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College 101: How to Get The Help You Need

If you missed an assignment in high school, you probably heard, “that won’t fly in college.” Often, college professors are painted as aloof, unapproachable authoritarians who are practically eager to see you fail. The truth is that the staff and faculty actually want nothing more than for students to succeed.

The difference is that in college, students must be proactive in seeking out help. But it can be difficult to know where to turn for assistance when you’re in a new environment. In today’s College 101 feature, we help students navigate the range of available resources and get the help they need.


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Figure Out Your Challenges

Assistance
For many students, college is very different from high school. Living away from home for the first time and taking higher level classes can lead to stress and anxiety. If you start to feel overwhelmed, talking to someone is a good idea. Reach out to your professor or teacher’s assistant if you find you’re not performing well in a particular class. They’re content-matter experts and can help you understand the material more effectively.

On the other hand, if you’re falling behind in all your classes, your academic advisor might be a helpful resource. He or she can steer you in the right direction through more efficient course scheduling, study skills workshops or even tutoring. Tutoring centers are particularly useful if you’re having trouble in one subject area or need assistance with a specific assignment.


Know Your Options

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Depending on the size of your institution, seeking help could either mean visiting one student services office or a dozen different departments with varying specialties. Regardless of the school’s size, there are basic services you can expect to find on most campuses. An academic support center will have subject area tutors, writing instructors and group study sessions. This is great for helping you through a busy period of the semester, giving you a boost if you’re feeling behind and helping you manage large assignments.

The Dean of Students, or Student Life Office, is there to make sure you are living well on campus. Your personal well-being is their concern, especially when it begins to affect your studies. Residence Life is dedicated to making sure you have a good experience in the residence halls. If you have a close relation with your RA, that can be a good place to start.


Personal Help & Unique Situations

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Sometimes life is not as smooth as we would like. External circumstances such as injury, illness or a death in the family can have a drastic effect on your studies. For serious issues such as these, you should seek help from an administrator, who has the ability to make discretionary calls about your unique situation. The Dean of Students is equipped to handle these kinds of challenges and can work with other offices to coordinate any assistance you need.

Counseling services are also available at most schools should you require extra support. The majority of staff and faculty at any higher learning institution is there to help students be successful, happy and healthy. So if you need help, don’t be afraid to ask.