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Looking for a college: tutoring services September 11, 2011

Posted by mareserinitatis in education, teaching, Uncategorized.
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This week, I’m covering a lot general information about studying with my students.  One thing I’m going to discuss with them is tutoring services.  NDSU has a fantastic tutoring service available to all undergrads, free of charge.  It’s available most days from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.  Specific tutors keep differing schedules, however, so you do need to check when tutoring for a particular course is available.  This has been scaled up since I was a student.  Back then, it was evening sessions during certain nights of the week.

Looking at this made me sad, however, as it brought back an unfortunate memory.

When I was TAing a couple years ago, I had a student who was really struggling.  He was an older-than-average, minority student (a double whammy).  He had a fantastic personality, obviously carrying with him a real joie de vivre, but he had an emotional outburst during class one day.

He really felt like he couldn’t make it in the class.  He started getting very upset and agitated.  He stood up and told me loudly that he was just going to leave.  I talked him down and said that I was sure we could figure things out together.  Then I worked with him for a few minutes to get him over the hurdle he’d encountered.

I honestly think the real problem was self-confidence, but I can’t fix that.

We talked after class, and I suggested he come to my office hours.  His schedule and mine didn’t work well, however, so he said that he wanted to get a tutor.  I was new at the time, and I wasn’t sure what was available on campus for tutoring.  I said I would find out and get back to him.

I spoke to the instructor of the course, and he told me that he would find an undergraduate major whom the student could hire for a tutor.  I was simply appalled.  The student is paying an incredibly huge amount of money for his education, and he wasn’t being provided with tutoring services.  He was going to have to pay for it out of pocket.  It seemed unfair because this obviously put my student at a disadvantage: I’m pretty sure he had no pocket money for tutors.

Through time, I have been at a top-rated university, a couple state universities, and a California community college.  Every one of them except this place had tutoring services in one form or another.  The tutoring services were available free of charge to students…even at the top-rated place.

I guess I took for granted that those services were available everywhere.  Obviously, however, I was wrong, so I think it’s important to look into what support services are available when making a decision on where to attend college.

I’m very sad to say that my student ended up dropping the course.  I honestly think it was avoidable, and I have worried about him ever since.

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1. zane - September 29, 2011

http://it.umn.edu/students/lowerdiv/tutors/walkin.html

For specific subjects, it might be best to find a tutor in that major and meet with him/her during their scheduled hours in Lind Hall. Free of charge.

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