A warm welcome to our applicants
Welcome to Disability Services at the University of Leeds. This page is an introduction to our Service for disabled applicants.
We asked our current students which information they found most useful in the run up to starting their degree. The resources below are a handy guide for any disabled applicant coming to study at Leeds.
We know that starting university may be daunting, especially if you have a disability. But please don't worry - we are a warm and friendly team. During the current pandemic we are available by email to answer any questions you might have about starting university and your support on email@example.com
The Disability Services handbook is your go-to document for disability support at Leeds. It covers all the information on our website, including who we are, what we do, and how you can register with us to access support. It also contains key information about the evidence you need to provide of your disability, as well as funding and financial information.
Disabled Students' Allowances
Regardless of which university you attend, if you are a UK student you may be eligible for additional government funding. Disabled Students’ Allowances pay for any additional extra support you may need as a result of your disability, such as access one to one support or specialist equipment.
It can take up to fifteen weeks for DSA to be awarded. You can apply for funding before you have decided which university you will be attending, and we recommend you do so early.
If you are not eligible for DSA, you may be eligible for other forms of disability-related support funding.
As well as receiving support from Disability Services, you'll also have access to a Disability Contact within your academic School. They will be a member of staff with specific responsibility for disabled students and your point of contact for queries about disability support on your course. Disability Contacts work with our Service to make sure that reasonable adjustments are put in place for disabled students in their School. This includes sharing information, as appropriate, with other staff involved in your teaching, learning and supervision. They also signpost any students who may benefit from disability support to our Service.
You can find the Disability contact for your school.
We offer a wide variety of advice and training in assistive technology. Whether you're already a whizz with assistive tech or are brand new to the concept, our Assistive Technology advisor is here to help.
We provide both 1:1 sessions and group workshops throughout the year to introduce the technology available to you. This includes screen readers, speech-to-text, productivity and organisational apps, and much more.
Find out more about our assistive technology help here.
Other campus services
The RNIB Transcription Service at Leeds provides transcription of academic texts into more accessible formats, including large print, braille, digital audio and tactile diagrams.
The service is free to use and available to all students who have a visual impairment, a specific learning difficulty (such as dyslexia), a neurodevelopmental disability (such as autism or ADHD), or a physical disability which affects their use of printed materials.
The Student Counselling and Wellbeing service is here to support you at times of any emotional, psychological or mental health difficulties. They welcome students of any age, class, ethnicity, faith, culture, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.
SCW provide 1:1 counselling sessions, drop-ins, remote online support, as well as group workshops throughout the year tackling issues such as motivation, resilience, and self-care.
Frequently asked questions
How do I register? And when will I hear back?
Registration with Disability Services requires two actions:
1) completing our online sign up form
2) providing suitable and recognised evidence of your disability
Once you have submitted your details, we will review your registration to ensure that you have given all the information needed. We will contact you within a few weeks to confirm your registration and advise you of the next steps.
Remember, you need to complete both the sign up form AND supply suitable evidence before we can review your application.
Do I have the right evidence?
You may also find it useful to check the evidence you have using our online evidence checker https://leeds.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/evidencechecker to find out quickly and easily if it meets the criteria.
We recognise that you may have difficulty obtaining your evidence during the coronavirus pandemic. For this reason, the evidence requirements have been temporarily altered to allow for this. This is outlined on the website but please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
How do you inform my academic School about my disability?
Once you're registered, we will create a support summary sheet for you. This contains a brief description of your disability and how it affects you, as well as outlining the support you are eligible to access. It is shared on a strictly “need to know” basis with staff in your School who have responsibility for putting in place reasonable adjustments. Every School has a designated Disability Contact who will work with your teaching staff to ensure these agreed adjustments are implemented and will resolve any issues that might arise.
Your disability will otherwise remain completely confidential, and it is entirely up to you how much information you would like to share.
How is Disability Services structured?
Our Service is made up of three teams: Front of House, the Disability Advisory Team, and the Support Worker Team.
Front of House are your first point of contact in our Service. They deal with initial enquiries both at our front desk, and by email and telephone. They will refer you on to other teams where necessary.
Disability Advisors deal with more complex queries, and you’ll often meet them once your support is already in place. Disability Coordinators work alongside them and deal with research postgraduates and academic Schools.
Our friendly support workers deal with any 1:1 support. This might include personal assistance, note-takers, mentors and study skills tutors.
Will I get the same kind of support that I received at school?
University studies differ from school or college, and you won’t necessarily receive the same kinds of support that you had. We will assess your needs based on the information you supply and talk to you about the adjustments you may be entitled to whilst at Leeds.
I’m worried about feeling alone when I start university – how easy is it to make new friends?
Starting university can be an exciting experience, but it can also bring its own unique challenges. It’s natural to feel anxious during the first few weeks and it can be a while before you feel like you’ve found your feet. Expect and accept these nerves – they are completely normal. Most people will be feeling the same way.
Join a Society
Explore different societies - you’ll meet lots of different kinds of people with similar interests to you. It’s worth trying out new things, because you might find an interest in something that you hadn’t expected. Visit the Fresher’s Fair to see if anything takes your fancy or explore the listings on the LUU website. https://www.luu.org.uk/clubs-and-societies/
Some societies relate directly to disability and are a good place to meet people who may share the same experiences as you.
LUU Disabled Students Network, Insulin Army, Mind Matters, Nightline, Mantality.
Get to know your flat mates
If you’re living in University accommodation, check out social events organised by your Hall Exec Committee as these will give you the chance to meet others in your hall. You can also join your hall’s Facebook group and follow conversations online if you prefer.
If you’re feeling isolated or have any problems in your hall, remember to chat to your hall warden. Wardens hold advisory sessions during term time and can help you settle in. Find out who your warden is here: https://accommodation.leeds.ac.uk/residence-contacts
You can read more about finding your feet in our Feeling at Home in Leeds guide: https://students.leeds.ac.uk/info/21503/welcome_and_arrival/1155/feeling_at_home_in_leeds
I sometimes find crowded places overwhelming – is campus very busy?
It’s true that campus can be very busy at times, and welcome week particularly so. But there are ways around it. If you prefer to avoid crowds, visit campus first thing in the morning or towards the end of the day when it’s generally quieter.
You might choose to arrive early in your accommodation so that you’ve got time and space to settle in before things get too busy.
If you need some peace and quiet, you can escape the hustle and bustle by visiting:
- Our three campus libraries are the most peaceful places on campus, and each have devoted quiet areas that can be booked for those wanting to work or sit in silence.
- The University chaplaincy is a for any student of any or no faith. They offer a listening ear or simply provide a quiet space for rest or reflection. The Common Room is a great place to make yourself a hot drink and relax or you can go to the Claire Chapel for some quiet time.
- Disability Services has a quiet room located in Chemistry West. With a comfy chair and lockable door, it’s a place for our students to have some peaceful time if they are feeling overwhelmed.
What happens if I’m struggling? Where can I go for help?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t keep it to yourself. Taking care of your mental health is vital, and there are several ports of call if you are feeling low, anxious, or distressed. Whether you need a chat and a cup of tea, or more long-term mental health support, reach out for help.
Student Counselling and Wellbeing
If you’re finding life difficult, you can access confidential support through Student Counselling and Wellbeing. They offer groups, workshops, single-session consultations and web-based support to help you in times of need.
Togetherall is a free online service that provides 24/7 online peer and professional support with trained counsellors in cases of any mental health problems, from anxiety, depression, stress and trauma, to relationship problems and lifestyle challenges: www.togetherall.com
Support in your academic School
Your Personal Tutor is your point of contact in your School for any concerns, both academic and personal. You will meet them during your first few weeks and will be invited to make an appointment with them if you’d like to chat through any concerns you have.
If you’re not sure what kind of help you need, call in at the Advice desk in the Student Union building. Based in the foyer, they can signpost you to any service you may need, with no appointment needed.
The University Chaplaincy
Our Chaplaincy services offer independent and confidential support if you're finding life difficult or are experiencing indecision or grief. They also provide a 24/7 emergency phone line and a drop-in service.
I know that university work is different from school and I'm concerned about organising myself, where can I find help?
The transition from school to university work can sometimes feel a little daunting. But the University wants to support you and help you succeed. There are lots of ways to seek out additional help in your studies at any time during your course, both in person and remotely.
Technology is your friend! Unearth a wealth of organisational apps, screen readers, and speech/text software which can help you in your academic and personal life. Our helpful Assistive Tech Advisor in Disability Services runs both 1:1 sessions and group workshops throughout term time. Find out more here: www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/lsu-dsassistive-technology-workshopsessions-20236825064
Not just for books, our campus libraries are a great resource for extra study skills. The Skills@library courses include notetaking, referencing, revision and time management. Online tutorials and free workshops are available, as well as the option to meet one-to-one with a Learning Advisor. Find out more: https://library.leeds.ac.uk/info/1401/academic_skills
Don’t forget to book a library induction during Welcome Week to learn how to make the most of our libraries, or get an introduction to the service here: https://resources.library.leeds.ac.uk/quickstart/
Minerva is the University’s virtual learning environment and a good place to find out what’s going on. Your lecturers will upload resources and recordings for you to study at your own pace outside of lectures and classes. You’ll also find useful documents such as timetables and exam news.
QuickScan is a computerised screening programme which indicates your preferred learning style. Knowing how you learn is a good way to study more effectively and organise your work.
You can also visit our Flying Start pages to find out more about independent learning: https://resources.library.leeds.ac.uk/flyingstart/
Getting organised is a skill in itself and it may take you a while to learn what works for you. Try and relax, be systematic and ask for help if you’re unsure of anything.
I’ve never lived away from home before, how can I make things easier for myself?
It might feel like there is a lot to remember in the first few weeks, so keep things simple. Campus contains banks, shops, cafes and bars, meaning you won't need to venture far to get everything you need.
If you’d prefer to avoid cooking, sign up for the University Refresh card, or download the app to your mobile phone. You can then pay for food in our shops and eateries using the top-up system, as well as accessing discounts and rewards https://gfal.leeds.ac.uk/faqs/
You will find a handy checklist of things to do before you arrive and during your first few weeks here: https://students.leeds.ac.uk/info/21503/welcome_and_arrival/977/new_students
Why not take a virtual tour of campus before you arrive?