The new Student Services began their operation on 1 August 2016. The students of the University of Helsinki are directed to use their service point in all study-related matters. The Student Union visited the student service points to test them out – now we will tell you about our experiences and share tips for finding help.
Student service points are located on each of the four campuses: three in the City Centre and one on each of the other campuses. You can find your nearest service point at here. Our test group recommends you to find out the location of the service point in advance because signs near some of the service points were lacking. If you are a tutor, please make sure that your freshmen know where to find guidance.
Challenges at all tested service points
The Meilahti service point referred us directly to the nursing instructor when asked a question related to study phases. Unfortunately, guidance was not available in Swedish at the time of our visit. As before, students in preclinical studies are counselled by a student advisor, whereas students in the clinical phase are counselled by a nursing instructor.
The Viikki service point was easily located at info centre Korona. According to guidance received there, all study-related matters should be dealt with directly with the faculty. Who does it really serve to direct students to use the service point when the Viikki service point clearly only has the function of redirecting students? This seems like wasting both resources and students’ time.
At the Metsätalo service point, our tester ended up advising an exchange student as some of the signs were available only in Finnish. Truly accessible services require functional trilingualism. All students of the faculties of humanities and theology receive help from Metsätalo.
At the Siltavuorenpenger service point, all questions were answered by simply referring us to the next person, who was not even present. Please note that, for instance, International Exchange Services are available only on Mondays and Thursdays from noon to 2 pm. In addition to this, all signs were only in Finnish.
At the Kruununhaka service point, our test group tested student advisors’ services in matters such as registrations, exchange issues and substitutive courses. It was clear from the start that everything at the service points was still in the early stages and some of the personnel were new. All members of the test group were ultimately referred elsewhere to deal with their issues. In case you have questions related to exchange, please note that International Exchange Services are located in the room next to Student Services. In matters related to course equivalences and registering study modules, you will be best served by your subject’s training officers, whose contact information you can get from the service points or from the pages of the service point teams.
Services get better with routine
All in all, it would seem that you will most likely receive help from the service points in general faculty-level issues. Service was friendly and you only had to wait for a few minutes. The staff always tried to find someone who could help you with your issue. Part of the personnel now have almost entirely new tasks and do not necessarily know all about the courses available at the faculties or the faculties’ special characteristics yet.
The Student Union believes that the most obvious challenges are the lack of trilingualism and privacy: signs near the service points are good enough for international students and it was not possible to discuss things in private at the service points.
The University hopes to receive feedback on the new Student Services. You can give it to them at here. You can also ask for further information in all situations from the members of the board and specialists at HYY.