Waiting for On Campus Counseling

The Counseling Center places a high priority on being accessible and responsive to students. The Center has Urgent Care Drop-In Hours available Monday-Friday, 2-4 pm. First-time non-emergency appointments ("Initial Consultations") are generally available within several days of your call. Many students find that one or two sessions with a Center clinician is all they need to address their immediate concerns.

If, however, you and your Initial Consultation clinician determine that you would benefit from additional support, your clinician 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 clinician at the Center can help you determine where and how to connect to whatever support is most appropriate for your individual needs.

  • Remember: There is no need to wait to begin long-term counseling. A Center clinician can help you connect now with private care that is maximally affordable, accessible, and appropriate for you

Although Initial Consultation appointments and Urgent Care Drop-in services with a Counseling Center clinician are readily available, time-limited individual counseling on campus at the Center is available on a more limited basis (limited by the number of clinicians at the center, your willingness/appropriateness to work with a clinical trainee, the match between your schedule and the available time slots). Your initial clinician 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 initial clinician 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 frequently asked questions about waiting for on-campus counseling.

Frequently Asked Questions about Waiting for On Campus Counseling

You and your Initial Consultation clinician 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 clinician 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 clinician to become available, but then change your mind while you are waiting and decide you want to get started sooner, just call the clinician at x3500 and they 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 a clinician, they do not want to lose their momentum, and prefer to get started right away with ongoing counseling off-campus.

How are people assigned to a clinician 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 Initial Consultation appointment. You will be assigned to the next available clinician who is an appropriate match for your given schedule, your preference for clinician gender, and the nature of the clinician'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 clinician know and they will help you get connected with immediately-available private care.

How long is the wait between my Initial Consultation appointment and getting assigned to a clinician?
The wait between your first appointment and being assigned a clinician 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 pm on Thursdays, it may be difficult to find a match for you among the on-campus clinicians 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 clinician (for example, the clinician's age, gender, native language, etc.). While you are waiting, you and your Initial Consultation clinician will check-in with each other periodically by phone or email.

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 clinician, call the Counseling Center at x3500 during business hours and ask to speak with your Initial Consultation clinician or attend Urgent Care Drop-In Hours (M-F, 2-4 pm). 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.

  • There is no need to wait to begin long-term counseling. A Center clinician can help you connect now with private care that is maximally affordable, accessible, and appropriate for you