May 30, 2018

No more no-shows at career counseling appointments

As a career services counselor, you might let students book appointments with you in order to help them find their dream career. Sometimes, they don’t show up to these meetings.

Don’t feel too aggravated! The good news is, they weren’t planning on not showing up when they booked the appointment. Which means you can easily get them right back into your office, by understanding why they didn’t come and adding these 3 easy fixes to your appointment booking system.

When they forget the appointment

This is the most common reason why students won’t come to a career counseling appointment. They know that you are there to help them, and they really want to benefit from it. The only thing is, they were doing something else and didn’t show up. Just because they forgot about the appointment. Reminding them about it can make a world of difference!

Students don’t necessarily have the habit of adding every meeting to their calendar, especially if the school sends them their weekly programme and they use this as their planning. A calendar invite on their institutional email is still a must, but maybe not enough. The best way to remind them to come to the appointment is via an institutional mobile app, sending them a push notification before their appointment. If you don’t have the technical means to do so, then an email will work very well too. All these notifications should include a reminder of where and when the appointment will take place, as well as a list of what the student needs to bring, for example a CV, a cover letter, or grade transcripts.

Don’t hesitate to send several reminders: one the day before and one an hour before, for example. And of course, in these reminders, ask them to tell you if there’s a last-minute problem that prevents them from coming.

When they can’t make it at all

Sometimes, life happens, things get in the way. Whether it be an emergency trip at the hospital or a sudden realisation that they won’t pass their math finals if they don’t spend the day practicing, now is just not the right time for the student to come to your office.

In this case, the best thing to do is to make it easy for the student to change their appointment time. If you have a system that lets them easily select another time slot, then good – we’ll also see in the next section that allowing them to delete the appointment is a good idea.

If you don’t have a platform that lets them cancel their appointment or move it, it’s fine: you’ll want to provide an email address where they can easily reach out to you. Add a little line in your appointment confirmation email, asking them to remember to reschedule if they can’t make the meeting. This can do wonders!

When they think they don’t need the appointment anymore

Let’s say you book an appointment at the doctor’s because of a bad headache. If the headache goes away on its own, will you keep the appointment? The same way, a student who found the answer to their problems can cancel on you for a good reason. Don’t feel bad about it: in the worst of cases, the student will book another meeting if doubt settles in again.

Again, make sure you give your students an option to cancel the meeting before it happens, so that this time is not lost for yourself and for other students. If it’s in your booking platform, great. If it’s not, a quick “please send an email to [your email address] if you need to cancel the meeting” in your appointment confirmation email will do the trick.

In order to minimise no-shows at counseling appointments, there are three things you can do. First, send a reminder so students can’t forget the meeting. Second, know that some students can’t show up at all, and give them an easy way to re-book their appointment. Finally, make sure that students who found an answer on their own can cancel their appointment, so that you don’t waste time waiting for them.

Posted by
Lexane Sirac
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