Assisting Students at Risk

Behaviors of Concern

Behaviors of Concern

How does one determine the difference between "normal" college-age behavior and behavior requiring intervention?

College years are a time when many students experiment with new behaviors and voice feelings and thoughts that have, until now, been hidden or private.  So change, sometimes, is the norm.  However, the stresses of academic and social life during college years, can lead to behaviors that indicate more serious problems.

Signs that a student may be in trouble include observable behaviors such as:

  • threatening self or others
  • increased irritability or aggressive behavior
  • alcohol or drug use that interferes with functioning or jeopardizes relationships or performance
  • visible distress
  • decline in personal hygiene
  • inappropriate classroom behavior
  • bizarre behavior, seemingly out of touch with reality
  • argumentative behavior that is disproportionate to the situation
  • significant changes in mood or daily functioning
  • isolation
  • bullying or being bullied

With the exception of harm to self or others, a single behavior (such as sadness or occasional withdrawal from others) may not indicate a problem, but a consistent pattern of behaviors or continued decline in functioning may warrant exploration either with the student or through consultation with a colleague.  Don't be afraid to consult with someone about your concerns.

When you notice significant changes or behaviors that cause you concern, if it is appropriate and reasonable,

  • share your concern with the student directly
  • discuss your concerns with a peer or colleague (you can do so and maintain the student's privacy, if you wish), and/or
    • IF you are a faculty member, report your concerns to your Dean's office
    • IF you are a staff member, report your concerns to the Office of the Vice-President of Student Affairs and Campus Life.
  • EACH path will lead to consideration which may lead to intervention with student.