Remote student advising during a crisis

By Brian Lee 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, International Students and Scholar Services (ISSS) has moved to a remote advising system. This allows ISSS to comply with the California Department of Public Health’s stay at home order and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social distancing guidelines, as well as to continue to offer nearly all services to international students and scholars who cannot come to campus.

The stay at home order inevitably generated numerous obstacles for students and scholars to overcome such as visa issues, time zone differences for lectures, and program completion. To help alleviate these challenges, ISSS advisors quickly transitioned to remote advising.

“[Advising] is not in-person anymore but we are doing pretty similar things,” International Student and Scholar Advisor, Alisa Sweet said. “We are trying to offer more ways to stay accessible and stay connected with students and scholars as we all try to navigate these unusual times. There’s no face to face contact but we are remaining in contact and available as usual.”

Advisors have established new processes for connecting efficiently with students and have addressed Zoom’s security concerns. Many students have enjoyed the flexibility offered by submitting and processing everything online — the Google chat front desk function, in particular, is popular among students due to its convenience and accessibility.

“We are figuring out new ways to collaborate with other departments across campus,” Sweet said. “It’s required clear communication, not just with students and scholars, but also interdepartmentally as well. We want to make sure that if the students have any questions or concerns, or if they are struggling, we’re here to support them. And we’re here to answer their questions.”

Although the Global Engagement front desk is physically closed until further notice, students and scholars can still contact the front desk by phone (831.459.2858) and remote advising appointments are available via Zoom, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Another convenient option available for students is to chat with an advisor using Google Hangouts (

The International Student and Scholar Services website and Instagram page have the most up to date information on any changes. Updates will also be sent out to students and scholars via email.

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