Time away from home allows college students to discover new-found independence. Students are now responsible for going to class, managing their schedules, and finding help where they need it.

So when it comes to studying, are they more self-reliant or do they depend highly on their instructors? We recently surveyed hundreds of instructors and thousands of college students to get their stance on the matter.

When asked if students look to their instructors for study help, both 77% of instructors and 77% of students said college students look to the instructor for study help.

Independent study habits

However, some instructors may not know that most college students actually value doing the work independently. When asked if students value doing the work themselves and not getting help, only 48% of instructors said yes, while 67% of students said yes.

Improving independence

If you find that your students should build their independence, there are a few ways to make a change.

Promote self-reflection. You can help your students by encouraging them to assess their learning habits for a moment. Self-reflection will allow them to determine what learning methods work best for them.

Allow choice. Encourage students to make decisions that are in-line with how they learn best. Create opportunities for them to pursue their own interests and practice skills in a variety of ways. This will be a big help for you to get to know your students’ strengths and weaknesses too.

Asking for help

Conversely, if you feel your students may be so independent that they’re not asking for help when they need it, have them check out these two articles on the CengageBrain blog:

Dean’s office, financial aid office and others help students navigate support services

Top five questions to ask your professor before your final exam

Finding the right balance of independence and knowing when to ask for help is make-or-break for student success. Establishing productive habits early on in the semester is the best way to ensure students achieve everything they had hoped to by the end of class.

How do you help your students find the right balance of independence in their studies? Share your thoughts below.