Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can counselling help me?

A Counsellor can help you clarify your educational and career goals and overcome barriers to your learning. A Counsellor will support you in your studies, help you learn to cope with change, recognize problems, and identify solutions. A Counsellor may recommend other resources, provide individual assistance for specific concerns, or suggest appropriate referrals.

2. Is counselling confidential?

Counsellors are governed by a Code of Ethical Conduct and Standards, requiring information disclosed by the student be held in confidence and released to others only with the student's written consent. Counsellors are only required to release confidential information if it is subpoenaed, if there is reasonable suspicion of abuse of children or vulnerable persons, or if the student presents a serious danger to self or others.

3. Why would an AU staff member suggest I speak with a counsellor?

Counsellors help with concerns or problems like study skills, time management, career indecision, and other factors affecting academic progress. Ask the staff member if you are unsure why you are being referred to Counselling Services. AU staff are committed to providing excellent student service and support, however it is your decision whether you choose to follow up on the recommendation.

4. I'm unclear about my career plans. Where do I start?

Start with Mapping Your Future: Your Career and AU Programs . This online assessment tool links your interests with career paths and AU programs. Counsellors can assist you at any stage of the career planning process, especially if you are unclear where to start. As an AU student, you also have access to the Career Cruising resource. Career Cruising provides assessment tools, goal and career exploration activities, as well as a résumé builder. Career Cruising can be accessed through the MyAU Portal.

5. I need help choosing a program

A Counsellor can help you decide on a program of study that is right for you based on your interests and goals. Complete the career self-assessment. Make an appointment with a counsellor if you are still uncertain which AU program is best-suited to your goals.

6. Does Athabasca University provide job placement?

No, most of our students work full or part-time while studying at AU. Counselling Services provides career research resources. See

7. How do I improve my study skills?

Studying is a learned behavior, and improves with practice. Good study habits provide a framework for organizing your time and energy. See our Study Skills resources on our website. Establishing effective study skills at the start of your program should be a high priority for you. As an AU student, you can contact a counsellor for further help with study skills.

8. I "go blank" during exams. Is there anything I can do about it?

If you find anxiety is preventing you from doing as well in exam situations, you may benefit from strategies for coping with exam anxiety. You may also wish to consult a counsellor.

9. I can't seem to focus on my studies. I have lost my concentration and motivation. Can counselling help?

Many students experience a slump at some point during their studies. Motivation can be rekindled by sorting out the problems or conflicts producing this state. A counsellor may help you understand your feelings, regain your focus, and develop strategies to help you achieve your goal.

10. I am behind in my studies. What can I do?

Many students experience some form of academic difficulty over the course of their studies. Distance learning requires considerable self-discipline and solid study habits. If something is interfering with your academic progress, contact a counsellor for help. See also the information regarding applying for an extension.

11. I am having difficulty communicating with my tutor.

Learning Services Tutorial address issues regarding tutor availability, technical problems, or compliance with academic service standards. Contact a counsellor for help in clarifying factors that may be interfering with other aspects of communication between you and your tutor.

12. I need information about the Master of Counselling program.

Contact the Faculty of Health Disciplines for more information about the Master of Counselling Program.

13. Who can help me select courses once I have decided on a program?

Once you have enrolled in a program, contact Undergraduate Advising Services for assistance with course selection to meet your program requirements. Counsellors may be able to help you clarify course options that better fit your personal interests or career path.