Advising Special Populations of Students
Each year, Texas Tech has a population of students who have a different set of circumstances in life then those who attend straight from high school, these are cared Non-Traditional Students. Non-Traditional Students can be defined from a number of backgrounds:
- Delays enrollment (does not enter higher education in the same calendar year that he/she finished high school);
- Attends part time for at least part of the academic year;
- Works full time (35 hours or more per week) while enrolled;
- Is considered financially independent for purposes of determining eligibility for financial aid;
- Has dependents other than a spouse (usually children, but sometimes others);
- Is a single parent (either not married or married but separated and has dependents); or
- United States Military Veterans
These students often have special requirements, concerns, and constraints on their time that separate them from the traditional students. They often need help developing a sense of community as well as help with specific concerns such as housing, day care, career planning, and social networking.
Advising transfer students can present many challenges. Students may be either ahead or behind in course sequences compared to the Texas Tech students in their class. They should be advised about strategies of how to schedule their work with their school. These students will most likely have to plan the "big picture" of their academic program and may require more of your assistance.
Initial transfer credit evaluations are handled by the Registrar Office transfer coordinator.
Students in Academic Difficulty
Students with Probationary or Suspension status are often those most in need of careful advising. Paradoxically, these are the students least likely to seek out their advisors or to follow through on the advice received. Many students in academic difficulty lack specific skills such as time management, proper study habits, or self-discipline.
The Counseling Center in addition to psychological counseling and development, can provide academic support such as help with study skills, and motivation and work-pattern assessment. If a student's desire for assistance leaves you feeling uncomfortable or if you find yourself unsure of how to respond, you can refer the student to the Counseling Center. The Counseling Center is located on the second floor of the Student Wellness Center.
Students With Disabilities
Texas Tech in compliance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) has established Student Disabilities Services, located on the third floor of West Hall. Student Disability Services coordinates services and provides advocacy and support to students with documented physical, learning, and psychological disabilities. They also coordinate the TECHniques Center which provides an assigned advisor, tutoring services, and skills training to students enrolled in the program.
A learning disability is a disorder that affects the manner in which individuals take in, retain, and express information. It is commonly recognized as a significant deficit in one or more of the following areas: oral expression, basic reading skills, reading comprehension, mathematical calculation or problem solving. Individuals with learning disabilities also may have difficulty with sustained attention, time management or social skills.
Federal regulations mandate "reasonable accommodation" for students in the same way that they mandate curb cuts and rammed entrances to classroom buildings for physically disabled students. In order to qualify for accommodations at Texas Tech, a student must provide appropriate documentation as outlined by the Association of Higher Education and Disabilities (AHEAD). This documentation is then reviewed by Texas Tech's Disability Services Consultant and accommodations are made based on that review. When accommodations are appropriate, the student then meets with the Student Disabilities Services Coordinator and is advised of the accommodations.
The student is given a "Letter of Accommodation Request Form" which indicates which accommodations or modifications have been determined to be appropriate, such as time extensions for exams or outside of classroom testing. The student is responsible for meeting with instructors to discuss how the accommodation provisions will be implemented.
Texas Tech has approximately 1,200 nonimmigrant undergraduate and graduate students, in addition to more than 225 international scholars. All new students can experience feelings of loneliness and homesickness during the first days at Texas Tech. But for international students the emotional discomfort that comes as a result of separation is exacerbated by the cultural adjustment. Language, food, social behavior, nonverbal communication, and academic expectations are but a few of the challenges which international students face as they make their adjustment to Texas Tech.
The challenge in advising international students is to understand that they have common concerns both socially and academically, but at the same time, each international student has his or her own specific questions and concerns. Texas Tech's International Cultural Center office provides orientation, counseling, and services to international students and scholars in immigration, financial, personal and cross-cultural issues. The international student advisor (located in the International Cultural Center) is also available to assist you as an academic advisor if you have questions or concerns pertaining to an international advisee of yours.