When struggling with a subject in high school, you might have looked for a local tutor to help clear up the confusion. And it was safe to say that the tutor was either a local college student, or recent college graduate.
So, what happens in college when you are struggling with your coursework? Who tutors the college kids? Who offers to the opportunity to proofread your 20-page research paper a few days before you need to turn it in? Who offers the opportunity to take un-timed exams if you have a documented learning disorder?
All of these things happen when you take advantage of your college’s Center for Academic Excellence / Writing Center. These places are usually located somewhere within the caverns of your school’s library (which should become one of your top-5 places you could be found, during any given day, while in college), and should be put to use immediately. Below you are just a few of the services these places offer, in addition to pertinent advice on how to take advantage of the many academic resources available in college
- Peer Tutoring
Usually the kids who displayed exceptional academic performance in introductory level classes (ie Politics 101, Chemistry 101, etc…), will be asked by their professors to either serve as teaching assistants or peer tutors, as these folks demonstrated that they clearly understood and dominated the coursework. Put their phone numbers in your Iphone / Blackberry/ Google phone and make sure you know their availability. Heck, why not treat them to lunch. The point is, these are students who are volunteering their time (though some schools have programs where these individuals are paid for their services), to help you better understand that uber difficult physics problem that you are guaranteed to see again (in a varied form) on your upcoming midterm.
Peer Advisors can point out the missing logical gaps in your 10 page research paper and potentially save you from receiving a lower grade on the assignment (this happened to me on many occasions). Take advantage of these folks, as they are clutch when you cannot wait for a professor to reply to your questions via e-mail or when you missed your prof’s office hours and are looking for another source to resolve your academic problems.
- Attend Office Hours!!
Your professors in college do not want to see you fail. IF that were the case, then why would anyone get pumped up about the idea of 4 more years of learning, with the notion that your professors are setting you up for an abysmal academic experience? All sarcasm aside, visiting your professor during office hours is a great time to get an essay prompt clarified, or to chat with them about a potential career within a given major. As Erhardt shared on Wednesday, it is recommended that you build a relationship with a professor whose class you found intellectually stimulating or perhaps a professor who shares similar passions. Such a relationship will open many doors once post college life begins.
- Explore Testing Options
Many colleges are flexible when it comes to accommodating the academic needs of students who have documented learning disorders. In most cases, you simply need to speak with the Writing Center’s supervisor explaining the nature of your specific situation. From there, this individual will inquire with your professors how they can go about making accommodations to suit your needs. This may take a bit more persistence at a bigger university, but is certainly not out of the question.
Lastly, find a place to study other than the main library (unless you plan on attending a large university such as Cal, UCLA, etc, where the libraries look like 15th century churches transplanted straight from Madrid and are generally, very awesome looking with stunning interiors). At smaller schools, the library becomes a chatty nightmare during finals week. Look to take advantage of academic buildings during these crazy times, as their enormous whiteboards will save you the frustration of having to cross-out, tear, and destroy many sheets of paper as you attempt to nail that calculus problem that looks oh so daunting. These same classrooms tend to have great sound systems; why not listen to your Passion Pit channel on Pandora, while cramming for that final midterm of your college career.