College Students Seek More Counsel Services Burgeon, from 'Choices 101' to Campus Radio Talk Shows and Online Groups

Article excerpt

When Ilene Rosenstein, the director of the counseling center at the University of Pennsylvania, sat down last year to gauge how many students might seek services, she miscalculated - by a full one-third. In total, the center, which was swamped by phone calls and consultations, assisted roughly 10 percent of the student body last year, or about 2,500 students. "The number of students is growing tremendously," says Dr. Rosenstein. In response, colleges and universities around the country are scrambling to accommodate them. Spurred by everything from student doubts about time constraints and workloads to studies indicating a rise in student anxiety and depression, administrators are assembling a wide array of services. And students, many of whom see counseling as a popular option that no longer carries any stigma, are flocking to take advantage of them. "Students hunger for advising," says Jill Carnaghie, director of campus life at Washington University in St. Louis. "In the mid '70s there was a sense they didn't have much to learn. Now, we want to provide receptive students with resources they can use if and when they want to." Colleges' efforts run the gamut, often with a focus on reaching a broad swath of students. At Washington University, for example, students must take "Choices 101," which doles out advice on such hot-button concerns as drugs, sex, and roommate wars that could affect academic performance. The University of Texas at Austin, which has one of the largest counseling centers in the country, offers "Shrink Wrap," an interactive radio program with two university psychologists who field questions on the mundane - cafeteria food - and the far more complex, such as fascination with the Internet that crowds out class work. On the creative extreme, Shenandoah College in Winchester, Va., encourages students in a dance class to write poetry about their experiences with alcohol and perform an interpretive dance for the class. Instructors of anatomy and physiology courses also explore the downside of drinking. The need to stay ahead Most experts cannot point to a dominant cause for the rise in student demand for help. But many, including Rosenstein, say that in a competitive era, students are seeking any means to stay ahead. And they point out that these students are quick to look beyond their peers for help. "Many students see {counseling} as a way to better themselves," Rosenstein says. "They want to be the best. Just as they might hire a personal trainer for their body, these kids are getting counselors for other problems. "They are relatively healthy people," she adds. …


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.