What types of services are available at my college or university?

Most post-secondary instititutions offer a variety of services to help you with any academic, financial or personal challenges you experience. 

Writing/Tutoring Centres

Writing Centres typically offer some support with grammar, structuring essays, and citing references. In addition to English, Tutoring Centres may also help you with other subjects such as math and discipline-specific course material. Some also have English as a Second Language (ESL) conversation clubs to help you improve your English.


Personal issues, a lack of career direction, and poor study strategies can all impact your ability to succeed. Counsellors can help you develop study skills and assist in working through your personal problems so you can better focus on school.

Disability Services

If you are diagnosed with a disability or suspect you may have one, this can affect your academic work. The disability services at your school can provide accommodations to reduce the possible barriers you may experience due to your disability.

Health Services

Some schools have doctors, nurses, and/or psychiatrists available to see students. This is particularly helpful if you don’t have a family doctor or if you are an international student. If you are an international student, you will not be covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), but your school may provide a health insurance plan that is covered through your student fees.

Career Centres

Most schools provide job search coaching and can review your résumé and cover letter. Some also have an on-campus recruitment program where employers conduct interviews on campus. Many Career Centres offer opportunities to meet employers, including job fairs, employer information sessions, and networking events. Some schools have a job board for on-campus and off-campus work.

Financial Aid

The Financial Aid office offers assistance with paying for your education. Financial aid includes student loans, bursaries and scholarships. Some schools also offer emergency bursaries or loans.  

Academic Advising

This service helps you determine what courses to take in order to complete your program successfully. Schools vary as to how they provide academic advising. They may have a centralized academic advising office or you may have to speak to someone in your discipline’s department.

Academic Appeals/Human Rights Office

If you think you have been treated unfairly, for example if you believe your grade does not reflect your work or your teacher has discriminated against you, most schools have policies in place that allow you to try to remediate the situation. You may file an academic appeal, which means requesting to have your work or a grade reviewed. If you feel your rights were violated, some schools have a Human Rights Office where you can bring your complaint in order to have it investigated further.

International Students Services

These services help international students adjust to living and learning in Canada. This may include information and support around visa and work permits, health insurance, housing, orientation, workshops, social events, and more.  

How Do I Find These Services?

  • Attend orientation. If you haven’t already started your program, go to the orientation. Orientations inform you about services available to students.
  • Check your school’s website.
  • Ask other students, teaching assistants or other faculty members.

This article is by Geneviève Beaupré and Susan Qadeer.

Contributed by Geneviève Beaupré and Susan Qadeer. They have over 10 years experience working in university and college settings, providing career, academic, and personal counselling to students.

For More Information

  • 88 Tips For Succeeding in College - Advice on how to make the most of your college or university experience. From the Open Education Database.
  • Can Learn - Explore your funding options for post-secondary education in Canada. From the Government of Canada.
  • NewYouth.ca - An information and referral website for newcomer (immigrant and refugee) youth across Ontario. Get information about school, law, work, health and more. 
Last updated: November 9, 2015 4001651