College Campus Services Explained

By Lauren Patetta

Colleges and universities don’t expect you to get through school without support, which is why they offer a variety of campus services, offices, and resources to use whenever you need them. Chances are, you will need to use at least one—if not most—of these services at some point.

Academic Advising

The academic advising office supports students as they manage classes, majors, minors, and all academic-related topics. You may be assigned a particular academic advisor, or you may have a general office to go to. Either way, they can help you: 

  • Plan and register for your classes
  • Assure you’re taking the appropriate courses and number of credits 
  • Track your progress through your major 
  • Add an additional major or minor 
  • Manage graduation requirements 
  • Advise you on jobs, internships, and scholarships 
  • Plan for further education

Academic Support

Academic support is sometimes handled by the Dean of Students’ office. Whether you’re struggling with your class workload, dealing with a family or personal crisis, or in need of accommodations to support a disability, the academic support center can help by: 

  • Notifying your professors if you’re sick 
  • Managing heavy workloads 
  • Helping you take a leave of absence 
  • Providing extra support with classes following an injury or emergency 
  • Offering tutoring and supplemental instruction 
  • Affording commuter student resources and support
  • Being a potential connection to emergency loans or grants if you have a financial crisis

Some of the services provided by academic support may overlap with academic advising. For a clear picture of which center offers which, check your school website.

Athletic and Recreation Department

Your school’s athletic and recreation department isn’t just for competitive student-athletes. It also provides opportunities such as: 

  • Academic support for student athletes, who may miss classes for a game or competition
  • Club and intramural sports 
  • Gym memberships or access to your campus gym facilities 
  • Workout classes

Career Services

One of the most pressing worries for college students is often uncertainty about what they will do after graduation. Similar to your academic advisor, a career advisor can help you plan for the future. Many offer services such as:

  • Help with searching and applying for a job, internship, fellowship, or volunteer opportunity 
  • Matching you with potential employers and career paths based on your interests 
  • Access to online job search platforms such as Handshake 
  • Assistance creating a résumé
  • Practicing for a job interview 
  • Help with building out your professional network  
  • Job and internship fairs, which bring employers directly to your campus 
  • Formal clothing to loan for job or internship interviews

Counseling Center

School counseling centers are vital for supporting student wellness. Some students use them for continued treatment of pre-existing mental health conditions; for others, they are a source of support for any challenges that develop during their time at school, including academic stress, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.  

Most counseling centers are able to offer services such as: 

  • Individual counseling 
  • Group therapy 
  • Medication management 
  • Psychiatrist appointments 
  • Walk-in hours for immediate support 

Some counseling centers can support students who require long-term or highly specialized care, but often, counseling centers help by connecting them to off-campus providers and offering assistance in navigating insurance plans. Since so many college students struggle with their mental health, many counseling centers are overwhelmed with patients. It may be discouraging to reach out for help only to be stopped by a long waiting period or a limited amount of counseling sessions, but it’s still important to take the first step. 

If you’re struggling to get an appointment, you may find additional support at: 

  • Local mental health practices, which your counseling center can help match you with depending on your needs 
  • Your campus diversity, equity, and inclusion center 
  • Online therapy services 
  • A campus mental health club or organization 
  • Your campus Spiritual Center 

Read more about using campus counseling, getting care off campus, finding affordable mental health care, and what to do while you’re waiting for care

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Center

Some colleges have a center for diversity, equity, and inclusion to better support all students. The diversity office may offer more tailored support and resources for: 

  • Black and brown students 
  • LGBTQIA+ students 
  • First-generation college students 
  • Students with disabilities 
  • Students with religious affiliations 

Some resources may include: 

  • Support groups 
  • Educational workshops and trainings 
  • Community-building events 
  • Advocacy groups that work with other campus offices 
  • Guides to off-campus resources

Financial Aid Office

Financial aid can be one of the most complicated issues for students to manage, which is why this office helps with: 

  • Applying for financial aid as an incoming student 
  • Calculating the cost of attendance  
  • Eligibility for need-based financial aid 
  • Resolving issues with your bill 
  • Providing merit scholarships and grants 
  • Navigating student loans 
  • Connecting students with student work programs that can help pay for college 

Learn more about getting financial aid

Food and Dining Services

If you’re living on campus, you’ll probably want to have a meal plan. You’ll likely enroll in the plan online, but if any issues arise, your campus dining services can help address any issues regarding:

  • Meal plans 
  • Allergies or food intolerances 
  • Dietitian services 
  • Off-campus food merchants

Learn more about eating well on campus

Health and Wellness Center

Your school’s health center functions essentially as a community clinic, and it may provide: 

  • Prescriptions
  • Vaccination clinics 
  • STD testing 
  • Routine lab testing 
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Assistance in recovering from accidents or surgery 
  • Help in managing short- and long-term disability 

If you’re insured through your parents, you should be able to use your regular insurance plan at your school’s health center or for care received from off-campus providers in the local area.  Many colleges offer a school-sponsored health insurance plan as another option for students. 

Learn more about health insurance and getting health care off campus if you need it

International Student Office

International students will likely require additional support navigating the study-abroad process. The international student office should be able to help with: 

  • Receiving immigration documentation 
  • Adjusting to life in a new country 
  • Navigating the job application process if you work while at school
  • Understanding immigration law and requirements 
  • Finding options for after graduation 
  • Getting visa interview tips 
  • Connecting with other international students

Get support as an international student

Office of Disability or Accessibility

The disability office will work with other offices and centers on campus to ensure that students with disabilities have equitable access to everything the school has to offer. You can go to the office for help with receiving accommodations to address:  

  • Learning disabilities 
  • Physical disabilities 
  • Mental health conditions
  • Chronic illnesses 
  • A temporary condition, such as an injury 

Accommodations take different forms for different people and will vary based on a student’s individual needs, but can include: 

  • Help with transportation or getting around campus 
  • Making dorms, classrooms, and restrooms wheelchair accessible 
  • Taking a short or extended absence 
  • Receiving extra time for an exam or being allowed to take an exam on a laptop instead of handwriting 
  • Using speech-to-text software for assignments 
  • Remote learning 
  • Individualized programs for students with learning disabilities 
  • Sign language interpreters 

If you need a specific accommodation, talk with a representative at your office for disability to find the best solution for you. 

Learn more about getting accommodations in college

Residence Life

The residence life office handles everything related to on-campus housing and living. It can help with: 

  • Housing accommodations, including single-occupancy housing and wheelchair-accessible dorm rooms 
  • Room transfers 
  • Roommate swaps 
  • Help with finding off-campus housing 
  • Summer and holiday housing 
  • Maintenance and repairs 
  • Community building and engagement
  • Affinity housing for Black, trans, and other students 

Find tips on getting along with your roommate

Office of Student Activities

Colleges often offer a variety of clubs and student organizations, such as affinity groups, fraternities,  sororities, student government, language clubs, and mental health clubs such as Active Minds. You can learn about what is offered and how to join at the Office of Student Activities. If you’d like to start a group you feel your school is missing, this is the place to go.

Title IX Office

Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational settings such as college. Under Title IX, colleges are required to protect students from and address all forms of sexual misconduct, including harassment, violence, and assault. You can go to the Title IX Office if you need help with: 

  • Reporting incidents of sexual harassment or assault 
  • Consulting a Title IX coordinator 
  • Receiving accommodations following an incident 
  • Connecting survivors to resources 

Read more about reporting sexual assault or harassment

Search Resource Center

Type your search term below
Get Help Now

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone right now, text, call, or chat 988 for a free confidential conversation with a trained counselor 24/7. 

You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.

If this is a medical emergency or if there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.