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Student life is full of challenges, sometimes triggering a major case of enough already. You’re probably aware that your school offers a bunch of services and resources designed to help you be healthy, resilient, and successful. Do they work? In surveys by Student Health 101, you say yes: These services can make the difference between passing or failing, an A or a B, staying in or dropping out. Students often say they regret waiting until they were in a crisis, and wish they’d accessed these resources earlier. Some report that for the longest time they didn’t know certain types of support existed.

Free stuff for students

Campus resources are usually available free or at a low cost. Of course, résumé help, counseling, and so on are not literally free; their cost is covered by your tuition. If you don’t use them, you’re not getting what you’re paying for. In a recent survey by Student Health 101, three out of four students said this is even more reason to access these services. If you wait until after you’ve graduated to learn yoga or get professional help with your social anxiety, it will likely be more costly.

How to know what you have

The availability of resources at any given school depends on various factors. To learn what’s typically available and how can it make your life easier, click on each section (next page).

Here’s how to make sure you’re not missing out:

  • Scour your school’s website
  • Talk with staff, faculty, mentors, and other students
  • Check out any building, event, publication, or materials that suggests resources for students
  • Look for student jobs and other opportunities to work with your school’s resources
  • Review your orientation resources (e.g., Class of 2020 Facebook page)

Academic tutoring, office hours, and study support

“Student tutoring and support services have been most helpful to me. I was able to get tutoring for all of my classes, check out books for the semester, get extra advising, and always heard something positive.”
—First-year graduate student, Old Dominion University, Virginia

“They helped me bring my essay writing up to over 80 percent grade-level, elevating my writing ability from high school to university quality in one session.”
—Fifth-year online student, Trent University, Ontario

Typical services

  • Supports students through ongoing or short-term struggles, and helps students become more competitive
    (e.g., aspiring grad students looking to improve their grades)
  • Office hours provide individualized time with instructors or peer tutors
  • Study centers can help with time management, overcoming procrastination, note taking, effective reading, exam prep, etc.
  • Many study centers provide group workshops in key skills and specialized tutoring for different subjects
    (or referrals to community-based tutors)
  • Writing centers help students build higher-level writing skills (e.g., via brainstorming and editing services)
  • Drop-in hours can help you find quick answers to specific questions
  • Cost if paying privately: $15–$25/hour (student tutors), $50–$75/hour (professional tutors) (various sources)

How it made the difference

“Tutoring services helped me to understand material better, and also land a job on campus related to my field.”
—Second-year graduate student, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

“It allowed me to pass a course that I was significantly struggling with.”
—First-year graduate student, Fleming College, Ontario

Academic advising

“My academic advisor helps identify a balanced combination of courses so that my course load is not overwhelming.”
—Fourth-year online undergraduate, Florida International University

“It made a world of difference between me going to grad school or not going...between succeeding and failing at the process.”
—First-year graduate student, California State University, Stanislaus

Typical services

  • Guidance around what classes to take when, in order to meet graduation requirements efficiently, helps students get through their program more quickly and save money by taking classes in the most appropriate sequence
  • Guidance around accessing opportunities relating to degree goals (e.g., internships and conferences)
  • Support with decisions around personal goals relating to career, interests, and/or advanced degrees
  • May provide support with time management and study skills
  • Cost if paying privately: $50–$100/hour (services for students with disabilities) (various sources)

How it made the difference

“My advisor helped me get out of my comfort zone and pursue two very challenging degrees in four years. I did it with their support.”
—First-year graduate student, Oregon Institute of Technology

“Academic advising: As an on-campus graduate student completing an at-home online second degree, I find that this service is extremely helpful on campus as it is off campus.”
—Third-year graduate student, Queen’s University, Ontario

Commuter student services

“Having an area to study between classes really helped me use my time on campus efficiently.”
—Third-year graduate student, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, New York

“This resource has helped me feel connected to my college community.”
—First-year community college student, school withheld

Typical services

  • Services for live-at-home commuters and off-campus commuters
  • Student lounges for studying, meeting up with friends, meeting new people, or relaxing between classes
  • Kitchenette to reheat meals from home (varies by school)
  • Access to information on transportation, campus lockers, off-campus living and more
  • Mailroom if you’d like mail delivered to campus (varies by school)

How it made the difference (or could have)

“Something specifically nontraditional and for veteran students would’ve been extremely helpful [to me].”
—Second-year online graduate student, Clemson University, South Carolina

“Since my university consists mostly of commuters, creating relationships made me feel connected in a variety of ways.”
—Fourth-year student, University of Alaska Anchorage

Library services

“It significantly improved my ability to navigate resources.”
—Second-year online graduate student, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland and Labrador

“The friendly support of our librarians in helping me find journal articles through the library’s online databases made a huge difference in my being able to complete my research well.”
—Second-year graduate student, Arkansas Tech University

Typical services

  • Books, articles, and journals, hard-copy or electronic, available to borrow
  • Research assistance (e.g., finding resources, navigating databases, requesting articles)
  • Extensive online resources, sometimes including instant chat guidance
  • IT stations including free software access
  • Private or group study spaces
  • Loans and sometimes rentals of textbooks, laptops, and other materials (varies)
  • Access to software, such as Microsoft Office
  • Specialized research resources for needs relating to disability services and other programs
  • Printing, photocopying, and scanning (may involve fees)
  • Cost if paying privately: no direct equivalent

How it made the difference

“The library made a huge difference. It was a place of quiet where I could put 100 percent of my focus into my work. The people within the library also helped to bring my papers to the next level.” 
—Second-year student, Concordia University of Edmonton, Alberta

“Librarians are an amazing resource when working on research.”
—First-year graduate student, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

“The library made a great difference in my study habits.”
—Fourth-year graduate student, Florida International University

Disability, injury, and illness accommodations and services

“It changed everything. I finally felt like I was on an even playing field with my peers.”
—Fourth-year undergraduate, Stanford University, California

“It really helped me get the support I needed.”
—Third-year graduate student, University of Maine

Typical services

  • Works to create equitable support services for students with physical, psychiatric, or developmental disabilities and illness
  • Academic and living accommodations to help students with challenges related to disability, injury, and illness
  • Core services include learning plan development, exam accommodations, assistive technologies, resources in alternate formats (e.g., Braille), finding funding support, general advising, and personalized support staff
  • Transportation assistance for students with limited mobility
  • Cost if paying privately: no direct equivalent

How it made the difference

“It has allowed me to have extra time on exams and help with courses.”
—Part-time online student, Algonquin College, Ontario

“I have ADHD and never wanted to be one of those students who gets extra time and help... So I’ve never gotten help that I probably need. I haven’t overcome it and it’s probably negatively affecting me.”
—Third-year undergraduate, University of Maryland, Baltimore County


“I took advantage of group therapy, which allowed me to be a part of other people’s struggles and hear their experiences, and have them hear mine as well. I was able to learn and get back to living my life.”
—Third-year graduate student, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, New York

“Counseling made a wonderful difference and gave me confidence throughout the school year.”
—Second-year graduate student, Nova Scotia Community College

Typical services

  • Free counseling/therapy services, confidential for those age 18+ (below that age, inquire about confidentiality law and policy)
  • Individual and group counseling, emergency psychological services, and wellness programming including workshops and groups
  • Support with issues including life transitions and adjusting to student life
  • Support with anxiety, stress, depression, other mental health conditions, identity, anger management, body image and disordered eating, family issues, motivation, substance abuse or dependency, abuse, suicidal thoughts, and more
  • Emergency phone line and/or on-call staff for after-business hours and weekends (at some schools)
  • Cost if paying privately: $50–$250/hour (uninsured); insurance typically covers a portion of mental health care.

How it made the difference

“I struggled in school, and I started having emotional issues. School became so overwhelming that I had to take a year off and attend my local community college. Counseling really helped me a lot.”
—Fifth-year student, Santa Rosa Junior College, California

“The counseling center helped me more than any paid therapist ever has. They helped me nearly overcome my phobia and deal with substance abuse and sexual assault.”
—Third-year student, University of Memphis, Tennessee

Career services

“The Career Advancement Center allowed me to practice my interviewing skills with mock interviews and showed me how to appropriately answer questions.”
—First-year graduate student, Midwestern University, Illinois

“It made a substantial difference by giving me feedback on interview skills and job resources. They were always very helpful and supportive.”
—Second-year graduate student, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Typical services

  • Internship, summer job, and co-op opportunities, application information, and guidance on making the most of these positions
  • Résumé and cover letter review and workshops
  • Assessment of career interests and options
  • Networking assistance, including connections with alumni
  • Assistance with pursuing further education (e.g., graduate school)
  • Recruitment, job postings, and career fair
  • Exploring career options and strategy
  • Mock interviews
  • Cost of career coaching if paying privately: $100–$500/two-hour session (Undercover Recruiter)

How it made the difference

“Using this service allowed me to apply to summer jobs, confident that my documents were professional and appealing to potential employers.”
—Fourth-year student, University of New Brunswick

“I think career counseling could have helped me become more decisive, or at least more educated about my options.”
—Second-year graduate student, University of Alaska Anchorage

Financial support

“The people at the financial aid office explained financial aid in words I could understand and what I needed to do to get it.”
—First-year graduate student, California State University, Stanislaus

“The financial aid advisors are a great help; they helped me [make] a survival budget through school.”
—Second-year student, Elgin Community College, Illinois

Typical services

  • Information on taxes, grants, scholarships, job openings, and more
  • Financial aid packages
  • Student loan information, counseling, and advocacy
  • Personal finance consultations for budgeting strategies
  • Drop-in sessions during office hours for information, advocacy, and financial counseling
  • Cost of financial planning if paying privately: $125–$350/hour (Bankrate.com)

How it made the difference

“Having financial aid is a huge reason why I chose my school. It prevented a huge amount of financial stress.”
—Second-year student, Elgin Community College, Illinois

“The financial office reduced my debt burden.”
—Third-year graduate student, Stanford University, California

Recreational and fitness resources

Typical services

  • Free or reduced-fee access to gym, weight room, track, pool, etc.
  • Free or reduced-fee access to a range of fitness classes and intramurals (varies by school)
  • Most schools allow one guest per student with a nominal fee
  • Personal training (may involve a fee)
  • Consultation with nutritionist or fitness director (varies by school; may involve a fee)
  • Cost if paying privately: gym membership averages $58/month (Cheatsheet); personal training $80–$125/hour (Angie’s List).

How it made the difference

“It made a huge difference! Taking time between classes to work out helped me recharge and let me be ready to learn.”
—Third-year student, University of Guelph, Ontario

“It’s great to have free access to fitness equipment. It made a huge difference in my fitness and stress level.”
—Fourth-year student, Ferris State University, Michigan

“Having a gym close by is game-changing!”
—Third-year student, Queen’s University, Ontario

Health services

Typical services

  • Consultations and treatment for injury, illness, and health maintenance via campus health center or in partnership with community health center
  • Preventive health services including vaccinations (flu shots, travel vaccines, and more)
  • Smoking cessation, alcohol moderation, recovery support, and other substance use services
  • Specialist health services, including STI and pregnancy testing and birth control
  • Care with chronic allergies, illness (e.g., diabetes), and other conditions, including administering injections
  • Health care providers may include physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, psychologists, physician assistants, and specialists such as psychiatrists
  • Appointments are often free; tests and medications may involve fees
  • Many schools offer student health insurance and/or accept other health insurance
  • Urgent care centers: Cost will vary based on need and insurance
  • Cost if paying privately: uninsured new patient primary care visit averages $160 (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)

How it made the difference

“Having a health center made it easy to get check ups, flu shots, etc.”
—Third-year graduate student, University of California, Los Angeles

“The health center provided me with that-day doctor appointments, which minimized the amount of time I spent out of class sick.”
Fifth-year student, University of Wyoming

Support for minority communities

Typical services

  • Special benefits/scholarships for veterans (via Veteran Affairs Office or equivalent)
  • International student services assist with cultural transitions and other issues
  • Native American student services may include advising, scholarships, housing, etc.
  • Chaplaincy and other religious and spiritual services offer community and worship, often in a multi-faith environment
  • Gender equity services and women’s centers provide community and support with issues relating to discrimination
  • Cost if paying privately: no direct equivalent

How it made the difference

“The indigenous student support services made it possible for me to complete my first undergrad and start my second one. I wish I’d accessed the Native Student Union earlier.”
—Second-year student, University of Victoria, British Columbia

“The gender equity center changed my perspective, provided support and education, and allowed me to connect with the campus community.”
—Fourth-year student, Boise State University, Idaho

Title IX services

Typical services

  • Promotes a nondiscriminatory educational, living, and working environment
  • Confidential resources and support relating to actions that violate nondiscrimination laws and policies, including sexual assault, coercion, and harassment, and exclusion of transgender students from facilities and opportunities
  • Coordinates, provides, and/or refers to services including victim advocacy, housing assistance, academic support, counseling, disability services, health and mental health services, and legal assistance
  • Investigates cases of alleged misconduct and applies appropriate remedies
  • Provides advocacy and training related to discrimination and violence
  • Cost if paying privately: no direct equivalent.

How it made the difference

“It helped me with my sexual assault case and made me feel like my situation mattered.”
—Fourth-year online student, University of North Dakota

“One girl was harassing and bullying me. The police took the situation very seriously and took me to meet with the dean. I received a no-contact order with that student and have yet to hear from her since.”
—Second-year undergraduate, Indiana University Southeast

Your wish list: What you'd like to see on campus

These responses came from students at numerous colleges and universities across the US and Canada. Some of these resources may be available at your school.

  • Free coffee
  • Public sleep/nap areas
  • Support with budgeting, filing taxes, and legal issues
  • Resources for young parents
  • Better support for transfer students
  • Clubs and scholarships for first-generation students
  • Prayer room
  • Sign language
  • Drivers Ed
  • Easier access to rental vehicles
  • Dance rooms or public art spaces
  • Summer rec. center access
  • Vegetarian/vegan dining stations
  • Gender-neutral bathrooms and housing
  • Resources for disabled students to gain life skills

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Article sources

Danielle Berringer, administrative support, Accommodated Learning Centre, University of Lethbridge, Alberta.

Burress, H. (2015, January 19). What factors affect the cost of a personal trainer? Angie’sList.com. Retrieved from https://www.angieslist.com/articles/what-factors-affect-cost-personal-trainer.htm

Colorado Mesa University. (2015). Mentoring. Retrieved from http://www.coloradomesa.edu/student-services/diversity-and-health/mentoring.html

Costa, C. D. (2016, January 1). Why a gym membership is usually a bad investment. Money & Career CheatSheet. Retrieved from http://www.cheatsheet.com/money-career/why-a-gym-membership-is-usually-a-bad-investment.html/?a=viewall

Georgia State University. (n.d.). Nutrition consultations. http://recreation.gsu.edu/fitness/fitness-center/nutrition-consultations/

Hobart and William Smith Colleges. (2011). Treatment providers in the community. Retrieved from http://www.hws.edu/studentlife/pdf/psychotherapists_community.pdf

Hobart and William Smith Colleges. (2016). Sexual misconduct resources and support. Retrieved from http://www.hws.edu/studentlife/titleIX_office.aspx

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2015, May 5). Primary care visits available to most uninsured but at high price. Retrieved from http://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2015/primary-care-visits-available-to-most-uninsured-but-at-a-high-price.html

Lifecoach.com. (2016). Frequently asked questions. Retrieved from http://www.lifecoach.com/coaching-faqs

NCSU Libraries. (n.d.). Technology lending. Retrieved from https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/techlending

MacDonald, J. (2015, December 31). Financial planners: Not just for millionaires anymore. Bankrate.com. Retrieved from http://www.bankrate.com/finance/savings/financial-planners-not-just-for-millionaires-anymore-1.aspx

Student Health 101 survey, July 2016.

Sundberg, J. (n.d.). Is a career coach worth the money? UndercoverRecruiter.com. Retrieved from http://theundercoverrecruiter.com/career-coach-worth-money/

University of Lethbridge. (2016). Resources. Retrieved from http://www.uleth.ca/counselling/content/u-l-resources

The University of Maine. (n.d.). Financial resources for students. Retrieved from http://umaine.edu/sss/finances/

University of Notre Dame. (2016). Want to mentor? Retrieved from http://careercenter.nd.edu/alumni-mentor/want-to-mentor/

University of Washington. (2014). Undergraduate advising. Retrieved from https://www.washington.edu/uaa/advising/finding-help/study-centers-and-tutoring/

Taylor Rugg is an undergraduate at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York. She’s double majoring in writing & rhetoric and war, warfare & the soldier experience. She has studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, and is hoping to pursue a doctorate degree in rhetoric or linguistics. Taylor is a member of the SH101 Student Advisory Board 2016–17.

Karl Johnston studied Human Resources and Labour Management at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta. He is the former Canadian Features Editor of Let’s Be Wild magazine and It’s Just Light magazine, and a columnist at The Northern Journal. Karl is a member of the SH101 Student Advisory Board 2016–17.