Being a postgraduate student can be daunting, the increased workload combined with the emphasis on independent study can be challenging, you may be unsure where to look for support if you need it…. we’re here to help! As a postgraduate student at KCL you can expect a network of support services available from the university and your IoPPN department. These resources are invaluable but it is also vital to utilise the support networks that arise among your peers! We all need support from time to time, let us guide you through our tried and tested, but definitely not exhaustive list of support systems available as KCL.
Online student services and resources are ready and available for students. These services include resources for applying and enrolling at KCL, along with developing studying skills, answering timetable or module questions, fee advice, visa advice, disability support, wellbeing support, accommodation support, and much more. The link below will take you to the home page for student services online where you can poke around and start to discover answers to all your questions. At the bottom of the page you will see links to important articles about all of the latest regulations and announcements at KCL, including information on the COVID-19 response.
Two other very important online webpages to bookmark before starting at KCL are the King’s IT webpage where you can find the phone number and email address for the 24/7 support. You can also find all the services and software KCL provides with includes free access to Microsoft 365 and computer security software.
The second webpage which you will want to explore before starting at KCL is the Libraries and Collections homepage. Via this webpage you can find out about printing services, laptop services, access to libraries during COVID-19, and you can access the eResources available which includes access to online books and journals.
Personal Tutors (PTs)
Personal tutors are assigned to each student at the start of the year, typically within the first month. Your personal tutor is essentially your advisor, and you are able to ask them questions or ask for advice in any areas related to your degree. Developing your relationship with your personal tutor is very important because they are often your go-to person for letters of recommendation. In order to create a good student/personal tutor relationship, it is very important to communicate, show interest, and keep an open mind when talking to them about your questions or receiving their advice.
Creating or suggesting a KEATS forum for modules if they do not already exist can be a great start on asking general questions/ FAQs related to specific modules, exams, and assignments! Staff regularly check these and are proactive in answering questions to help all students! This can also be a useful area to read through other students’ questions to help answer your own! Be sure to make full use of these!
Coffee Morning Sessions/ Out of Office Hours Sessions
Many courses within the ioPPN have allocated coffee morning and out of office hours sessions into weekly timetables as an opportunity for students to come and discuss any struggles or concerns they may have in regards to their course, assignments or general academic journey. Please remember if your course does not have these sessions you can email staff or personal tutors to easily set these up- make use of communicating with your team!
Most, if not all courses have multiple student reps who are selected by peers and sit on committees with senior staff on the course. Student reps are not only your link to feedback or ask questions on your course but they will often organise social events too, whether that be on Zoom or otherwise! In terms of networking it may also be good to nominate yourself to be a student rep, the role is really flexible with your main responsibility being committee meetings with course staff no more than monthly. Outside of this, you can harness the role to create the social and support structures you would like to get from the course, while making friends!
Course Group chats
Investigate whether there are any group chats setup for your course! If not, taking the initiative to set one up, although daunting, will be well received. It is good to be able to ask questions about the course, living in London, meeting up, where’s good to eat, etc. This can also present a really unique way to form a community within your course, from which you can expect social and academic support! For example, on the Global Mental Health MSc this year, we have a course content chat, a ‘social club’ one, one for those of us who are moving to/living in London, as well as chats for optional modules! Of course, this is totally flexible and we just really took to Whatsapp but not everyone is in all of the chats and no one misses out so you can engage as much or as little as you like.
University Counselling Service
During university, we all experience hard times and it is important to know that KCL has resources for you when you are going through these times. On the Counselling and Mental Health services pages, you can find links to PDFs and resources. King’s also offers crisis support should you or a friend ever need which is there for students in need. Another way to access King’s Mental Health services is through your personal tutor, so it really is worth having a good rapport with them.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
King’s offers a breadth of support for people from the LGBTQ+ community, including an LGBTQ+ network. This network preaches equality, empowerment and education in an effort to make King’s a better place for those in the community.
There are also networks for race equality, which hosts events and celebrations for occasions such as Black History Month.
King’s offers loads of support for people with disabilities, ranging from advice and support to help with exam arrangements.
Amy, Julia and Iqra (PG community managers).