Have a Student Support Buddy

If you are from a background that is traditionally underrepresented in higher education, are arriving at Keele from overseas, or have additional support needs, you may feel that you would benefit from having a student support buddy to help you through your first academic year at Keele.

As a new undergraduate student, signing up for a Student Support Buddy will allow you to receive peer support and have a student contact to ask any questions you may have about university, before and after you start your degree programme.

Due to the hybrid delivery model that will be in operation at the start of the 2020/21 academic year, the scheme will operate virtually in the first instance so that we can comply with social distancing regulations. Student Support Buddies will all have a wealth of knowledge about studying and interacting virtually, so they will be on hand to give you their best tips.

The scheme will deliver a range of virtual events for you to get to know your buddy and other new students, so will be a great opportunity for you to become a part of the friendly and welcoming Keele community!

We particularly encourage students from the following backgrounds to request a buddy, but we welcome applications from all new undergraduate students.

  • Care leavers
  • Estranged students
  • Mature students
  • Student parents
  • Student carers
  • Local and commuter students
  • Students with a registered disability or learning difficulty
  • International students

Your student support buddy will be a current student at Keele who has completed at least one year of study at Keele. We aim to match you with a buddy who has had a similar background and experiences to you, although don't worry if this isn't the case as your buddy will be fully trained to support a wide range of students.

All buddies will also be able to pass on general hints and tips based on their own experiences of studying at Keele.

Your buddy will be able to share with you their experiences and tips to help you to get the best out of your time at Keele. Students find that buddies are particularly helpful during the first few weeks of the term, to help you to settle in and find your feet.

Before you arrive, you may want to ask them any questions you may have about life at Keele. Whether it's what to bring with you, information about your course or life on campus - no question is too big or too small!

Once you have started your course, the buddy scheme will then organise virtual meet up events to help you to get to know other students and feel at home within the Keele community. As the academic year progresses, we hope to be able to run campus events for students involved in the buddy scheme, subject to the university's level of operations.

Your buddy is not able to help you with your course work or assessments, however they can give tips and advice about study skills and where to go for further support if you need it.

Once you have been allocated a student support buddy you will each be provided with one another's Keele email addresses in order to begin your communication. Your Keele IT account also gives you access to video call software, so you will be able to arrange virtual meet ups as well.

Following this intial contact with your buddy it is completely up to you how you wish to contact each other. Some of our students swap phone numbers or add each other on social media sites in order to continue contact, however this would be your choice. Subject to social distancing measures, you could also arrange to meet up on campus with your buddy.

1. As a new undergraduate student starting your course at Keele in September 2020, you will be able to sign up to a request a buddy once your place at Keele is confirmed from August onwards.

2. Your request will be processed by the scheme coordinators, who will check through your sign up form and allocate a buddy to you.

3. You will receive confirmation when your application has been processed which will indicate when you should expect to hear from your buddy.

4. Your buddy will then contact you on your Keele email address.

5. Contact will continue over email or other virtual communication methods during the weeks leading up to the start of the academic year.

6. Your buddy will check in with you during the first couple of weeks of the academic year to see how you are settling in and to continue to provide useful guidance.

7. You will be invited to take part in virtual events for students participating in the buddy scheme.

8. You can continue to contact your buddy with any questions you have about university life.

If you feel that you no longer need your student support buddy and they have answered all of your questions then we ask that you contact your buddy directly to let them know you no longer need their help. However, you are welcome to engage with the buddy programme throughout the whole academic year in order to gain the full benefit of the support and guidance offered.

The sign up form to request a student support buddy will be available here from Monday 17th August 2020.