You are here: American University Campus Life Counseling Support for Students

Issues and Concerns

anxiety, depression, race-based trauma, coping with disability, traumatic memories and moreThe goal of the Counseling Center is to help you make the most of your university experience, both personally and academically. Student life involves significant educational, social, and emotional challenges. While these challenges can be stressful, they can also be wonderful opportunities for learning and development. We are here to help you gain the tools and insights you need to thrive emotionally, socially and intellectually.

Our community at AU includes students with a wide range of life experiences, identities, backgrounds, and personal circumstances. A clinician can help you sort out your situation, your feelings, your options, and resources that might be of help to you.

Transfer Students

Students transferring from other schools often face special challenges in their efforts to thrive. These may include, for example, adjusting to a new academic and social environment; coping with surprises or disappointments in comparing AU to your previous school; establishing a sense of school spirit or identity; feeling out-of-sync with your classmates either academically or socially; "transfer regret;" or other difficulties in fully engaging in university life. These concerns, and many more, are appropriate to bring to the Counseling Center for a confidential conversation with a clinician.

StudeNTS OF COLOR

Challenges facing students of color may include, for example, adjusting to a new academic and social environment; dealing with issues of belonging or exclusion; encountering prejudice; weathering changes in one's identity or aspirations; negotiating intersectional identities; and navigating the relationship between other life concerns and being a student of color at AU and a person of color in the world. These concerns are all appropriate for for a confidential conversation with a clinician.

Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity

Students who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, gender non-conforming, asexual, and non-binary may find they experience challenges that can include sorting out one's own feelings of identity and sexuality; interacting with others (family, friends, roommates, co-workers, etc.) regarding one's gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation; dealing with relationship issues; and coping with prejudice. These are just some of the concerns that LGBTQ+ students may find helpful to talk about with a respectful and supportive listener — including, of course, life concerns not directly related to sexual orientation or gender identity.

Similarly, the friends, family, roommates, etc., of a GLBTQ+ student may also have special concerns for which they need support or consultation.  

Students with Disabilities and Learning Differences

Students with disabilities and learning differences face special challenges in their efforts to thrive at school. These may include coping with added stresses associated with a disability; sorting out one's feelings of identity and independence; interacting with others regarding one's disability or difference; and seeking out and accessing the support necessary to fully engage in university life.

Students who are the friend or family member of someone with a disability or difference may also have related worries or difficulties. These and other concerns about disabilities or differences are appropriate to bring to the Counseling Center for a confidential conversation with a clinician. 

International Students

Challenges for students coming to AU from other countries and cultures may include, for example: adjusting to a new academic and social environment; culture-shock or language-barriers; finding companions of one's own religion, language, or culture; homesickness; encounters with prejudice; or other difficulties in fully engaging in university life.

Students coming from other countries and cultures may also have assumptions or fears about what it means to seek out counseling. In some cultures, for example, counseling is seen as shameful, an indication of personal failure, or a sign that the person is "crazy." Such assumptions can make it especially difficult for students to seek out the support they need to do well at school.

The Counseling Center recognizes and respects the wide range of cultural assumptions that students may hold about counseling, and encourages students from other cultures to learn more about how counseling tends to be used and viewed in mainstream American culture. Here at AU, counseling services are provided by the University to help all students cope with the demands of university life and achieve their potential as scholars and young adults.

Non-Traditional Students

Non-traditional students include students considerably older or younger than most students in their cohort, students returning to school after a long absence or as part of a career change, and students who are caring for dependent children or parents.

Non-traditional students often face special challenges in their efforts to thrive at AU, including adjusting to a new academic and social environment; coping with surprises or disappointments about being a university student; feeling out-of-sync with their classmates either academically or socially; feeling stressed by the demands of home, work, and school; or other difficulties in fully engaging in university life. And, of course, you may have other life concerns not directly related to being a non-traditional student. A clinician can help you sort out your feelings and situation.

Accessibility of the Counseling Center

The Counseling Center, on the second floor of Mary Graydon Center, is fully accessible by ramp and elevator. Signers or other accommodations can be arranged in advance of a Counseling Center appointment by contacting Academic Support and Access Center.

Support services available on campus

In addition to the support offered at the Counseling Center, students seeking specific accommodations or to document disabilities should reach out to the Academic Support and Access Center (ASAC). ASAC provides services specifically for students with disabilities, including learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder, physical and psychological disabilities.

Specific accommodations available on campus through ASAC note taker and scribe services, academic skill development, writing assistance, peer tutor referrals, interpreters, reader services, access to adaptive equipment, testing accommodations, consultation, and referral to community agencies.

To document disabilites (including learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder, medical, physical, or psychological disabilities), please also connect with the Academic Support and Access Center.