Waiting for On Campus Counseling
The Counseling Center places a high priority on being accessible and responsive to students. The Center has same-day emergency appointments available on request. First-time non-emergency appointments ("intakes") are generally available within a few days of your call. Many students find that one or two sessions with a Center counselor is all they need to address their immediate concerns.
If, however, you and your intake counselor determine that you would benefit from additional support, your counselor will help you connect with the appropriate resources. Specialized treatment, psychiatric care, and ongoing psychotherapy are all available in the nearby community, and insurance benefits generally help cover your costs. Your counselor at the Center can help you determine where and how to connect to whatever support is most appropriate for your individual needs.
THERE IS NO NEED TO WAIT TO BEGIN ONGOING COUNSELING -- A CENTER COUNSELOR CAN HELP YOU CONNECT NOW WITH PRIVATE CARE THAT IS MAXIMALLY AFFORDABLE, ACCESSIBLE, AND APPROPRIATE FOR YOU.
Although initial meetings or emergency meetings with a counselor are readily available, ongoing weekly counseling on campus at the Center is only available on a limited basis (limited by the number of counselors at the center, your willingness/appropriateness to work with a clinical trainee, the match between your schedule and the available time slots, etc.). Only full time students are eligible for ongoing weekly counseling on campus. Your intake counselor will help you determine whether the available on-campus counseling services are appropriate for you, and whether the available time slots for weekly appointments match your schedule. If your intake counselor determines that you are otherwise eligible to be seen on campus (i.e., you do not require more immediate, specialized, intensive, or extensive care than is available on campus), but there is not currently a match between your schedule and the available appointment slots, you may either begin counseling immediately with an off-campus provider or elect to wait until an on-campus time becomes available.
The following guide provides answers to students' most frequently asked questions about waiting for on-campus counseling.
“THANKS, I’LL WAIT…”
You and your intake counselor have discussed together what your concerns are and what resources might be of help in resolving them. You have determined that the particular services you need are not available on campus at this time. Rather than accept a referral to off-campus care, you have elected to wait until a counselor is available to see you on campus.
What if I change my mind while I am waiting, and decide I want to get started in counseling?
If you elect to wait for a Counseling Center counselor to become available, but then change your mind while you are waiting and decide you want to get started sooner, just call your intake counselor at x3500 and he or she will help you get connected with immediate care off campus. Students often find that it was difficult to make that first appointment, and once they have talked to an intake counselor they don’t want to lose their momentum, and prefer to get started right away with ongoing counseling off campus.
How are people assigned to a counselor from the waiting list? How long will I wait?
Students on the waiting list are assigned on a first-come-first-served basis, in the order in which they came in for their intake appointment. You will be assigned to the next available counselor who is an appropriate match for your given schedule, your preference for counselor gender, and the nature of the counselor’s training. If you feel that your concerns are urgent enough that you should not wait for first-come-first-served on-campus services, let your intake counselor know and he or she will help you get connected with immediately-available private care.
How long is the wait between my intake appointment and getting assigned to a counselor?
The wait between your intake appointment and being assigned a counselor may be as little as a few days or as long as several weeks. The length of your wait depends on the time of the year (mid-semester and transitions between semesters are the busiest times), the flexibility of your schedule (if you are only free, for example, at 1:00 on Thursdays, it may be difficult to find a match for you among the on-campus counselors whereas it may be much easier to find a private therapist who will fit your particular schedule), and your preference for a particular kind of counselor (for example, the counselor’s age, gender, native language, etc.). While you are waiting, you and your intake counselor will check in with each other periodically by phone.
What should I do if I have an emergency while I am waiting?
If your circumstances or concerns become more urgent while you are waiting to be assigned to a counselor, call the Counseling Center at x3500 during business hours and ask to speak with your intake counselor or to schedule a same-day emergency appointment. In any on-campus emergency involving physical harm or threat to life, call AU Public Safety at x3636, as well as your Resident Director if you live in a residential hall. In any off-campus emergency, call your local emergency response service.
REMEMBER: THERE IS NO NEED TO WAIT TO BEGIN ONGOING COUNSELING -- A CENTER COUNSELOR CAN HELP YOU CONNECT NOW WITH PRIVATE CARE THAT IS MAXIMALLY AFFORDABLE, ACCESSIBLE, AND APPROPRIATE FOR YOUR NEEDS.