Academic Support Services Helps Students Bring Their "A" Game

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When you’re trying to become fit, you hire a personal trainer. If you’re an athlete trying to improve your form and performance, you turn to a coach. The same is true with students’ academic performance at MCCN – and just like a good coach, Academic Support Services is here to support students in their classwork every step of the way, no matter if you’re a freshman or senior, and no matter whether you just want to stay on top of things for a class or if you’re struggling.

“You don’t have to be failing a class to use academic support – it’s there to support you,” said Kathy Fernandez, PhD, RN, Academic Support Services Coordinator.

Operating out of the Academic Support Room located in room 207 of the CLE, the program aims to create an area where students either can schedule individual one-time or ongoing appointments or participate in study groups and review sessions. Using a combination of faculty coaches and peer tutors, the program supports all grade levels and all courses. Graduating seniors can even get assistance preparing for the NCLEX exam. Academic Support Services publishes a calendar stating the hours the room is available for scheduled and drop-in assistance.

Just like with any other type of coaching, students should be prepared to bring their game to Academic Support sessions in the form of notes, handouts and/or a textbook and an idea of what they’re having trouble with, whether it is course content, test taking, note taking, writing skills, math skills or study skills. “It’s not a repeat of the lecture,” Fernandez said.

Some indicators you might want to seek Academic Support include:

  • Taking too many or not enough notes in class
  • Need to become more organized or proficient with studies
  • Poor exam performance
  • Poor study skills

Academic Support provides the best resources available to help students succeed. In addition to faculty coaches, peer tutors participate in the program to help fellow students perform their best. Generally, peer tutors are one class year ahead of students seeking coaching and are recommended by faculty to tutor specific classes based on their proficiency with the particular class or subject. Having walked in the coached students’ shoes, peer tutors know what the course is like and can provide advice.

Academic Support Services also provides assessments to help students determine their areas for improvement and online writing support for papers and projects; students are simply required to send their material for review no later than one week before the particular project is due to receive feedback and assistance.

“We can look at what you studied versus what you missed on an exam and help you improve your studies. We can also help you prioritize subject matter and even determine if it’s the type of question on the exam that is causing difficulty,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez urges that Academic Support is for everyone, and not just those in crisis situations. “Don’t think it can’t happen to you. Don’t be afraid to seek help. An assessment can improve skills or verify the areas you need help,” she advised.

Consistently, Academic Support Services has found that study groups and one-on-one tutoring can improve performance by one full letter grade.

However, Fernandez also warns against waiting until late in the game to seek help. “We’re not the last ditch stop. Seek help before the issue becomes one that you can’t recover from because there aren’t enough possible points left in the course,” she said.

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