Tutoring Center promotes academic success

Photo by Monica Jamison

Hard as it may be to hear, winter break is over. The semester has been proceeding for three weeks now and is here to stay. The Center for Academic Success aims to help students cope with that realization through a variety of programs designed to help students stay on top of their coursework.

Programs include 1-to-1 Tutoring, PLUS Sessions and the Commons Helpdesk, as well as lesser-known academic recovery programs like Reboot and Academic Coaching. The Center also collaborates with several other tutoring services including the CommLab, OMED and others.

Assistant Director Christy Lock emphasizes that many of these programs are not only for students who feel they are falling behind but also for students looking to get ahead. She believes the programs help “develop transferable study skills” that allow students to truly understand and learn material.

The Director of the Center for Academic Success, Dr. Shannon Dobranski, agrees.

“Students are sometimes reluctant to visit the center because they think it is an indication they can’t succeed, when in fact it is just the opposite – students consulting us make their performance even better.”

Last fall, 1-to-1 Tutoring saw approximately 2,380 appointments, while PLUS sessions assisted over 1,700 students from August through October. The 1-to-1 Tutoring program allows students to, as the name suggests, discuss problems and subject matter one-on-one with a tutor.

Tutors are students who have already taken the course in which they are tutoring and received an  “A,” after which they are certified and trained through the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA). Those who utilize 1-to-1 Tutoring can rest assured that the tutors are competent and knowledgeable.

Tutoring is a popular option because, as Lock puts it, it allows students to “develop relationships with tutors” that better enable them to study and learn. Unsurprisingly, Math 1502 is one of the most common subjects requested for tutoring help. About 100 courses are accessible in total through 1-to-1 Tutoring.

An alternative to the one-on-one model, PLUS sessions provide a group environment in which to study. Short for Peer-Led Undergraduate Study, Lock considers each PLUS session as a “safe space for collaboration and talking through concepts.” She notes that PLUS has been more popular since they moved to the Clough building, likely due to their easier accessibility and the increased awareness the building provides.

The Commons Helpdesk is more informal. Students can swing by anytime during the Helpdesk’s hours for homework help and more.

However, Lock cautions against waiting until homework is due before coming to the Helpdesk: “Come often and come early, I cannot stress that enough.”

Dobranski echoes the sentiment, believing that it is beneficial for students to know that they are “not the only ones struggling in classes,” especially students utilizing Academic Recovery Programs.

One such program is Reboot, a six-week seminar that helps students master study skills, learn their learning styles and set goals. Academic Coaching is also available to meet one-on-one with a professional staff member and come up with an individualized game plan for the semester.

The Center for Academic Success invites students to reach out if they are having difficulty finding a tutoring service that meets their needs. The Center is located in Suite 283 in the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons.

If students are interested in becoming tutors for Fall 2015, applications are anticipated to open in March.