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Guidance and counselling in higher education


12.Educational support and guidance

12.6Guidance and counselling in higher education

Last update: 29 February 2024

Academic guidance

The Law on Higher Education and Science does not provide for a formal academic counselling and guidance system in higher education institutions (HEIs) in Poland.

(Act of 20 July 2018, The Law on Higher Education and Science (as subsequently amended) /  Ustawa z dnia 20 lipca 2018 r. Prawo o szkolnictwie wyższym i nauce)

Careers services / offices (akademickie biura karier), which are in place at many HEIs, offer counselling and guidance services, understood as advising students (the term referring to first-, second- and long-cycle students) or prospective students about further education, choice of a field of study or another degree or specialism, or in the labour market context.

Such activities are also often undertaken by student self-government bodies which provide information to new students, for example, on the university’s website. Student self-government bodies and representatives of student organisations operating in HEIs organise meetings and set dates of consultations on matters of interest to students.

Counselling and guidance for students and doctoral students is provided by officers or units supporting persons with disabilities.

Psychological counselling

The Law on Higher Education and Science (ustawa z dnia 20 lipca 2018 r. Prawo o szkolnictwie wyższym i nauce) does not provide for a formal psychological counselling system for students in Poland.

However, many HEIs provide this type of support to their students. Support is offered by psychologists to students and doctoral students in individual face-to-face or online sessions.

Some careers offices in HEIs provide psychological counselling services, also in the context of career planning.

Furthermore, students and doctoral students have access to psychological counselling services at healthcare institutions operating within the national healthcare system.

Career guidance

Many HEIs have established careers services / offices to facilitate students’ and graduates’ entry into, and activity on, the labour market.

(Act of 20 April 2004 on the Promotion of Employment and Labour Market Institutions (as subsequently amended) / Ustawa z dnia 20 kwietnia 2004 r. o promocji zatrudnienia i instytucjach rynku pracy)

As part of their responsibilities, careers offices:

  • provide students and graduates with information about the labour market and opportunities for upgrading professional qualifications and skills;

  • collect and sort job, internship and practical placement offers, and make them available to students and graduates;

  • keep a database of job seeking students and graduates;

  • assist employers in recruiting suitable candidates for job vacancies and practical placements;

  • assist in active search for work;

  • collaborate with the career information and planning centre at the voivodship (regional) office in order to update and disseminate career-related information.

To carry out their responsibilities, careers officers:

  • provide information about job, internship, practical placement and voluntary service offers;

  • provide career guidance on an individual basis or in a group;

  • track graduate careers;

  • organise workshops and training in job seeking methods and preparation for the recruitment process;

  • organise workshops and providing training in soft skills;

  • offer consultations and guidance relating to entrepreneurial skills and self-employment.

Careers offices establish and maintain links with employers through the following activities:

  • assistance in the recruitment and selection of candidates to fill job, internship or practical placement vacancies;

  • organisation of meetings involving employers, students, graduates and higher education institution or faculty authorities;

  • organisation of job fairs;

  • organisation of student practical placements, both compulsory and optional;

  • research on employers’ demand for competencies.

The most frequently used methods in career guidance provided by careers offices are:

  • review of, and advice on, application forms and documents;

  • individual or group interviews;

  • mock job interviews;

  • competence testing;

  • coaching;

  • psychological tests;

  • mentoring.

The Committee for University Careers Offices at the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland (Konferencja Rektorów Akademickich Szkół Polskich, KRASP, which brings together Rectors of university-type HEIs) has developed recommendations on activities of careers offices.

(Source: website of the Committee for University Careers Offices at KRASP; information available in Polish only)

There are various organisations in Poland which support careers offices in their activities:

  • the Association of Academic Careers Offices;

  • municipal and regional networks;

  • the National Careers Offices Network.

To support business activity of their staff, students and doctoral students, HEIs may operate academic entrepreneurship incubators. An academic entrepreneurship incubator can be established as an institutional-level unit or a company. An incubator established as an institutional-level unit operates in accordance with regulations adopted by the senate of an HEI.

Students and doctoral students can also benefit from career guidance offered by the Sectoral Skills Centres.