There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but now that you’ve (almost) paid your tuition and fees, there may be things that feel like free services, and you should take full advantage of them.
After all, you’re paying for them.
The University of Colorado Boulder offers a host of resources that come with the price of admission, from counseling to climbing.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Deb Coffin says only things like specialty services, like psychiatry visits to the Wardenburg Health Center, would involve an extra fee or student insurance claims.
For instance, when it comes to peace of mind, there is a separate department called Counseling and Psychological Services where students get six visits per academic year at no extra charge, no appointment necessary.
Coffin says other highlights include Career Services, where students should show up early and often, especially if they don’t know what they want to be when they grow up. This department can help students find their passions and get assistance with potential career paths, majors, internships, professional school qualifying exams like the GRE, and even employment after graduation. Freshmen, especially, are encouraged to check out this office and other services, Coffin says.
“We encourage students to take advantage of these programs as early as possible,” Coffin says, “because students who get involved and access programs do better in school and actually graduate at higher rates as well.”
Her division represents the hotbed of student-related services, but there are a smattering of other resources outside her department, like Disability Services, International Education and the Student Academic Services Center, which specializes in supporting first-generation students.
Here are some of the highlights in Coffin’s division where you can cash in on your pre-paid services:
• Women’s Resource Center
• Volunteer Resource Center
• GLBTQ Resource Center
• Center for Multicultural Affairs
• Veterans Services Office
• Student Outreach Retention Center for Equity
• Student Recreation Center and Recreation Services (Yes, this is where the climbing comes in, as well as ice skating, squash, racquetball, ice hockey, tennis, weight rooms, outdoor gear, swimming, basketball, volleyball, track, aerobics, workout machines, club sports, intramurals — need we go on? Oh, and the rec center is being expanded and renovated.)
• University Memorial Center (this is your student union, with plenty of employment, dining and extracurricular opportunities)
• Environmental Center
• Office of Victim Assistance (and no, this is not just for sexual assault victims, this is for people who experience theft, a car accident, a death in the family or fire, for instance)
• Student Legal Services (this may require an extra fee, but hey, it’s cheaper than a real attorney when you get into hot water)
• Office of Parent Relations (OK, we threw this one in for the folks)
The campus bends over backwards to get the word out about all of these programs, but students may also have to put in some legwork of their own.
“I think they get information on it, but don’t necessarily capitalize on it early on,” Coffin says. “We have a lot of events that provide them with information, and we share information with them through multiple avenues. I think the trick is them doing a little bit of looking on their own, too.”
For more information on services available to students, see umc.colorado.edu/studentlife/involvement or www.colorado.edu/studentaffairs.