How to help

All universities do things differently, how and when events takes place throughout the year differs between institutions. We have set up a timeline of events to keep you informed of the activities and events that take place at Plymouth throughout the year.

Although students are independent adults they still often depend on parents and supporters as an initial point of contact should they have any worries or need any advice. The first semester often causes some emotional highs and lows before they adjust to their new routines. Below are some tips for helping students feel supported.


Students are all encouraged to register at our University Medical Centre, located on our main campus. As the so-called ‘freshers’ flu’ makes its rounds, remind students if they become ill to take it easy, but keep their lecturers and personal tutor in the loop.

In addition, Student Services offers a number of services such as mental health drop ins, workshops and counselling.

"Look after your mental health: it is a precious thing. Try to fit the things that you know will really lift your mood into your daily routine."

Fi Smart BA (Hons) Illustration graduate

"The counselling service was an absolute essential lifeline when I went through a bad few months. Overall, the University really did go the extra mile with their services."

Aaron Brace BSc (Hons) Environmental Biology graduate

Students feeling lonely, homesick or unsettled

Reassure students that others will feel the same emotional ups and downs they are feeling. Encourage them to get involved in clubs, societies and events where they can meet new people and share their experiences. It's likely that they'll meet other students who are experiencing similar feelings.

Check out UPSU for more information on societies and events.

"Take advantage of opportunities that the University and the Student’s Union has to offer. There are so many events and clubs that you can join – I wish I had joined one in my first year instead of waiting!"

Adam Read BA (Hons) Media Arts graduate

"If I could do my undergraduate degree again I would get more involved with the activities and events put on by the University. I would get involved with different societies and take advantage of the support that’s available. Sometimes when we are under a lot of pressure or stressed we can feel alone, however, there is so much support that’s available. The University really prioritises mental health needs as well as fun activities!"

Alison Smith BA (Hons) Social Work graduate

Trouble with budgeting and finance

Often students find themselves spending more money than they expected during fresher's week and may be struggling with budgeting. If a student is having trouble with their finances while away from support encourage them to contact our Student Funding Unit for budgeting advice or emergency funding.

"If I could go back and do it all again there is only one thing I would change: my attitude towards money."

Sophie Bullock BA (Hons) Media Arts graduate 

"The student finance team were there to offer me financial advice when times got rocky." 

Aaron Brace BSc (Hons) Environmental Biology graduate

Work life balance

Encourage students to take some time out to socialise, relax or exercise. Remind students that a healthy lifestyle can have positive effects; getting enough sleep and eating well can really make a difference. 

Try not to worry too much if you don't hear from them as often, students are often busy with both study and new social experiences. Agree a point of contact for them to check in, this could be a fortnightly or weekly text, call or Skype session.

"Make sure you have a good work/life balance. I ensured that I kept an active timetable in between my studies, as exercise is very important for the mind’s concentration. Engaging in university exercise classes and the dance society helped with my social engagement and a healthy lifestyle. Exercise definitely helps to relieve stress."

Holly Blunden MArch Architecture graduate 

"It may seem difficult at first, but persevere: it’s worth it in the end. And don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the experience."

Sarah Harris BA (Hons) Business Administration graduate

Academic advice and dyslexia support

If a student is struggling with revision and assignments encourage them to reach out to the Learning Development Team. The team can help with writing, presenting, managing projects, communicating clearly, preparing for exams and much more. Additionally Student Services runs dyslexia friendly academic skills sessions.

Remind students to talk with their personal tutors and lecturers, our staff are happy to provide academic feedback and advice. Discussing any problems with academic members of staff can help them gain useful feedback and improve through their studies.

What students say

"Never be afraid to ask for help. I am dyslexic and have been supported every step of the way, but I had to say yes to that help."

Rebecca Richards BSc (Hons) Nursing (Mental Health) graduate

"I made use of, and would recommend, the learning development service while studying and found this really helpful in developing my essay writing techniques."

Gareth Benjamin BA (Hons) Social Work graduate

Support throughout

The University of Plymouth provides a range of support for students. If a student is struggling in any area of life or academia remind them that the University is here to help. Staff from all areas are happy to advise students, remember that students dealing with any issues early can stop them turning into more substantial problems in the future.

If you're unsure where to direct a student for support, contact Student Services for advice.

"I would highly recommend Plymouth University because the overall support system available goes beyond students’ immediate lecturers and develops into all staff members across the institute."

Anna Whittall MA Contemporary Art Practice graduate

"The support systems in place at Plymouth are amazing. Between lecturers, personal tutors, and all other staff on campus, the help I received during hardship and times when I needed assistance academically was beyond what I expected when moving away from home for the first time. This is without doubt something that I have not experienced in other institutions."

Shannen Trout LLB (Hons) Law graduate