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Are students afraid to ask for help?

The first semester can be overwhelming for students; managing workload, making new friends, homesickness, social anxiety, academic stress, meeting deadlines. While graduates look back at the challenges of the first semester with a great sense of pride and achievement, it is difficult to appreciate the lessons at the time. Many students struggle with the transition to higher education, so it is incumbent on the institution to provide services that help students along the way.

Perhaps the greatest lesson of all in life is knowing when to ask for help, rather than viewing it as a weakness. In this social media age, we assume that everyone else “makes it look so easy”, but behind every success is a network of helpers. No one achieves success alone. Offering a friendly reminder that the door is open is a great start but it takes courage to walk through the door, and unfortunately, many students view asking for help as a step too far. The challenge for institutions is seeking out those who need help the most.

So how do you help students who do not know that they need help, or who are too afraid to ask? Midterm results are a good measure but by then the student may have dealt with such enormous stress that they may feel that the course is not for them.

Attendance is the first step in measuring student success. Turning up for class shows that a student is motivated, able to manage their time, and consistent. These attributes lead to healthy student outcomes. Poor attendance is a sign that a student isn’t fully engaged and might need help.

While poor attendance is the first sign of a student who is in need, it is not the only sign. Test results, library attendance, access frequency to online documentation and attending college events collectively build a picture of student engagement and provide a more rounded view of student progress.

We are talking about helping students as soon as possible. We are talking about sitting down with a student, understanding their concerns and letting them know that help is at hand. We are talking about empathy, connection, and relationship building.

Software facilitates relationship building between at-risk students and advisors using digital signals to alert staff of problems. Students who do not seek help are merely young adults who have not yet learned how to ask for help.

SEAtS pull together a wealth of data, monitors progress, seeks out those most in need and delivers actionable insights for student success.


If you would like to boost first semester student retention rates, contact us at for a free discovery call.