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Supporting Students in Difficulty

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Support for students can be found in many different offices across the university. Here are some important resources to know about if you are looking for support for an undergraduate.

On this page: The Red Folder • Academic Concerns • Well-Being Concerns • Additional Resources

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The Red Folder

Stanford faculty and staff have a tremendous impact on student well-being. The Red Folder contains guidance on how to support students in distress and refer them to important support resources.

Academic Concerns

Connecting students to Academic Advising

Every undergraduate student at Stanford has an Academic Advisor ready to support them.  In most cases, this will be their assigned Undergraduate Advising Director (UAD) either in their residential neighborhood or in the Athletic Academic Resource Center.  The UADs send their students a newsletter each week, which includes information about advising resources and how to schedule an advising meeting.  

If your student is facing difficulties that impact their academics, we strongly encourage you to connect them with their assigned UAD.  UADs support students across a wide range of situations and challenges beyond simply choosing courses or picking a major.  

Not sure if a UAD can assist your student in a particular situation?  Check out our referral guide to learn more about the many scenarios in which a UAD can help.

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Click on the full screen icon to see a larger view, or visit the original publication link to our referral guide here.

Supporting Students with Academic Challenges

It is not uncommon for students to experience academic challenges. You may receive a notification that one of your advisees has been placed on an Academic Progress Status. You can learn more about the different statuses and what they mean here: Academic Progress Information.

Faculty advisors can be instrumental in supporting students who are not making satisfactory progress. So, what should you do if you are a major advisor for a student who is placed on an academic status? First, reach out to your advisee and ask for more information about how they are doing. If possible, request to meet with them in person to show support, refer to resources, and offer guidance. You can help to normalize struggle and encourage reflection.

Questions to ask might include: 

  • Are you doing the reading and attending class?
  • Do you go to office hours?
  • What do you think isn’t working?
  • Are there any resources you want to seek out to support your academics or your well-being?

If your student is unfamiliar with the support resources available at Stanford, encourage them to explore our list of free academic and tutoring resources, as well as our list of wellness resources across campus.  You may also want to use some of the reflection tools and worksheets available in our Advising Resource Toolkit.  

Academic Integrity Concerns

Some course instructors have questions or concerns about expectations for academic integrity.  The Office of Community Standards (OCS) receives inquiries and provides guidance with respect to the Stanford Honor Code and Fundamental Standard.  You can find tips for instructors and TAs on the OCS website.

Well-Being Concerns

If you are concerned about a student's physical or mental well-being, we strongly recommend consulting the Red Folder mentioned above.  In addition, you may reach out to the Student Support Team via phone, online, or through email:

  • For urgent situations, you may call the Dean On Call (DOC) at 650-504-8022. The DOC is accessible 24/7, and is responsible for providing immediate support, resources, and referrals to undergraduate students, staff, and faculty during a crisis and in emergency situations. 
  • For non-urgent student concerns, please fill out the secure online form here instead.  This allows the Student Support Team to keep the DOC phone line free for emergency situations only.  You may use the online form to report your concern to both the Dean of Students office and the student's Resident Director and Neighborhood Program Director.
  • For general inquiries, you may also email the Student Support Team at
  • Find out more at the Student Support Team website.

Additional Resources

These other offices may also be helpful to advisees in need of additional support: