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Guidance and counselling in higher education


12.Educational support and guidance

12.6Guidance and counselling in higher education

Last update: 17 March 2023

The Subdirectorate General for Grants, Financial Support and Education Promotion, reporting to the Directorate General for Educational Planning and Management of the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MEFP), is in charge of promoting specialised support programmes aimed at future students and university graduates, in order to facilitate commitment processes, a professional career and access to continuous training. Royal Decree 1791/2010 which approves the University Student Statute, confers, in its articles 7 and 8, special importance to the activities of guidance and comprehensive care of university students, which are considered a right and a service that universities must organise and provide.

This right is materialised through information and guidance:

  • vocational;
  • academic;
  • professional;
  • university extension activities.

Academic guidance

Article 19 of the University Student Statute, establishes that universities must boost tutoring systems which integrate the actions for student information, guidance and training support in a coordinated manner, so that students can receive cross-curricular guidance and monitoring for their degree. 

The orientation programmes will be developed in accordance with the universities' own regulations and may appoint coordinators and degree tutors. 

The information provided to students includes the following aspects: 

  • objectives of the degree; 
  • available human and material resources; 
  • structure and planning of the studies; 
  • teaching methodologies applied; 
  • evaluation procedures and schedules; 
  • quality indicators, such as expected and actual academic performance rates of the studies; labour force participation rates of graduates. 

The tutoring systems, according to articles 20-22 of the University Student Statute, include: 

  • tutoring at degree level, aimed at guiding students in their learning processes. Thus, this tutoring must: 
    • facilitate the transition and adaptation process of the student to the university environment; 
    • provide information, guidance and resources for learning; 
    • facilitate the configuration of the curricular itinerary, also taking into account the specificities of students with special educational needs; 
    • facilitate the transition to the labour market, the initial development of the professional career and access to continuous training;
  • tutoring at subject level, aimed at individually supporting and guiding students on the learning process of each subject and on their study programme;
  • tutoring for students with disabilities, which means that tutoring programmes must adapt to the needs of students with disabilities, promoting permanent tutoring programmes so that they can benefit from a tutor throughout their studies. 

On the other hand, as student services, article 65 of the University Student Statute defines the student support units. These units may also provide information and guidance on the following areas: 

  • choice of studies and reformulation or change of studies in order to facilitate their access and adaptation to the university environment; 
  • methodologies for university work and training in learning strategies in order to facilitate academic performance and personal and social development; 
  • learning itineraries and future professional opportunities, training in cross-curricular competences and design of professional projects, in order to facilitate the employability and insertion of students in the labour market; 
  • university studies and life-long learning activities; 
  • scholarships and study grants; 
  • advice on internal and external university rights and responsibilities; 
  • psychological and health counselling; 
  • student association and participation initiatives; 
  • cultural, social projection, cooperation and social commitment initiatives and activities; 
  • information on accommodation services and sports services, as well as other services aimed at integrating students into the university environment; 
  • equality in treatment for women and men.

Psychological counselling

Universities, through their student support units, and in the context of their responsibility for the comprehensive training of students, may provide psychological and health counselling.

Career guidance

Its aim is to facilitate the transition to the labour market, the initial development of the professional career and access to continuous training. 

Article 7 of the University Student Statute, defines among the rights of university students the right to vocational, academic and professional information and guidance, as well as advice from the universities on the transition to the professional world. 

Student support units, within career guidance, provide information and counselling on training pathways and professional opportunities, training in transversal skills and the design of the professional project in order to facilitate employability and entry into the labour market. 

In addition, as a result of the agreements reached between universities and the State Public Employment Service (SEPE), the Network of Public Centres for Guidance, Entrepreneurship, Accompaniment and Innovation for Employment (COE) has been created. Although the functions of these centres are established by each university, the main ones are: 

  • academic and professional guidance; 
  • professional development and labour integration; 
  • extracurricular professional placements; 
  • employment; 
  • university entrepreneurship.