University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota


Personal and Academic Counseling

What Distinguishes Counseling from Advising?

ISSS counselors are trained to provide both counseling and advising. But what is the difference? Advising usually means providing information and advice. ISSS counselors provide advising on immigration issues, financial aid resources, and general questions about navigating your way through the University. Counseling usually involves a more in-depth meeting. The ISSS counselor will listen, provide support, help you understand yourself and your situation more clearly, encourage you to set goals and to make changes that you deem necessary.

Why Should I see a Counselor?

Many students, both international and U.S., experience academic and personal difficulties while working on their degrees. This is due to many reasons including dealing with a new academic system, a new culture, pressure to succeed, a change in role, a change in financial situation, your first romantic relationship, and the first time being away from home. If you feel like you need someone to talk to, ISSS advisers are trained to help you.

It is important to note that personal and academic problems can lead to problems with your visa status. Be sure to seek help early, as soon as you think you might be having difficulties. Some of the issues international students and scholars have discussed with ISSS counselors include :

    Personal Issues:

  • cross-cultural adjustment
  • intercultural friendships and dating
  • family conflicts or pressures
  • roommate conflicts
  • personal crisis
  • depression
  • suicidal thoughts
  • anxiety
  • racial harrassment
  • ethnic harrassment
  • religious harrassment
  • sexual harrassment
  • sexual orientation harrassment
  • sexual assault
  • unwanted sexual advances
  • childhood sexual abuse

    Academic Issues:

  • low or failing grades
  • time management
  • lack of motivation
  • difficulty concentrating
  • conflict with instructor
  • conflict with academic advisor
  • conflict with academic department or college

Please note: ISSS advisers are not trained to help students choose courses or plan degree programs, please see your academic adviser for assistance with these matters.

Advocacy Issues:

ISSS staff also provides advocacy for students and scholars who want to file a grievance, have a grievance filed against them, or have been discriminated against or harrassed.

Career Issues:

ISSS staff can also provide assistance on career-related issues such as choosing a field of study, searching for a job, writing a resume, and preparing for a job interview. For more information, go to Career Support for International Students

ISSS counselors offer safe, confidential counseling. Your right to privacy will be protected. We will listen, provide support, offer suggestions for how to improve your situation, and make appropriate referrals to other University offices, as needed. To make an appointment with an ISSS adviser/counselor, please call (612) 626-7100.