How to Refer a Student for Personal/Psychological Counseling

Once you have determined a need for counseling, you may be uncertain how best to proceed with the student in making a referral to our office. Depending on the student’s attitude and willingness to accept help, this process may be more or less challenging. Regardless of the circumstances, there are certain guidelines you can follow to be most effective. These are included below.

Guidelines for Making a Referral

  • Request to meet with the student privately. An individual is more likely to be receptive to your recommendation for counseling when the suggestion is not made in the presence of others.
  • Note the specific behaviors you have observed and express your concern. For example, you might say: “I’ve noticed that you haven’t been attending class regularly, your grades are dropping, and lately you have appeared tired. I am concerned about you, and wanted you to know that there are many support services available on our campus. Counselors who are trained to help you with any personal problems you may be experiencing are available. I would be glad to assist you in scheduling an appointment with a counselor.”
  • Express confidence in our services by emphasizing the potential benefits of counseling. The more familiar you are with our services and our staff, the more confidence you will convey. This helps the student trust in our capacity to be of help.
  • Assure the student that counseling is private, confidential, and does not become part of his/her academic record.
  • Encourage the student to contact our office directly to schedule an appointment. It is usually helpful to have the student call immediately from your office.
  • Provide additional reassurances for the reluctant student by indicating or suggesting the following:

    • Many students take advantage of counseling
    • Asking for help is courageous and a sign of strength
    • Counseling is voluntary (students can try it once, and choose whether or not to continue)
    • Offer to accompany the student over to our office