Hi friends! Today is the first installment in the Summer guest post series, brought to us from Alyssa over at Alyssa J Freitas. She’ll be talking with us today about a topic that I find so important: knowing how to ask for and seek out academic help when you need it.
Have you ever sat in class, staring at the board and wondering what in the world is going on? You glance around the room and everyone else seems to be getting it just fine, yet you couldn’t even say what it is you’re supposed to be learning. Yep, I’ve been there. We’ve ALL been there (anyone who tells you different is probably lying). Sometimes you realize right away when you need some academic help, and other times it’s far too late; like when you get a test back that counts for half of your grade and everything you thought you understood you apparently didn’t (#beentheredonethat). Today we’re going to discuss how to identify when you need academic help before it’s too late, and how to go about getting it.
Do you need academic help?
I’m here to tell you that the first step is acceptance. It can be hard to acknowledge that you aren’t understanding something to the level that you need to, but totally necessary. I like to test myself by attempting to do my homework and assignments without consulting my notes to determine if I am getting at least a basic working knowledge of the material in class. If you find that you are struggling with your homework it is definitely a sign that you need some extra help.
Another way to assess your grasp on material is to discuss it with classmates. If you can talk through what you are learning with someone else it’s a pretty good sign that you are doing well. If not, it is a good idea to address it now.
With some classes you’ll be lucky enough to be given quizzes, which are a great indication of if you need help. If that’s not that the case then you should seek out assessments online or even create your own. Lots of textbooks have companion sites that have corresponding quizzes. Take the extra time and put in the additional effort now to save yourself later down the road.
Ok, so you need academic help. Now what?
Let’s talk about your resources! You know how when you first started school someone told you a whole list of places you can go when you need help with x, y, and z? Well, now is the time to put that to use.
Going to your school’s tutoring center or center for academic success can be a great way to get help in a course. The process varies depending on schools, but the first step is to show up and ask what you need to do to get some assistance. It can be slightly intimidating to do so, but just remember that we all need a bit of help every now and then. Better to work on it than get back a grade you aren’t happy with.
Another way to go about addressing your difficulty is to go straight to your professor. This is ideal when you have a specific question or concentrated area that you need clarified. Going to office hours or setting up a meeting is the best way to do this (check out my post about office hours etiquette here!). This is the method I most often utilize that I love not only because it is helpful to understand the material but also because it demonstrates your effort to your professor and gives you a great starting point to build a relationship. Hello letters of recommendation!
A third strategy is to form a study group or ask a friend who has already taken the course and done well for some assistance. Just be careful with this method and ensure that whoever you are going to really understands the class and can effectively explain it to you.
As hard as it is to admit when you need help, it is so beneficial when you get the right assistance as soon as possible! Best of luck with your upcoming semester and be sure to bare in mind these tips when class starts.