7 Things You Should Know About Homewood SOS

| November 16, 2020

SOS is a standard distress signal, a quick abbreviation that’s a nearuniversal way to ask for help.

For Johns Hopkins undergrads, the Office of Student Outreach & Support (aka SOS) is a place where students can get help for a variety of challenges they may experience. 

SOS staff, a part of the Office of the Dean of Student Life, is committed to assisting undergraduate students in successfully navigating the Homewood campus. 

The primary SOS point of contact for most students is a Case Manager. Case Managers help students manage physical and mental health concerns, personal and family emergencies, financial issues, and other obstacles that may arise during their college experience. They also provide resources and information to help students navigate university systems and policies while prioritizing wellness and academic success.  

Here are a few facts about SOS: 

  1. SOS has an Emergency Fund to help undergrads with unplanned expenses. They can help cover airline tickets, winter coats and boots, rent, medical expenses, and many other things. They can’t help cover tuition and fees.
  2. SOS isn’t therapy or counseling. While many students initially connect with the SOS office because of mental health concerns, Case Managers are not cliniciansCase Managers have the opportunity to develop close, helping relationships with students while coaching them toward appropriate self-care and self-advocacy. Self-advocacy is the ability to recognize your needs, speak up, and ask for help. Working with a Case Manager can be a great stepping stone for someone who might want to seek therapy but is not yet sure about doing so.
  3. SOS worked with 620 Homewood undergrads during the 2019-2020 school year. That’s approximately 14% of the population. Asking for help is normal!
  4. Learning how to self-advocate can be hard. Recognizing your needs and knowing where to go is half the battle, but asking for help and standing up for what you need can be intimidating. Case Managers help students learn what resources are available to them on campus and in the Baltimore community. The next step is to help connect the student to those resources and show the student how to advocate and ask for what they need. Case Managers often role play potentially hard conversations with students to help them practice for the real thing.
  5. Case Managers can help facilitate conversation between faculty and students. If you are having a unique challenge or special circumstance that needs to be communicated and you feel like you’re not getting through to your professor, SOS can help.
  6. Case Managers have great relationships with a variety of campus partners. Have a concern but not sure who to go to about it? Talk with a Case Manager who can make a warm introduction with the right person for you.
  7. You can connect directly to a Case Manager on the SOS website. Students are often referred to SOS by faculty or staff, but students can also connect to a Case Manager directly by scheduling on the SOS website. 

The transition to college, or any period during your college career, can be challenging. Whether there’s a change in your family’s financial situationa change in friend groups, a new health diagnosis, or new realizations about your identity, it’s nice to know you’re not alone in navigating these events. Case Managers in Student Outreach & Support are there to help with any situation students may face. Knowing you have people to support you can make navigating these challenges less lonely; please stop by the website and reach out to a Case Manager.