Asking For Help September 2013

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When Should My Student Ask For Help?

"We see a big difference between the students who come here early and the ones who show up the night before a test," Tomas Chalimavicius observed from his seat in the lobby of the Paul L. Foster Success Center. Tomas, a senior at Baylor, is also a tutor, and he spends many hours working with Baylor students on subjects they want to master.

"We see a lot of students who come in saying they don't understand a class," Ellen Scott, also a senior and a tutor, added. "And then you ask some pretty basic questions and realize that it's really organizing, taking notes or even really little things that are the problem more than the class itself. We can help them with those things."

Tomas and Ellen have both noticed a trend during their time in the Success Center. The earlier a student asks for help, the better they do.

"The Success Center doesn't just have to be a fallback option," Tomas said. "It can be a difference maker for students willing to seek it out and put in the work."

Their boss nods in agreement, from personal experience. Approaching college with a sense of purpose makes a big difference.

"I was the type of student in college, I'd wait until Thanksgiving to ask for help," Steven Richard, Academic Support Advisor for Tutoring, quipped. "I had a hard time as a student at a traditional age. When I went back at a non-traditional age, I had quite a bit of success. So I understand the things that can help a student because of that."

Steven oversees the tutors at the Success Center, and has observed students of every different type make use of the available resources.

"We work with students who are struggling, to students who are reaching impressive heights," Steven said. "We also work with students who are just about there, but just need that little bit of help to go from struggling to successful."

Staff members from every department at the Success Center echo a common theme: come seek help early, and hit the ground running from the beginning. The Success Center has much to offer every Baylor student.

"Encourage your student to get the help before they need it," Trish Baum, Resource Coordinator, said. "Many students don't know of our resources until they're in trouble-they fail a test or their G.P.A. isn't what they want. We want to help before that happens." (To read more of Trish's comments on how a mentor can help your student find balance amidst college life, click here).

When your student takes the initiative to visit before they hit a rough patch, Success Center staff can help them isolate the issues that cause problems and work on them before they arrive.

"It seems like a lot of times, students will come in asking for tutoring because that's what they've heard of," Steven said. "As they become more candid, we learn more about the underlying issues. We look to know what they need help with. It could be more related to time management or roommate issues, and we can refer them to the appropriate resource. Sometimes what they think is the problem is just a symptom."

While good grades are often the main objective of students seeking in for help, Richard sees an exponential effect when students are proactive.

"We find that when you take care of things, it makes life more livable -- social, work, and all of that. There's plenty of opportunities here at Baylor, and that's why people want to be a Baylor Bear. When you figure out a good schedule to maintain consistency, you can avoid emergencies and enjoy everything else that much more."

How strong are your student's study habits? Are they plugged in to the Baylor community? They can learn more about themselves by taking the MAP-Works assessment through October 5. Learn more about MAP-Works by clicking here.