Finding Academic Support on Campus During Finals Week

Now that term paper deadlines and final exams have arrived, savvy students have started heading to their campus center for academic support and help.

Here is some extremely useful advice on how to make the most of a visit there:

Ask anything.

“We work really hard to get students to ask ‘dumb questions,’” says James Black, director of the Center for Academic Achievement at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa. “The stigma of asking for help really gets in the way of helping students perform at the level they can; it’s what keeps B-minus students from being A students.”  When you’re not sure about something, you can always ask academic support.

Learn how to learn.

“Students need to be proactive in their approach to their learning,” says Amy Lahart, director of the Student Success Center at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pa. “Many students need to develop good active study habits. Reading the material is not sufficient. Engage with our center to learn ‘how to read a textbook’ or for ‘effective note taking methods.’”

Be ready to work.

academic_support“We don’t do ‘dry cleaning,’” says William Kelly, director of the Center for Writing Excellence at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla. “You can’t drop off your paper and come pick it up, all nicely pressed.” In other words, don’t expect them to do your work for you. “What we will do is help you with any aspect of the writing process, from figuring out the assignment to formatting the finished paper.”

Don’t forget your professors.

Don’t leave your professor out of the process, says Kelly. “Our consultants are drawn from all majors and can help with assignments from specific fields, but they still give feedback on composition, not content,” he says. “It’s a good idea to get feedback on the subject matter of your paper. And that’s best drawn from the professor.”

Come early…

See us when you get the assignment, not the day it is due, the experts say. “We hope students do not procrastinate, but we understand that they do,” says Lehart, which is why most academic support centers work hard to “help students engage with us before it’s too late.”

“First year students especially want to look like they know everything,” says Black, “But if you really want to know everything, you have to first admit you still have things to learn.  Come in when you get the assignment and talk to us about how to complete it.”

…and come often.

“Don’t expect everything to be taken care of in a single session,” says Kelly. Students can come in early to determine what the assignment is really getting at, to brainstorm topics, and to learn strategies for getting your thoughts out. “We recommend getting material down on paper and then worry organization and editing.”

Students can then come back for advice on proofing their work. “We don’t correct your paper for you,” says Kelly. “If a student has a problem with comma splices, for example, we might get out a handbook and talk about how to find those errors, maybe looking through the paper for examples, and talk about strategies for fixing those problems.”

Whatever your struggle, “come talk with us,” says Lahart. “We tell our students from orientation on that we provide personal attention they desire to ‘learn to succeed.”


What are the study skills you find to be most effective in getting you through the stresses of finals week? Comment & share below! 

And don’t forget to check out the rest of the articles on the StudentAdvisor blog for even more tips on great study skills that are the key to success in school!

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