Early Alert & Thrive Information for Employees

The Early Alert & Thrive program connects students with resources and supports they need. This program simplifies the referral process, making it easier for faculty and staff to connect students to campus services. Additionally, it aids faculty in assisting students to develop the necessary learning and personal skills to excel in their academic pursuits. 

"Early support" programs have become a best practice in many colleges and universities across Canada and the US. Several other Canadian institutions, such as UBC, Ryerson University, Mount Royal University, and the University of Calgary, also implement early support and early alert programs. 

The creation of an early support system was a priority outlined in CNC's Institutional Health & Wellness Strategy. CNC's Early Alert & Thrive program is a custom system developed by CNC Student Services, an "Early Support Committee," and an "Early Alert Committee." These groups consist of staff, faculty, Students' Union representatives, and educational administrators who tailored the program to fit the CNC context. 

The Process

Before referring a student, if possible, have a conversation with them about the referral beforehand. See below for information on how to talk to students about Early Alert & Thrive.

Step 1: Refer a Student

Students can be referred by CNC employees, faculty members, Student Union representatives, or campus housing advisors. Log in to CNC Connect or fill out the Manual Referral Form to refer a student.

Step 2: Referral Reviewed

The referral is reviewed by a staff member in the identified service area.

Step 3: Services Offered

A CNC staff member assists the student to book an appointment with the service area that best fits their needs.

Step 4: Appointment is Booked

If the student confirms they would like to access services, the staff member who contacted them helps them book appointment(s) with the service area they both feel will best fit the student’s needs.

Step 5: Student works with resources on their goals

The student works with campus or community resources toward their goals.

How to Talk to Students about the Early Alert & Thrive Program

Before you refer a student, if possible, have a conversation with the student about the referral beforehand. It’s helpful to emphasize to the student that they’re not in trouble but that Early Alert & Thrive is an additional resource on campus to connect them with services to support them with their academic and personal goals. Students often appreciate knowing you are concerned for their well-being and about getting them connected with supports. 

If you want to share information about the program with your students, feel free to use the paragraph below:

"Throughout the school year, unexpected challenges and difficulties may arise in various aspects of life—be it at home, work, or school—that can impact your studies. It's essential to remember that life happens! In such cases, I (or other CNC staff) may refer you to Early Alert & Thrive, a voluntary program designed to connect you with campus services and resources. These supports are aimed at helping you succeed personally and academically while also developing valuable skills that extend beyond your post-secondary journey."  

Check out our guide on how to have a supportive conversation with a student.   


Signs of a Student in Distress


  • Decline in quality of work and grades
  • Repeated absences
  • Disorganized performance
  • Multiple requests for extensions
  • Avoidance of participation
  • Overly demanding of faculty and staff time and attention
  • Personal rather than academic issues dominate office hours
  • Unusual or out of character content in writings or presentations


  • Reports nausea or headaches
  • Problems with excessive eating or restrictive eating
  • Engages in excessive exercise
  • Listlessness or falling asleep in class, signs of fatigue or sleep disturbance
  • Marked changes in physical appearance including deterioration in hygiene, weight loss/gain
  • Disoriented or appearing “out of it”
  • Signs of substance use (memory problems, slurred speech, drowsiness,
    confusion, lack of coordination)


  • Binge eating or restrictive eating
  • Excessive exercise
  • Changes in relationships or social behaviour (withdrawal, isolation, or
  • Irritability or unusual apathy
  • Unusual behaviour (unexplained crying or excessive teariness, panic reactions, laughing to self, rapid speech, disorganized thinking, suspiciousness)
  • Unusual/disproportionate emotional response to events
  • Self-disclosures of personal stress such as family problems, financial
    difficulties, contemplating suicide, grief


  • Unprovoked anger or hostility
  • Verbal abuse
  • Physical violence
  • Implying or making a threat to harm themselves or others
  • Stalking or harassment
  • Communicating threats via e-mail, texting, or phone calls
  • Expressions of concern about the student by peers
  • Academic assignments are dominated by themes of extreme hopelessness, rage, worthlessness, isolation, despair, violent behaviours, or suicidal ideation

Frequently Asked Questions

Thrive FAQ

  • Will Early Alert & Thrive program information show up on a student’s transcript or academic record?

  • Do students have to participate in the Early Alert & Thrive program?

  • How does this program benefit faculty and staff?

  • If I submit a referral, is the student notified?

  • How can I access the Early Alert & Thrive program?

  • Do other post-secondary institutions have similar programs?