What is Student Support?

Student Support Services, sometimes abbreviated as SSS, are services designed to ensure successful student participation in the school curriculum and community. Recognizing that academic learning can inhibit social struggles, physical needs, and psychological challenges, schools endeavor to address these needs using different group and individual intervention processes. Various individuals may provide student services within the school system. Guidance counselors, school nurses, school psychologists, social workers, and other professionals can be part of the team that works with teachers and administrators to support and instruct students.

At the elementary level, student support services often focus on student's social and emotional well-being. Services may include counseling, social skills groups, and anti-bullying training. Professionals may also work to ensure that students' physical needs are being met, connecting at-risk students with relevant social service agencies to address needs resulting from poverty or adverse home situations.

Student support services include college and career preparation at the middle and high school levels. Professionals may help students choose classes, prepare resumes, navigate college applications, or find internships. Student support at this level can include various skills training as well.

Student support services are required at the college level, including academic tutoring. Student support services can also address navigating the financial aid process, helping students find housing, mentoring, career counseling, and even cultural support.

Student support services at every level consist of a network of individuals working together to connect students, families, and the educational staff to enhance student participation in the learning process. Student support looks beyond the academic needs to determine how students can best be equipped for school success.

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Student Support in Education Topics

Adult Learner

Explore the definition of an adult learner. Discover the types and characteristics of adult learners, as well as unique learning styles and needs of adult students.

Data-Driven Student Support

Learn about data-driven education. Explore the types of data gathered in data-based decision-making and review the importance of using data to drive instruction.

IEP & 504 eligibility

This lesson outlines the differences between an IEP and a 504 plan. It also includes information about who is eligible, how each support is created, and what information is included in each type of plan.

Inclusivity in Education

Learn what inclusive education is and understand its strategies. Discover the importance of inclusion in the classroom and see its benefits with examples.


Learn about educational intervention in schools. Discover the different tiers of intervention in education and explore some examples that instructors may implement.

Learning Differences

Learn the definition of learning and thinking differences. Discover the types of learning disabilities, see examples, and review strategies for student support.

Learning Environment

Explore learning environments. Understand the definition of a learning environment, discover the types of learning environments, and read about ideal learning environments.

Positive Education

Read an overview of positive education. Learn the definition of positive education, learn about two positive education models, and read about the PEP Program.

School Counseling

Read about school counseling. View the purpose of guidance and counseling in schools, learn the history of school counseling, and review the school counselor's role.

School Culture

Understand school culture. Study the definition and types of school culture and examples of the culture of schools. Learn how to create a positive school culture.

Special Education

Learn the special education definition and SPED meaning. Explore the types of SPED classrooms, special education teaching philosophy, and common accommodations.

Student Support Services Resources

Examples of student support services range from high school guidance counselors offering career and college preparation advice to elementary school counselors intervening in student conflicts and teaching social skills lessons. Both professionals whose central role is student support and classroom teachers who support students can benefit from online student support resources. Study.com hosts two types of resources:

  • Those geared towards students.
  • Those geared toward teachers and professionals.

For students, there are courses on college and career readiness. For teachers, there are lesson plans, activity ideas, and a course on promoting students' social and emotional well-being. Professionals can explore the following student support resources to supplement their school's student support service programs.

Courses and Lessons for Student Support

Student support programs are in place at all levels of education, from elementary school through college. For professionals in student support services or those involved in planning various student affairs, Study.com offers many relevant resources. For students, there are courses on high school and college readiness as well as choosing a career, choosing a college, applying to colleges, and being successful in college. In addition, there is an extensive anti-bullying course. For teachers, a comprehensive course explores the many ways to promote and enhance students' social-emotional learning and well-being in the classroom.

High School 101: High School Readiness

This course prepares older middle school students for the next step by reviewing fundamental high school readiness skills in reading, writing, social science, math, and science. Students finish with a refresher on key high school study skills.

College 101: College Readiness

High school students brush up on key math, reading, and writing skills necessary for college-bound individuals. Topics include critical reading strategies, proofreading, and basic math. Lessons on college study skills complete the preparation course.

Library Science 101: Information Literacy

This credit-eligible college course defines the research process, delves into the use and proper evaluation of resources such as the internet, periodicals, and reference materials, and explains plagiarism and intellectual property. A study guide is included.

How to Choose a Major: Guidance Counseling

This certificate-eligible course walks students through choosing a degree path and major, beginning with a self-assessment. Other exciting topics include timing, double majors, career paths, and the practical applications of popular college majors.

How to Choose a College: Guidance Counseling

Students explore the steps of choosing a college. Begin with financial considerations and transfer credits, then learn about researching colleges and evaluating their characteristics. Finish with lessons on applying to college and paying for college.

For teachers and parents

Student Support Lesson Plans for Teachers

While professionals such as guidance counselors and classroom teachers from outside the classroom provide student support services, they also regularly support their students' non-academic needs. Older students benefit from learning career readiness skills, including telephone and typing skills, job interview preparation, and cover letter writing. Finances and money management are lifelong skill sets that students can address at all levels. Computer skills and social media usage are also relevant topics to multiple age groups. Study.com provides over one hundred lesson plans on student support topics designed to meet the needs of elementary, middle, and high school teachers.

Lesson plans
  • Career, Life, & Technical Skills Lesson Plans

    Access lesson plans on career preparation topics, managing money, computer and technology skills, social media, and transportation. Most lessons are for high school students, but some are written for younger students.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are three of the student support services offered by colleges?

    According to the U.S. Department of Education, colleges are to offer several different student support services. Services include academic tutoring, career counseling, and assistance completing financial aid applications.

  • What is meant by student support?

    In education, student support refers to a network of services to address students' non-academic needs. Student support professionals can include guidance counselors, school psychologists, school nurses, and others who work with teachers and administrators, and families. Needs addressed include social-emotional support, career counseling, and college readiness.

Student and Teacher Resources for Special Education

We know it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to learning more about special education. Academic support for students with differences in physical, mental, and learning abilities is a must, but focusing on students' social and emotional well-being are crucial as well. Whether you are a student transitioning to college wondering about the kind of accommodations you can expect and request, a parent/guardian looking to do all you can to support your child, or a teacher planning to create a more inclusive classroom, encouragement and advocacy is critical for future learning. We have several resources to help you understand supportive tools available to students, parents/guardians, and teachers:

Supportive Accommodations in the College Classroom: What Students Need to Know

Most students are on their own for the first time when they head off to college. All of the things you need to figure out can be overwhelming, and adding the need for accommodations can feel like too much. The good news is your school should have an office or center for accessible education - they'll be able to help you figure out what you need and give you all the information about how to get it. See below for some of the options available:

  • Accommodations or Modifications: As in most school settings, colleges should be able to provide what you need in order to be successful in your classes. Most professors are open and willing to help you with what you need in order to pass their classes. Some accommodations you can request are note taking aids, turning in an assignment in a different format, or recording a professor's lecture. Modifications you can ask for are an alternate testing environment or asking for a smaller or differentiated assignment that still meet the standard of the course.
  • Assistive Technology: This could apply in a variety of circumstances, depending on your needs. It can range from enlarged screens to read a text, using calculators, or using an assisted listening device. It is important to reach out and discuss with your professor or the school's disability services to see what you can use.
  • Testing Accommodations: Finals and midterms are a necessary part of the college experience. Most students experience some kind of testing anxiety walking into a final or a midterm that they thoroughly prepared and studied for. Testing accommodations can be made for most testing situations, whether it is extra time or breaks, splitting the exam over a couple of days, or having the exam read aloud to you. It is vital that all communications are made early in the semester to get all support you made need to perform at your best.

Supportive Ways to Help Students with Learning Differences

We all know teachers are some of the hardest workers out there, making sure they are providing a positive and successful learning environment. Below are some options teachers can use to make sure that all students have access to the tools they need to be successful. As a parent/guardian, it can be incredibly helpful to understand these types of accommodations so you can make sure you have the knowledge and vocabulary to fight for what your child needs.

  • Accommodations in the Classroom: When you receive a student's IEP or 504 plan, it can be a bit daunting at first. Depending on the support services at your school, there a couple of actions you can implement right away in your classroom, depending on the student and their goals. Some low lift accommodations you can do are extending time on tests, breaking down student classwork into chunks, or reading a test out loud to a student.
  • Teaching Students Online: Many students may choose to do their learning online instead of in the classroom. As a teacher you maybe thinking how can I meet my students' needs virtually? A couple steps to keep in mind are extending the due date of completed assignments, providing notes to your students prior to teaching the lesson, as well as permitting any assistive technology they may require.
  • Addressing Anxiety in the Classroom: Anxiety can present itself in different ways with students in the classroom. Being informed as an educator is important as well as a creating a safe place where all students can feel heard and validated. Some ways you can help students feel safe in your class are adjusting assignments for length or time, letting them know of any big assessments coming up, as well as keeping communication open with your students. Doing frequent check-ins and one-on-one meetings can show your students the highest level of support.