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How to get the most out of an Academic Support Session

By Ciara Swan, Assistant Director, Writing Center 

Reaching out to a peer-tutor, academic adviser or professor can lead to a transformative learning experience. Here are some ideas from Pacific’s peer undergraduate writing consultants about how to get the most out of an academic support session. 

Tip #1: Come prepared to engage 

Aidan, a fourth-year economics and English double major, believes that students will get the most out of their academic support sessions by being attentive and actively engaging with their peer tutors:  

It’s important to have a dialogue where the student is contributing as much to the discussion of their work, if not more so than the consultant. That means students have new things to say about their work that are not regurgitations of the peer tutors or peer-consultants.

Action item: Take ownership of your time during academic support sessions. Come to your appointment prepared with questions and enough energy to remain attentive and aware.   

Tip #2: Set a goal for your session 

According to Taryn, a second-year English major, academic support sessions should be opportunities for students to engage in effective dialogue, to brainstorm ideas, and to set goals.

To do that, Taryn recommends clearly communicating your needs to your peer tutor: “There needs to be a clear understanding between the student and peer consultant about the ideas in the student’s work and what they want to accomplish with their work.”

Action item: Let your peer consultant know where you are on your assignment and what you would like to achieve in your session. It’s OK if you don’t know exactly what you need, but setting a goal at the beginning of your session will set the tone for a productive meeting. 

Tip #3: Take notes  

Taking notes is not only a great way to remember the advice and feedback you’ve received during your session, but it can also help you focus and stay present while working with your consultant. 

Action item: One undergraduate writing consultant suggests marking up a physical or digital copy of your work along the margins.  

Tip #4: Remember that we’re here to help! 

No student, much like no human, can do everything on their own. It is easy to get wrapped up in anxieties and/or about asking for help, but don’t forget that your peer tutor wants to help you succeed. Remember, peer tutors are not there to judge you. They want to be a comfortable resource and help unlock your ability.   

Action item: Visit our online hub to schedule an academic support session today!

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