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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education


12.Educational support and guidance

12.6Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Academic guidance

According to the Higher Education Ordinance (HEI:s, Högskoleförordning 1993:100) must provide guidance to their students, enrolled as well as prospective, but it is not stated in which way these services should be offered and there are no public statistics regarding guidance practitioners at the universities. An estimated 700 individuals work with providing guidance services at higher education institutions. Information on admission, rules for application, eligibility and selection must be available. At the larger HEI:s there are normally special units to deal with students' questions as well as study counsellors, while at smaller university colleges there is usually one specific person responsible for study and guidance counselling.

The country's universities have organised study guidance in two main ways: either through a comprehensive study guidance centre at the central level or with a local guidance service, placed at the faculty or departmental level. The local guidance services occur most often in combination with a smaller, central guidance office. At smaller university colleges there is usually only a central unit for study guidance.

Higher education Ordinance (Högskoleförordningen SFS 1993:100)

Higher Education Act (Högskolelagen SFS 1992:1434)

Psychological counselling

In the Higher Education ordinance it is stated that the HEI:s are responsible for seeing to that the students have access to health care, especially preventive health care, where the main objective is to support the students physical and psychological health. The HEI:s are also responsible for supporting students in other ways that might affect their study situation.

Career guidance

According to the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance students must have access to study counsellors and career guidance. The content of these services differ, but the goal is the same: to support students at the time of graduation as they prepare to enter the labour market.

The HEI:s are obliged to plan and dimension the education according to the demands of the labour market. There is no state regulated link between higher education institutions and employers, however labour market days are organised by most institutions of higher education at least once a year. Often these involve cooperation between student organisations and the institution’s unit for career guidance. At the labour market days the students describe their education and companies present themselves.

At some HEI:s there are  career centres. They offer individual counselling on career choices and support regarding job applications and they also give continuous information about job vacancies, summer jobs, trainee vacancies and companies willing to help and support students with their thesis work. Guidance is provided by the study counsellors that work at the HEI.

The education at HEI:s is linked to working life and given an external perspective through lectures by visiting professors and consulting teachers. These visits provide possibilities to integrate an external perspective into the teaching of both vocational and theoretical programmes. Many courses include a compulsory period of practical experience at a relevant workplace, e.g. engineering, teaching, public administration and health science programmes.