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Here at St George’s we’re very proud of our diversity and have students and staff from different backgrounds, beliefs, cultures and sexualities. Students join us at all stages of their lives. We welcome many mature students, students with children or other caring responsibilities, and those who work as well as study. We pride ourselves on appreciating everyone for who they are and being open to different views and different ways of living.

There’s plenty of support available at St George’s. The following services and contacts will be glad to help you whether you’re struggling with your studies, sorting out practical matters or experiencing personal problems.

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The Student Centre - for all your student matters

Your first port of call for academic and personal matters, our staff at the Student Centre are always on hand to help. Whether you're needing to speak to a member of staff in private about an issue you're experiencing or ask an urgent question about your studies, we're here for you.

Drop in, on the ground floor of hunter wing, email or call 020 8266 6344.

Other essential contacts
  • You will be allocated a personal tutor who is your academic point of contact when you arrive. Your personal tutor is there to ensure your welfare, as well as your academic success and will be happy to meet you individually.

  • The Counselling Service: in Induction Week, Counselling staff will run sessions looking at how people react to change, and suggesting simple, practical ways of supporting yourself and your friends as you start your university studies. Contact details can be found on the Counselling web page 

  • The Students' Union .

Student networks and specialist contacts

We also have a number of student networks and specialist contacts who offer support and an understanding atmosphere, including:

  • the LGBT Network

  • SPACE (Student Parents and Carers Empowered) who can offer advice and support on juggling the responsibilities of family and study

  • support for Care Leavers (young people who have been in local authority care including public care, foster care, semi-independent living or residential care home): specialist support is offered by our Student Finance Advisor Helen Williams, who will invite you to an individual meeting and advise you on special services including 365-day contacts for Horton Halls

  • the ‘Mums and Dads' scheme, under which new students can choose to be paired with a returning student for advice on everything from social events to study hints (if you're interested in this, an introductory event will be held in the first few days).

We do not tolerate any form of bullying or harassment—if you encounter this you should report it to a member of staff or the Students' Union straight away.

Leaving home

When you start at university it marks the start of a new phase for the whole family. It’s a big adjustment for everyone, especially if you’re living on your own for the first time or if you are the first in your family to go to university.

One of the of the differences between school and university is that we do not hold a direct relationship with your parents or guardians, even if they are paying your tuition fees. We do not share information about you with anyone except yourself without your specific consent. This includes personal, academic or financial information, including whether you’re on a course with us. If you have any concerns, please discuss them with us at the Student Centre.

Homesickness

Starting at university is a big transition. Homesickness and social anxiety can affect some people. If you’re living independently for the first time, take some time before you arrive to read all the pre-arrival information and fill in any forms, learn to cook a few basic meals and plan your finances (confidential financial advice is available through the Student Centre). Being prepared will help you feel less nervous about leaving home.

Once you’ve arrived, fight off homesickness by getting your bearings in Tooting and joining some clubs or societies to make a wider circle of friends. Feel free to ask for help and directions whenever you need them. As well as the Student Centre, every student is allocated a personal tutor, who is available to discuss academic or personal concerns on a one-to-one basis.

Attendance and behaviour on your course

We expect your attendance for small group teaching and scheduled sessions. If you are absent because of illness, inform the appropriate course administrator as soon as possible (contact details are in your course handbook), or if you’re on placement inform your contact there. 

We also expect courteous behaviour. Much of our teaching space is also part clinical and there may be vulnerable patients sharing corridor space with students.

Please don’t use your mobile phone during any lectures or group teaching – it distracts both you and your fellow students. In addition, don’t make any videos or audio recordings without the permission of the lecturer – we arrange recordings of many of our lectures, and these will be available for you online.

For mum and dad

 We know that often it isn’t just students that visit this page.  If you’re a parent of a student, welcome.  We’ve put this section together with help from our academic team, who have experience both welcoming new students to St. George’s as well as sending their own sons and daughters off to start at university.  We hope this section is able to answer some common questions we get from parents each year.

When your son or daughter starts at University it marks the start of a new phase for the whole family. While the next few years will probably be amongst the best of their lives, this can also mean a big adjustment for everyone especially if they’re the first in the family to enter university. For many, it’s the start of independent living, away from well-known places and people and everything that’s familiar.

There will be major differences between your relationship with the University and one that you might have had with schools. St. George’s relationship is with students, not with parents—even those paying the tuition fees. This is sometimes difficult for parents who naturally wish to be involved with important aspects of the student’s life but University policy and UK law recognise students as adults and restrict our relationship with third parties. The University is registered with the data protection authorities in the UK as a holder of confidential data and this prohibits the University from disclosing or even confirming data to anyone.

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How can I prepare for my son or daughter leaving home?

Encourage them to take responsibility for themselves and for starting their new way of life with confidence and enthusiasm. On a practical level, it is really helpful if they can cook a few basic meals for themselves and can manage their own financial affairs. We recognise that many students find managing money difficult, however, and confidential financial advice is always available through our Student Centre.

They will receive a lot of pre-arrival information which can seem overwhelming. You can help by encouraging them to read it all carefully and to return all the forms in time. In this way, they will be informed and prepared in advance and be less nervous about starting at university.

What happens during the first few weeks?

This is a very busy, exciting but also potentially quite a tiring and stressful time. Some new students are reluctant to join in the social events or feel uncomfortable in crowds of strangers; you can help by encouraging them to take part from the beginning. Large-scale activities, such as clubs, lively bars etc. are very popular, but many students like smaller or quieter activities instead of, or as a change from these. The Students Union and our Student Centre work together to ensure that there are events to help all students begin to feel that they belong.

Making new friends and adjusting to new situations takes time and effort. Some students take to the new environment immediately; for others it's a longer process. Home-sickness and feelings of isolation are more common than students realise.  Every new student is assigned a St George’s ‘mum’ or ‘dad’, a more experienced student who can give some help and advice as they start their studies.

How will I know how they're doing academically?

The only way is to ask them.  UK universities are not permitted to release information about academic progress, attendance or anything else to any third party without that student's express consent.  This includes students’ parents.

Examination results are issued regularly to every student on a taught course - usually after the end of each semester.  If they inform you that they are facing academic problems, try to find out why. University work is very challenging and even exceptional students may receive their first poor grades at this level.  Our regulations allow students to re-sit failed examinations and even the most hard-working students sometimes have to do this.

Every student is allocated a personal tutor, who will be available to discuss academic or personal concerns on a one-to-one basis.

What if they're ill or have problems?

We ask students to put an emergency contact on their university record. We would normally use this only in the unlikely case of medical personnel advising that this is required.  Normally, medical staff would be the ones to make contact if they consider it necessary.

Hospitals have similar guidelines and do not notify the University of hospitalised students unless the students ask them to. It’s up to students themselves to inform the University that they are in hospital; many choose not to.  If we do have contact with a student in hospital, we suggest that they let people at home know, but cannot do this for them without permission.

The fact that your son or daughter has left to go start university doesn’t mean that they don’t need your support any more, just that they need it in different ways.  They will miss you but might not get in touch as often as you'd like. When we have asked, students’ responses to how often they’d like to speak to parents can usually be summed up as: ‘please call me… but not too often.’

 

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