Frequently Asked Questions

CounselingTestingDisability Support Services
  • Are the counseling services confidential?

    The Counseling Center is completely confidential, except in cases of life-threatening emergency (the threat or attempt of suicide, and the threat of seriously injuring another person, for example) or when we are legally required to report abuse of a minor. Except in these extraordinary circumstances, neither what you and your counselor discuss nor any of the required written records are shared with anyone- including roommates, parents, friends, faculty, and staff- without your written permission.  All records of visits are separated from other university files and securely maintained within the Center.

  • Do I have to pay to utilize the Counseling Center?

    No. The services of the Counseling Center are free.

  • How do I know if I need counseling?

    Counseling is appropriate for anyone who is troubled by a specific problem or has a general concern. Students seek counseling for personal growth, increased self-awareness, self-esteem, anxieties, depression, family and interpersonal issues, as well as for acute problems or crises.

  • How do I make an appointment at the Counseling Center?

    The best way to make an appointment is to call the Counseling Center at 870 235 4145 or stopping by Reynolds 216.  Please provide your name, phone number as well as the days and times you are available to be seen.

  • How often do I attend counseling sessions?

    Your schedule is determined by you and your counselor. In general, counselors see students once a week for a fifty-minute sessions.

  • If I decide to see a counselor, what commitments would I be asked to make?

    When you come for an initial intake session, you are not making a commitment beyond the evaluation sessions, which may vary from 1-3 meetings. You and your assigned counselor would generally meet on a weekly basis for a period of time that is mutually agreed upon. Counseling sessions are typically 50 minutes. We expect you to keep your appointments and to call in advance when you are unable to attend a session since other people may be waiting for an appointment.

  • May I e-mail my counselor?

    Please use the telephone rather than e-mail if you need to contact the Counseling Center. E-mail is not always confidential and is not always accessible by a Counselor. Therefore, communication by e-mail may not always be received in a timely fashion.

  • What can I do if I am concerned about a friend that may benefit from counseling?

    You can ask the receptionist to set up a consultation to discuss what is happening with your friend and what you might be able to do to help. If you think your friend is in crisis, call immediately.

  • What do the staff in the Counseling Center do?

    The Counseling Center offers free, short and long-term therapy to SAU students, staff and faculty.  Counseling staff can also consult with students and members of their  families. Workshops are offered to address students’ interests and needs.

  • What should I expect from my counselor?

    Your counselor is a licensed mental health professional (clinical social worker, psychologist) who is trained to help you identify and begin to resolve the issues and problems that are of concern to you. It is perfectly common and understandable to have some anxiety about seeing a counselor – your counselor will establish a safe and structured environment in which you can feel comfortable discussing your thoughts and feelings. The approach is non-judgmental and collaborative. Counselors help clarify options, provide support and understanding, assist with setting goals, explore feelings and correct misconceptions.

  • What should I talk about in counseling?

    Students seek counseling for all sorts of reasons. Some of the most common issues that bring students to Counseling Services include: low self-confidence, academic performance, depression or anxiety, confusing, distressing thoughts or feelings, difficulties adjusting to college, anger or irritability, stress, traumatic experiences, relationship problems, health-related concerns, alcohol or drug misuse, problems with eating or body image, difficulty making friends and difficulties with concentration or motivation.

  • When is the Counseling Center open?

    Monday through Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  Summer hours are 7:00 a.m. -5:30 p.m.

  • Who is eligible to use the Counseling Center services?

    Any SAU college undergraduate, graduate, faculty and student currently enrolled and working toward a degree.

  • Will my professors or family members find out that I am seeing a counselor?

    Absolutely not.  Counseling records are not part of your academic record. The counseling process is confidential and your counselor will strictly maintain that confidentially. Some exceptions to confidentiality do apply. Your counselor may need to share information in the event of a psychological emergency requiring hospitalization or in circumstances involving your safety or the safety of others. When these exceptions occur, you will be informed.

  • Are there any special application procedures for students with disabilities?

    The application process is same as it is for all students. Students with disabilities must apply to SAU through the regular admissions procedure. Applicants with disabilities are part of the regular application pool and considered based on the same criteria as all students.  There are no special admissions procedures.

    A student may, however, apply to the companies that administer the standardized admission exams (such as Educational Testing Services and The College Board) for provision of accommodations when taking standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT and GRE. Contact the exam administration companies for further information on how to apply for and make arrangements for standardized exam accommodations.

  • Do I need to do anything to get disability services accommodations again next semester?

    Yes, students seeking accommodations must set up a DSS appointment each semester to coordinate your accommodations for the following semester.  It is not done automatically.

  • How do disability services in college differ from those in high school?

    In college, students with disabilities are covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Colleges are required to provide any reasonable accommodation that may be necessary for equal access to education. They are not required to design special programs for students with disabilities or have Individualized Educational Plans (IEP’s).  Since this is the case, the legal obligations change. There is no special education in college. Under IDEA, it is the responsibility of the schools to provide services and seek out students with disabilities.  It is the student’s responsibility to seek out services through Disability Services.

  • I suspect I have a learning disability. Can Disability Services conduct the assessment to provide a diagnosis?

    Colleges are not required to conduct or provide testing. The student is responsible for providing current documentation, and any additional testing to support the requested accommodations, if necessary.  However, Disability Services does provide referral information for local evaluators.

  • I’m a Department of Rehabilitative Services (RS) client. Is there anything special I should know about SAU Disability Support Services?

    If you have a RS counselor in your home town, you are encouraged to stay in contact with your home counselor.  If you do not have a home town RS counselor or have other questions regarding RS, you may contact the local Rehabilitation Office at 870-862-5451.

  • I’m a Department of Rehabilitative Services (RS) client. Is there anything special I should know about SAU Disability Support Services?

    If you have a RS counselor in your home town, you are encouraged to have your home counselor contact Disability Services to provide information about your accessibility needs.  If you do not have a home town RS counselor or have other questions regarding services for the blind, you may contact the local Rehabilitation Office at 870-862-6631.

  • I’m a RS Division for Blind Services client. Is there anything special about SAU Disability Support Services I should know?

    If you have a RS counselor in your home town, you are encouraged to have your home counselor contact Disability Services to provide information about your accessibility needs.  If you do not have a home town RS counselor or have other questions regarding services for the blind, you may contact the local Rehabilitation Office at 870-862-6631.

  • If I am a student with a disability, will Disability Services seek me out to provide services like my counselors did in high school?

    Colleges do not have to seek out students with disabilities.  It is the student’s responsibility to seek out services through Disability Services.

  • If I am eligible for testing accommodations through Disability Support Service, what are the policies I should know about?

    If you are taking a test in the DSS office, the policies are as follows:

    1. Accommodations need to be discussed with your professor at the beginning of the semester and they may need a reminder before every test that you are taking the test in DSS office.
    2. Sign up for each test (including the final exam) for the entire semester and notify DSS of any schedule changes throughout the semester.
    3. All testing accommodations (outside of extended time) need to be stated at the time you sign up for your test in DSS (e.g. use of a computer or reader).
    4. Take your test at the same time as the rest of the class. All exceptions need to be cleared by the professor.  Note: times should be shifted if extended time interferes with another class.
    5. Check in with the front desk of DSS at the designated time of your test.
    6. Failure to abide by the sign up policies may result in the ability to use your accommodation for that test (e.g. signing up for a test the day before it is scheduled).
  • Should I provide information about my disability in my admission application?

    Deciding whether to disclose a disability is a personal decision. The University can’t ask if you have a disability during the application process. However, some students feel that how they have successfully handled the challenges of their disability reveals the uniqueness and strength of their personality and choose to write about it in their application

    It is not necessary to include medical or educational testing with your application. You are welcome to send documentation to Disability Services in preparation for enrolling or to inquire as to what accommodations you would be eligible to receive.

  • What are the procedures for implementing accommodations for students with a disability?

    Once admitted to Southern Arkansas University, contact the Disability Support Counselor.  We will set up an appointment to meet with you to discuss your disability and request documentation.  Send us any records of accommodations/services provided to you at any previous academic settings (e.g., IEP, Section 504 plan, college service plan, etc.).  If serviced by a State/Provincial Rehabilitation agency, have your caseworker contact the DSS counselor. Eligibility for services is based on a combination of the student’s description for need, the thoroughness of the disability documentation, and documentation policies.  Once eligibility is determined, we will assist you with implementing the agreed upon accommodations.

  • What do I do if I am taking summer classes and will need to receive disability accommodations?

    As soon as you know you are taking classes in the summer at SAU, notify the DSS Counselor to discuss possible accommodations. If you take a course off campus, accommodations will be provided by the host school.

  • What documentation do I need to receive services from Disability Services?

    Documentation from a medical, licensed or certified professional must be provided to Disability Services to be eligible for services and reasonable accommodations. The documentation must be current and state a diagnosis of a disability and the functional limitations it causes. If you have questions about documentation, please contact the Coordinator of Disability Services.

  • What if I can’t take my test with disability accommodations at the regular time because I have a class right after?

    If you can’t take your test during class time because your use of an accommodation will conflict with another class, you must talk with your professor to arrange a different time. The Center is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday.  You will need to contact the testing center to take a test outside of the regular testing hours.

  • What if I don’t need disability accommodations in all my classes? Can I just use accommodations for certain classes?

    Yes. Because the structure of classes can be different, you may not need accommodations in all of your classes. You only need to request accommodations for the classes you need them in.

  • What role do my parents play in the disability support process?

    Students who are 18 years old or older are legally recognized as adults.  In this case, the student is responsible for their own accommodation requests and disability-related decisions.  However, students are encouraged to have an open dialogue with their parents.  Parents can be a wonderful source of support.

  • Who can help me with disability services?

    At Southern Arkansas University, one of the counseling staff members is designated as the Disability Support Counselor. The DSS counselor assists students and faculty with any reasonable accommodations that need to be made to provide equal access to the college’s programs.

  • Who is eligible for disability services?

    An individual is considered to have a “disability” if she/he has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity such as seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, learning, caring for oneself, or working

  • Will Disability Services monitor my medication once I arrive?

    You are responsible to monitor your medications with a licensed professional in your own community or within SAU Health Services. We encourage students to work with their licensed professional who is familiar with the issues you are facing as a college student. It is important to maintain regular appointments with this provider during your first few months at college because you might need changes in medication due to the change in requirements and environment.