How to Practice Self Advocacy as a College Student

Posted: October 11, 2022 | Author: Abbie Cochrane | Read Time: 3 minutes

Self AdvocacyGoing to college is one of the best places to learn life skills that are applied everywhere, even outside the classroom. Making doctor’s appointments, scheduling a time to take the car into the shop, and talking to professors and advisors are all useful life skills. As scary as it seems, figuring out how to do these things can set students up for a lifetime of success, problem-solving, and peace in knowing that the best kind of growth happens just outside their comfort zone.

The Basics - What is Self Advocacy?

The most common kind of self-advocacy students will have to do in college is talking to their advisors, professors, and other people they interact with on campus. As much as faculty and staff wish students could learn via osmosis, they can’t read minds, so learning to communicate with them effectively is key to your success. It sounds difficult, but it is a whole lot easier than it sounds. It all starts with understanding the problem. What’s going on? Are there any limitations that are affecting your academic performance? What exactly are your key concerns? Is there a solution or a compromise that can be put into effect?

Four Ways to Practice Self Advocacy in College

Schedule an Appointment with a Professor

Every professor has office hours, so ask them to spend some time helping you. If their office hours are at an inconvenient time, try emailing them the problem or chatting after class for a second. It is also an option to call and schedule an appointment with an advisor.

Schedule an Appointment with Your Advisor

Each student is assigned an advisor based on where their last name falls in the alphabet. Go to the mySUU portal and click Degree works to see which advisor is listed, or visit the student success advisor's website and select the college to see the advisors who are a part of that department. Advisors can help formulate schedules, switch or drop classes, advise with career paths, and so many other things!

Schedule an Appointment with Career Services

Another resource is on-campus career services. The SUU Career and Professional Development Center provides many resources to help students take charge of their future professional lives. With resources to help formulate a resume, apply for an on-campus job, settle on a major or career path, and more, students can receive the extra help they need as they start their professional careers. Students can also turn to other job-oriented websites like LinkedIn and Handshake to help them find jobs along the lines of their interests and past work experiences.

Schedule an Appointment with CAPS

Counseling services are also available to help students work out their problems with a professional counselor. SUU Counseling and Psychological Services is an on-campus office where students can discuss their feelings and problems with a counselor. If coming in person is a little too daunting, students are more than welcome to schedule an online consultation.


The best way for students to practice self-advocacy is to put themselves in a position that requires them to self-advocate. Schedule that appointment, pop into a professor’s office hours, anything that requires that air of confidence and know-how to get through the hard things and find a solution. The most important thing to remember is not to be nervous! There are so many people on campus who prioritize the success of every student that attends SUU in the classroom and beyond, even after graduation. Understanding that a student’s voice is their most powerful tool for success and determining which path they will take is the first step to implementing self-advocacy in college and self-advocacy in life.

Tags: Student Life

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