As parents of students at the University of Warwick, we understand that you want your son/ daughter to feel able to achieve his/her best. As a University we are committed to providing a supportive and positive environment for all. Coming to university can be a big adjustment, both for your sons & daughters and for you. Sometimes students encounter personal or academic difficulties. The University has a number of specialist support services to aid students through challenging times, and enable them to fulfil their potential.
You can find out more about the Support Services by accessing the Wellbeing Support Services portal. In brief, they include:
- Personal Tutor/Supervisor – an academic member of staff based in the student’s academic department
- Student Support Office – providing advice on non-academic issues, or if students aren't sure which support service they might need
- Dean of Students' Office – promoting the academic welfare of students
- Residential Life Team – living alongside students in University accommodation to provide support and guidance
- Counselling Service – a team of professional counsellors providing therapeutic counselling in a number of different formats
- Disability Services – supporting & advising students with disabilities
- Mental Health and Wellbeing Team – providing advice and guidance to manage student life and mental health difficulties
- University Health Centre – providing GP and other healthcare services on campus
- Chaplaincy – providing pastoral and spiritual support to all members of the University community
- Student Advice Centre (Warwick SU) – providing generalist advice and representation
- Student Funding – offering advice and guidance on all aspects of financial support
- Campus Security – information about our 24 hour Campus Security (& campus shuttle bus)
- Global Engagement – providing immigration advice and support for international students
The University also works closely with a number of local and statutory services where necessary and appropriate.
A student may choose to access support via any of the above services. Support services communicate closely with each other (within the bounds of confidentiality) to provide comprehensive and holistic support and will refer students where appropriate.
Important information about parents contacting the University
UK law (the 1998 Data Protection Act) and University policy prohibit the disclosure of an individual’s information to a third party. This means that staff members at the University of Warwick are unable to give any information about a student currently studying at the University to a third party. This includes parents, other family members, friends etc. (All Universities in the UK follow similar guidelines and are bound by the same legislation.)
This means that if you make contact with any member of the University and ask about your son or daughter, staff will not be able to divulge any details concerning their academic progress, their wellbeing, their attendance etc. For this reason, we encourage parents and students to keep in regular contact with each other.
We realise that this can sometimes be frustrating, but hope you appreciate the reasons for this. (Please see section below: 'what to do if you have concerns?')
In general, students are expected to act on their own behalf when dealing with offices and departments within the University, and when requesting services or making complaints. Parents will not normally be allowed to make requests, or otherwise act on behalf of their son/daughter.
(In certain exceptional circumstances and with the student’s written consent, we may communicate with a third party, if the University deems it is in the interests of those concerned.)
If you have concerns about your son or daughter, in the first instance you should encourage them to contact Support Services.
If you are concerned because you have not been able to contact your son/ daughter, and you are worried about their wellbeing, you can make contact with the University. We will take the details of your son/ daughter, contact them on your behalf to let them know that you have contacted us, and ask them to make contact with you. The onus will be on the student to contact parents, and staff will not generally get back in touch with parents direct. If you wish to contact the University, please telephone Student Support 024 7657 5570 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
For other concerns, whilst staff cannot talk to your about your son/ daughter, they are always willing to listen to your concerns and give generic advice and information.
In an emergency, if you have severe concerns about a student, you can contact the University 24-hour Security line: +44 (0)24 7652 2083. Whilst, for the reasons outlined above, the University is unable to confirm the student’s identity or attendance at the institution, your concerns will be taken seriously and we will respond to them appropriately.
If an emergency takes place on campus appropriate staff will contact the next of kin (without the student’s permission), if it is deemed appropriate. This would normally be on the advice of professionals such as medical staff.
The University offers help to students in difficulty, and we strongly encourage students to pro-actively engage with support services, should help be required. It is important that it is recognised that your sons and daughters are adults / living in an adult environment, and we encourage and expect them to be independent and take responsibility for their own wellbeing. The University takes its duty of care to students very seriously, but it does not have parental responsibility and can only offer support if approached by the student. In cases where the student is thought to be at risk, appropriate action will be taken by those concerned. Please note that this is rare.
What can you do to support them?
Starting at University
Especially when students start at University, the adjustment process can take time. Anxiety is perfectly normal and should be expected. Whilst they may feel like they are in the minority, we can assure you, they are not. The information on homesickness, culture shock and emotional resilience from our Counselling Service website may prove helpful. Most students will adjust within a number of weeks, but if your son or daughter is still struggling, please encourage them to get in touch with Wellbeing Support Services. Whilst your natural tendency might be to intervene and help them, we would encourage you to explore with them what they might do to help themselves and to take appropriate action. If they talk about wanting to come home, it might be more appropriate to encourage them to stay at Warwick and arrange a time for you to visit them.
Agree with your son/ daughter (ideally before they leave home) how often you will communicate and how. Remember to encourage the right balance of contact with you vs investment in new relationships, and gradually encourage a move from the former to the latter. Keeping in regular contact with them will enable you to be part of their experience.
Remember that the first few weeks are very busy and exciting, which means there is also the potential for it to be tiring and stressful. Encourage your son/ daughter to try new things and take advantage of the very wide range of opportunities on offer - all tastes are catered for.
Accommodation - we hope your son/ daughter will be happy in their accommodation and in the vast majority of cases, experience shows that they are, even if they aren't allocated their preferred choices. Encourage your son/ daughter to be open-minded and flexible; taking opportunities to get to know other students will help them settle. If they are living in Warwick Accommodation and want to move rooms, this may be possible in certain circumstances.
During their studies
Even if students adjust well initially, there may come a point in their studies when they struggle. Encourage them to be pro-active about engaging with support at the first sign of difficulty, and talk to them about their general wellbeing.
Help your son/ daughter to have realistic expectations of academic goals and social life. All students at Warwick are high achievers and many may find they need to work on their perfectionist tendencies. Encourage them to discuss concerns about academic work with their personal tutor.
Leaving: for some students, it may be advisable/ necessary to leave Warwick and indeed, this may well be a postive choice. Warwick may not be the right place to study at the current time. It may be possible for your son/ daughter to consider temporary withdrawal or to leave and go to another University (perhaps closer to home). Encourage them to discuss options with their department in the first instance.