Monthly Topic April Adivsory Services

April - Advisory Services

Always an Open Ear

In addition to starting an academic education, studying also means finally standing on one's own two feet and shaping one's life independently. Young people leave their parents' home and their familiar surroundings to do so, and are truly independent for the first time. But at university, disillusionment sometimes sets in: Especially in the initial phase of their studies, students often feel lost and overwhelmed by the numerous challenges and are looking for orientation in their new environment. This is precisely where the Studierendenwerk supports them with its counseling services.

But first, let's take a look back ...


Advisory Services Become Visible

Who better to explain how important Social- and Financial Advisory Services, Psychological Advice and Legal Advice are for students than the advising team itself? In these videos they introduce themselves and their work.

Universities as Elitist Institutions

Advisory services are a rather recent phenomenon at the centuries-old institution of the university. For the longest time of their existence, universities were elitist institutions where professors imparted their knowledge to young men from families with an academic background - one knew and understood the concerns and needs of the counterpart. Over the centuries, these structures, designed primarily for an elite educational class, entrenched.


The Changes of the 1970s

At the latest after the end of the Second World War, the problems of these structures become apparent: In the emerging knowledge society, universities become increasingly attractive. Between 1970 and 1975 alone, the number of students in the Federal Republic of Germany doubles. And this generation is no longer prepared to simply accept the conditions. The protests of 1968, for example, were also directed against the "mustiness of a thousand years under the robes" and against outdated traditions. Venerable professors and the classical institutions of the ordinariate university are criticized and questioned. It becomes clear that the university is no longer an elite circle, but an open social space that has to cover the reality of life of a whole country.

With these upheavals, universities are changing. New structures, rules and institutions are being launched. But as universities continue to grow, it also becomes more difficult for students to find their way around - especially those from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. This is where the advisory services offered by the Studentenwerke (the later Studierendenwerke) come in, with an open ear for everyone.


Photos: Social Advising Meeting in the 1970s.


Student Counseling as a Team

With a concept that was unique in Germany, the Studentenwerk Kassel founded the Student Advisory Service in a Team in 1974 together with the then Gesamthochschule Kassel (GhK), the General Students' Committee (AStA) and the Employment Office. "As previously independent employees at student advisory services, we simply wanted to do something together," recalls a former Studierendenwerk employee.
Instead of one-on-one meetings, the study advisory team offers group discussions. And this offer is immediately accepted: In the first seven years alone, more than 3,000 students come to the open advising sessions.

The picture shows the members of the student advisory team at the end of the seventies.


Further Advisory Services

As early as 1973, the Psychotherapeutic Research and Counseling Center was founded at the GhK. In 1992, the then Studentenwerk Kassel took over the counseling part in the form of the Psychosocial (now Psychological) Advisory Service and from then on offered low-threshold support for students in psychological crises. In 1993, legal counseling was added in order to be able to assist students who were struggling with legal problems specific to their studies.

There are currently three areas of focus: social advising and advising on financing of studies, psychological advising, and legal advising.


Social Advising and Advising on Financing of Studies

The Social Advising Service is the contact point for students with social and economic questions concerning their studies. It is aimed in particular at international students, student parents and disabled and chronically ill students.

The topics range from information on health insurance or work permits to applying for social benefits and finding further services.


The Advising Service on Financing of Studies provides an overview of the various funding options in each phase of study and tries to find the most favorable customized solution together with the students. Students can obtain information here on part-time jobs, tax-free allowances, housing subsidies and savings opportunities. If the financing mix of parental support, state support (BAföG), child allowance and jobbing is not enough to cover the cost of living, and if a scholarship is not an option, alternatives such as educational loans are sought. 

Further information:

The Team:

Sabine Concetta Mugavero and Mike Pillardy (in the left photo) and Anja Sajonz (in the right photo) are familiar with the special situations in the lives of students.They work with them to find solutions when money is tight or everyday life is overwhelming:


Important Contact Point for Those Seeking Advice: The Information Desk in the Campus Center

When Jakob is not studying, he works at the information desk of the Studierendenwerk and gives tips on where students can find support: In the video, he answers questions about our offerings.

Psychological Advisory Center

The Psychological Advisory Center (PBS) of the Studierendenwerk Kassel supports students of the University of Kassel with differentiated and professional counseling to develop, regain or maintain their ability to study. Students who have study-related and/or personal crises are provided with timely, unbureaucratic, low-level support and low-threshold counseling. Those seeking advice are supported in studying more satisfactorily and thus more successfully.

At the same time, psychological counseling promotes the students' personal development and health. A multi-professional team of psychologically trained advisors works in the PBS. They are employees of the Studierendenwerk.


The Team:

In the left photo, from left to right: Julia Thonfeld, Head of Department, M. Sc. Psych. Katja Hoffmann, Christine Lengemann (secretariat), Dipl.-Psych. Benjamin Riedel, Mag. rer. nat. Psych. Gerrit Klotz and Dipl.-Supervisor Madeleine Weber. Consultant and coach Philippe Delage is missing. Photo right: Christine Lengemann is the friendly contact person in the registration area of the Psychological Advising Center.



Network Psychological Advisory Center

The Psychological Advisory Center of the Studierendenwerk can draw on an extensive network, even beyond the university structures. This includes contact points such as the Employment Agency, the Center for Psychotraumatology, the North Hesse Drug Help Center, the Social Psychiatric Service and the religious student communities, to name just a few examples. In this way, those seeking advice can be referred promptly to specific points of contact in Kassel and in this way find precisely tailored support.

Legal Advice

For students of the University of Kassel who need support in legal matters, the Studierendenwerk Kassel offers legal advising service. This free advice basically covers all legal questions arising in the everyday life of students.
Further information:

In the photo: Legal Advisor Rudolf Schramm

Making Studying a Success

The Advisory Services of the Studierendenwerk Kassel reflect the diverse reality of life of today's students, accompany them from the beginning and, if necessary, catch them up. In this way, the Studierendenwerk helps young people from a wide range of countries, backgrounds and life phases to successfully complete their studies.