How to deal with your institution's admin office

How to deal with your institution's admin office

No matter what you’re studying or which institution you attend, there will be at least a few instances during your studies when you’ll have to deal with the admin office — whether to make adjustments to your enrolment, submit applications or otherwise. Don’t feel daunted; administration offices are there to help you smooth out any bumps you might experience in your studies, and many provide helpful services that you might not even know about.

Administration differs from institution to institution, but in larger institutions you will usually find that each faculty has an administration office that can help you with administrative matters relating to your course, as well as other offices that can assist you with broader issues such as academic decisions, financial matters, disability services and graduation. In smaller institutions, one office may handle the lot.

Here we discuss some of the administrative processes you’re most likely to go through.

Seeking advice and assistance

Struggling to keep up with your classmates? Having personal or financial issues? You’ll be surprised at the number of student services offered by your institution — from health care to financial, housing and academic assistance.With so many services on offer, it can be difficult to locate what you need.If you find that you need assistance, your first stop should be your institution or faculty’s admin office. They will be able to refer to the appropriate unit for your needs within the institution. The next step is to schedule an appointment or even just pop in on the spot.If you’re not sure what services are offered, your institution’s website will usually provide a detailed list.

Timetabling issues

Even if a subject looks great on paper, it’s not uncommon to attend the first few lectures and vow to never return. You may also find that a particular time just isn’t working for you. Luckily, changing your timetable is generally quite simple through your faculty’s administration office. Although the process varies between institutions, the staff at your faculty’s admin office can usually advise you on your options and will help you swap to a different subject or a more suitable timetable slot wherever possible.

Changing courses

There are several reasons why you may choose to change courses — anything from losing interest in your field of study to wanting to gain entry into a different institution. If this is the case, then your faculty’s administration office should be your first port of call to manage this complicated process. They can schedule you an appointment with a course adviser, talk you through your options (such as transferring credits to another course), cancel your current enrolment and guide you through the process of enrolling in another course, whether at the same institution or another institution. Just make sure you do this before the census date so you’re not eligible for extra costs.

Applying for special consideration

If you’ve been unwell or have experienced personal issues throughout the semester that have impacted on your performance or your ability to complete assessments, then you can usually seek special consideration through your faculty’s administration office. The first step is to explain your circumstances to your lecturer or course coordinator, who may be able to grant you an extension on the spot. If this is not possible or the situation is more serious then you may need to submit an application (whether online or in hard copy) detailing your need for special consideration through the administration office. You may also need to supply supporting documentation, such as report from your doctor or a statutory declaration. Each institution will have its own policy as to what is considered sufficient grounds for special consideration, so it’s worth having a chat to a staff member as soon as possible.

Academic matters

The admin office can also help you with any academic matters you might need assistance with, such as handing in your assignments, dealing with an accusation of plagiarism, appealing against an academic decision (an unfair mark) or submitting an ethics application for research. Depending on your institution, you may be referred to student affairs or an academic or research unit for certain matters.

Further information

For more information about any of these processes, it’s best to get in touch with your institution directly. Processes vary between institutions and also within them.

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