

Support from academic staff: as I said before you can talk to any member of staff about anything. Most lecturers hold weekly office hours so you can go and ask questions about your modules or anything else, and some departments also have people who can support you with writing your CV and job applications.

Student mentors: all students living on university accommodation get assigned a student life mentor, they will go to your accommodation once a week during the first semester (once every two weeks during the second, and they don’t go during exam times) and knock on your door to have a chat, you can tell them about any issues with your flatmates, anything you’re struggling with, etc. They’re there to listen and help and they’re way less intimidating to talk to than staff members.

Doctors: there’s a GP on campus (Guilddowns Group Practice), you can have both GP and nurse appointments there, you’ll be given the chance to register during the orientation week but you can do so at any point. There’s also lots of specialists at the Royal Surrey (and they have an A&E) and I believe the closest pharmacy is tesco but I might be wrong about that, it’s about 10-15 min walking or 5 ish if you take the bus.

Centre for wellbeing: there’s a referral form on their website that you can fill out if you need help and they also have a nurse on duty that you can talk to if you’re having a really bad day and need help, just call the front desk. They provide counselling and I believe they also have nurses you can talk to about eating issues, weightloss and the like. It’s all free for students

Chaplaincy: there is a chaplaincy and chaplains for a range of different religions, they also talk to non-religious students if that’s something you want. Honestly that’s the extent of my knowledge about it so you can look at the website or if you have any questions I’ll try to find out the answers or point you towards someone who knows.

Accommodation services: wardens are members of staff that live at the accommodation and will deal with any disciplinary issues (things like people stealing food). There’s rooms you can use to hang out or study at the court receptions and a front desk to ask questions and report any issues and you can also email them with issues reports or questions, they’re generally really quick to reply. If you lose your key and need a replacement the court reception is also the place to go.

Careers and employability: they run workshops and careers fairs throughout the semester, they can check your CV and help you perfect it, check cover letters, do mock interviews, basically anything you could ever need when doing part time job, summer or year long placement applications as well as looking for graduate jobs.

Campus security: they’re located at senate house, which you might have seen if you’ve been to campus before. They have two numbers, one emergency and one non-emergency. You can call the emergency one if you ever need to report a crime, call an ambulance, that sort of thing. They’re the best people to call rather than ringing 999 directly because it can be really hard to find your way around campus so it’s the quickest way to get help, they’ll liaise with the police, ambulances, etc. You can call the non emergency line if you get locked out of your accommodation and the court reception is closed, to report noise after hours or during exam times and well just about anything, they’re really nice and friendly, I once called them because there was a wasp nest in my room and I didn’t know what to do about it and they dealt with it within 15 minutes. I think there’s also a form online for anonymous reporting and they have an email address as well.

So that’s all for this week, stay tuned for a post next week!