Clinton P. and Caryl F., Class of 2019

Identifying At-Risk Students

Clinton P. and Caryl F. Class of 2019

NU’s Behavioral Intervention Team Awareness Tips and Signs

Have you encountered a student who needs assistance or displays troubling behavior? Refer to the tips below to ensure the student gets the support they need.

Tips for Faculty and Staff: Possible Emergencies

  • We recommend you report behavioral concerns about students by completing the Student Referral form as soon as possible. Be sure to select the most appropriate nature of the report. This selection will determine which office initially receives the referral, but staff can transfer referrals to different offices as needed.
  • Be prepared! Consult the Helping Students in Distress Guide as well as the Classroom Disruption Policy from the Office of Student Conduct to know what to do in a variety of situations.

Tips for Faculty and Staff: Prevention

  • Phrase feedback positively whenever possible.
  • Refer students to the Academic Success Center for time management and study skills along with tutoring services.
  • Check in with your students regularly and create a climate where it is safe for students to come to you if they are getting overwhelmed.
  • Model and expect students to utilize good stress management skills.
  • Consult with Student Wellness or BIT Team as needed. Contact us at 858-541-7784 or [email protected].

Warning Signs of Student Distress and Troubled or Inappropriate Behavior

  • Loss of interest in previously important activities
  • Caring less about personal performance
  • Recent drop in grades, missed classes, poor attendance, or repeated tardiness
  • Talking or writing about suicide or violence toward others (i.e. discussion board or journal posts)
  • Unruliness and disrespect of University authorities
  • Abrupt changes or wide variations in mood; angry and hostile, overactive and excitable, or withdrawn and passive
  • Hidden evidence of drug use such as bottles, pipes, and/or pills of unknown origin, etc.
  • Obvious withdrawal from family, friends, or interests
  • Coming to class intoxicated
  • Decreased concentration

How to Talk to Students about Your Concerns (Non-emergency)

Privacy: Talk in private when you and the student have time and are not preoccupied.

Honesty: Be frank about your concerns, sharing what you observe without judging.

Limits: Be clear about the limits of your ability to help. It is not your role or responsibility to counsel students, but you can help them get the support they need.

Timing: If a student is receptive about receiving help, offer to complete a referral to Student Wellness so that someone can reach out to them directly. If they would prefer to reach out on their own, provide them with the phone number (858) 541-7784 and offer to be with them while they make the initial call.

Examples of beginning a dialogue with a student might include:

  • Sounds like you are really struggling with ________.
  • Many people find it helpful to talk in confidence with someone who is outside of the situation.
  • I want to help you get the help you need and deserve.

You can also suggest that a student seek help instead of telling or ordering them to. Let the student know about the Student Wellness department and tell them that students work with Student Wellness for a variety of reasons.

Helpful tips and suggestions for talking about difficult things can be found on


Cyprian, Dr. A., LeGrand, K., McGee, S., Shaffer, S. Identifying the High Risk Student, Auburn University-Montgomery PowerPoint presentation, Retrieved May 28, 2007 from the ACCA-L LISTSERV.UGA.EDU

Sandy Davis, M. P. (n.d.). Identifying Students Who Need Help. Retrieved from Webster University: