Thursday, October 2, 2008

College Tutoring Services: Only One of Several Avenues for Getting Help

My September 22nd post was about how college tutoring is not a stigma and should be embraced as soon as a student feels he or she is falling behind. (See

The October 2nd Wall Street Journal Quick Fix column article “Keeping Up at College” by Beth Decarbo has some excellent advice for dealing with the problem of struggling with course material soon after the semester starts.

The solution, of course, includes utilizing college tutoring services. And there are additional avenues for getting help:

Harold Woodard, dean for student academic counseling at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, says that students should visit their professors during office hours for extra help and to demonstrate that the students are trying to learn the material.

And, yes, this does seem obvious, but for some reason it isn’t. Students often think that a professor’s office hours are for some much more important reason than a student having trouble with the material. Wrong! A professor’s office hours are precisely to help students having trouble with the material.

Woodard also mentions forming study groups early in the semester, and that there are websites that offer tutoring services, although there are fees for these services.

Woodard also talks about getting online study guides (some for free), but he believes that students should not rely on guides. According to the Journal, Woodard prefers “that students improve their critical-reading, critical-thinking skills with the texts they’ve been assigned for a term.”

This is excellent advice for your long-term success goals. Critical-reading and critical-thinking skills can help you throughout your life. If you learn these skills in college (where there’s a safety net to help you learn), you’ll be in a much stronger position for whatever career path you follow after college.

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