So I have a meeting with the dean of my school later today. He's a really nice guy, and thinks pretty highly of me (so he's told me, on multiple occasions).

We need to talk about the past semester, where I didn't do so well in some important classes. I saw a psychiatrist last week, who diagnosed me with ADD and secondary depression, and I think it's important for the dean to be aware of those issues.

I'm still getting used to the whole mental health situation, but I have no idea how to talk about it. What are some things that I can say to communicate this effectively?

I'm looking for some example sentences or templates because I have no clue how to go about this.

  • I hope the meeting went well; best wishes for the future. If things went well, and you used a method of your own, consider writing up an answer. That way, you can help future users who may have a similar problem. This is an excellent question, and I hope your situation improves.
    – HDE 226868
    Jul 25, 2017 at 21:45
  • I agree with others that the dean is used to this. If you're in the US, you should also contact your office for students with disabilities. They should be able to help you. Good luck! The diagnosis is the first step toward feeling better. Aug 9, 2017 at 2:30
  • @Samuel I'm so sorry you have depression, please keep seeing your doctor until it's fully treated and beyond. I hope you feel better
    – SAH
    Aug 11, 2017 at 21:20

2 Answers 2


This is the dean's job; he's probably good at it. If you try to express yourself and do it badly, that's ok, you can back up and say it again another way. The dean will ask you questions and help you to explain yourself. You can start with simple facts:

  • I didn't do well in A and B class
  • I saw a psychiatrist
  • The psychiatrist says X
  • I wanted you to know the diagnosis and that I think my performance in those classes is because of it

(If you're worried that nerves or anxiety might keep you from remembering all these points, bring in a small notebook and write these items on a page. The book might also be useful to write down things the dean tells you.) After communicating these 4 points, let the conversation happen.

One thing I would advise you to prepare, if you can, is an idea of what you want. Do you want some time off to recover, and then resume your studies? Do you want a chance to improve your marks in those courses and not have bad marks on your record later? Do you want some help from the department in your university that helps students with special needs (the disabled, the ill, those with processing disorders etc)? If you have an idea what you would like to ask the dean for, that may make it easier when he asks "how can I help you with this?"

  • 6
    "How can I help you with this?" is the question you must be prepared to answer. You can't just simply "I've got X" and just leave, hoping him "get informed" of your diagnosis.
    – Vylix
    Jul 24, 2017 at 22:48

Here is how I'd go about a meeting, thinking back to times I didn't do as well in college as I could have:

  • I know I should be doing better, but I'm not. And it's not because I'm partying.
  • I don't want to use this as an excuse.
  • I need your help with this, and if you have any literature I should read before we meet in the future, let me know. If there are any other ways I should prepare, or notes I should take, let me know.
  • Is a follow-up necessary? What is the best use of your time when meeting with students?
  • Should I have a list of goals before starting the next semester?

I hope it went well. It looks like the meeting is over now. But a follow-up email saying thanks for the dean's time asking what you can do to make your next meeting happier seems like a good idea, too.

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