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Improving Study Skills 2013


How can my student improve his or her study skills?


Mitchell and Ashley Groke are regulars at the Paul L. Foster Success Center. They are non-traditional students, having served in the military before coming to Baylor to pursue their degrees; Ashley is a senior biology major, Mitchell a junior pre-biology major. After years away from school, they needed to readjust.

"When I first got here, I hadn't had math in seven years," Ashley said. "I knew I'd need help getting plugged in. I literally went every day -- for precal, chemistry, biology, everything."

"It's the sole reason I passed chemistry and calculus," her husband, Mitchell, added. "I started with tutoring for those classes, and then realized just how many programs Success Center offered. It's been a huge help. College is like anything, you get what you put into it."


We all know that the excitement and demands of college life can be a little overwhelming sometimes, and studying isn't always the priority that it should be. And often, when students are studying, they're not doing so as effectively as they could be.

Academic Support Programs is one of numerous departments at the Paul L. Foster Success Center that can help your student build habits that lead to success. Each student's individual needs are different, and Success Center staff members take the time to get to know your student and pinpoint the areas where they need development. To learn more about the importance of visiting the Success Center before problems arise, click here.

"High school and college are very different," Trish Baum, Resource Coordinator at the Success Center, said. "In high school you can do surface studying-main points and skimming. In college, you have to go deeper-so many different layers into the details. And then there is the social aspect, jobs and activities. It takes a different approach." (You can read more of Trish's thoughts on finding balance in the midst of college life by clicking here. link to "balance" section)

Baylor University offers numerous options to help students meet the challenges and excel in college, but these programs can't help if the student is unaware of them, or doesn't take the step to use them. Tutoring is one option for students, as well as Supplemental Instruction and mentoring. Trish explains the differences:


"A tutor sits down with you and helps you understand the concept of, let's say, calculus. They work with your student on their homework and specific questions they may have."

Supplemental Instruction (SI)

"Supplemental Instruction leaders have already taken a specific class and received an A in it. We pay them to sit in that class again, take notes and hear the lectures once again. SI leaders then lead students in a classroom setting and create worksheets, mock tests and pneumonic devices to break down the concepts into student terms. SI leaders make the processes of the classes they lead more understandable to students."


"An academic mentor is a graduate student, a seasoned student who verbally coaches your student one-on-one. We get the syallabi for all of their classes, make a calendar and guide them through the hard spots. Mentors help them build strategies to be successful. Often, students and mentors grow very close, and it's rewarding to see how students improve in their work and share that with their mentors." (You can learn more about mentors by clicking here)

"We want to help (your student) before they get in trouble," Trish said. "Encourage your child to get the help before they need it."


Another tool to help students match their habits with their desired outcomes is the MAP-Works assessment.

"MAP-Works is an assessment in the form of a survey that helps students see the difference between their academic goals and their behavior," Ron English, Academic Support Advisor, explained. "It asks questions about study habits, goals, social activity and even learns more about how much students miss home or are plugged into activities."

How many hours per week does a student study? MAP-Works takes that information and shows them how the amount of work they put in impacts the success they would like to have.

The assessment is available through October 5, and the results are processed in a report to the student.

"If I'm a parent, I'd like to see my child's results, if they would give them to me," English said. "Not to get into their business, per se, but to try to help my child by understanding their struggles to get insight into what they need."

Students who take the assessment and its suggestions seriously can find their grades and their overall experience enhanced.

"This helps strengthen your investment at Baylor," English said. "MAP-Works helps you know how to get the most out of that investment."