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Evanston Campus Access

Option 1: Same Day Access (SDA)


Same Day Access is a drop-in service available to students on the Evanston campus where they can meet with an on-call counselor to address any mental health concern. Same Day Access is the easiest way to get started at CAPS because all you need to do is walk or call in!

Same Day Access Hours/Location
Appointments are also available via Zoom. To schedule a Zoom appointment, please call us at 847-491-2151 from a private space.
Same Day Access FAQ's

Can I book an SDA in advance?

Same-day access functions more like an urgent care center than scheduled appointments, so these meetings cannot be scheduled in advance. Students will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis. Students may experience a wait time if they drop in during Same Day Access hours. To check the current wait time, please call the CAPS front desk at 847-491-2151. 

How long will this appointment take?

We don’t have a limit on how long your same-day meeting can last, but we do recommend that you are available for at least an hour and a half to complete paperwork and have adequate time to meet with a counselor. 

Can I complete the SDA paperwork in advance?

No, paperwork for a same-day access meeting must be completed right before the student meets with a counselor. 

Can an SDA be virtual?

Yes! Remote SDAs are available through Zoom and have the same confidentiality as in-person appointments. Please contact the CAPS front desk at 847-491-2151 for more information.  

Is SDA only for crisis situations?

Absolutely not! Same Day Access can be used to address any mental health concern, big or small. The most common reason students come in during Same Day Access is for an Initial Assessment, but students also use it for one-off meetings outside of their usual scheduled times with a CAPS counselor, to consult about a friend, crisis appointments, and many more reasons. 

If you are only looking for a referral to an outside provider, we recommend calling the CAPS front desk at 847-491-2151 and scheduling a Care Coordination meeting instead of coming in during our Same Day Access hours.  

Can I come in during Same Day Access hours if I have an Initial Assessment booked?

You can come in for Same Day Access if you have an initial assessment scheduled for a later date, but your initial assessment appointment will be canceled. 

What should I do if the SDA times don’t work with my schedule?

Call the CAPS front desk at 847-491-2151 for assistance scheduling an appointment. 

There are several ways a Northwestern student can access mental healthcare outside of CAPS’ normal business hours. Our after-hours phone service is always available, and students can access it by calling the CAPS main line at 847-491-2151 and pressing “0” at the menu. 

CAPS is also partnered with TimelyCare, which offers their 24/7 TalkNow service where students can connect with a counselor. To learn more about TimelyCare and TalkNow, visit their website here

Option 2: Scheduled Initial Assessment

Students must be in the state of Illinois for all clinical appointments, so please make sure to schedule an Initial Assessment at a time when you will be in Illinois.

An Initial Assessment is your first meeting with a CAPS counselor where you will explore your mental health concerns and your hopes for support. Every student who wants to get started with recurring sessions at CAPS must first have an Initial Assessment. Please note that an Initial Assessment is an intake appointment; if you are looking for a community referral, call the CAPS front desk at 847-491-2151.

For students enrolled in classes on the Evanston Campus, click here to schedule an Initial Assessment. If no times on the online scheduler work for you, please consider dropping in during our Same Day Access hours.

Scheduled Initial Assessment FAQ's

What should I expect during my Initial Assessment?

  • Your initial assessment will take approximately 45 minutes. This meeting will take place over Zoom.
  • Before your initial assessment, you will be asked to complete intake paperwork, which is sent to your email the morning of your appointment. This paperwork will provide your therapist with context about what services you’re looking for and help focus your discussion. This paperwork is mandatory and must be completed before your appointment.
  • If your Initial Assessment is virtual, please make sure to secure a private meeting space for your appointment. If you need assistance, call the CAPS front desk at 847-491-2151.
  • During your initial assessment, you will meet in a confidential space with a CAPS therapist who will guide you through an initial assessment. Your clinician will ask follow-up questions to get a sense of who you are, identify your concerns and challenges leading you to seek help, and understand your hopes for support. Toward the end of the meeting, your clinician will review options for addressing your concerns and their recommendations for you, and you will make a collaborative plan to get you connected with resources that best meet your needs.
  • If you have any questions, please call the CAPS front desk at 847-491-2151.