It’s essential to know that a student is struggling with course work to be able to help him or her get back on track. Share the tips below with your students to encourage them to be more vocal about their challenges and to take a more active role in steering themselves toward success. How do you uncover which topics your students struggle with most? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

If you’re struggling and looking for some extra help in your courses, don’t overlook the resource (sometimes literally) right in front of you. Your instructors are your best resource if you require extra help in the classroom. Utilize these tips, adapted from Dave Ellis’ Becoming a Master Student, 14th Edition, to help you express your struggles to your instructors. Once you let them know you’re having difficulty, they will be able to help you get back on the path toward success in their course.

  • Start by Building a Relationship with your Professor At the beginning of the term, be sure to introduce yourself to your instructor. Speaking with your instructor can help you learn his or her teaching style and preferred method of communication, which will be useful if you need additional help in the course. Additionally, maintain the relationships that you’ve built with instructors, as they can be a great help throughout college and beyond.
  • Don’t Wait Until it’s Too Late – If you recognize that you need additional help in a class, it’s better to seek help from your instructor before it’s too late. Your struggles will only increase as additional class work is assigned and the topics in the class become more in-depth, so get ahead of the situation. 
  • Visit During Office Hours – Instructors set aside this time for a reason, so put it to good use! Show up with questions or knowing what you need help with. For example, if you’re struggling with exams, bring an old exam and discuss it with your professor, or if you’re having trouble with writing papers, bring an outline or rough draft to review. 
  • Ask Questions – Ask questions during office hours or during class discussion. Instructors will be able to improve your understanding of course content if they know where you’re getting confused. Additionally, asking questions shows interest in class discussions. 
  • Show Interest in Class – Show the instructor that you’re trying. If you’re struggling in class, the worst things you can do are to miss class or appear disinterested while you’re there. Respond to questions, participate in class discussions, and appear interested. Your instructor will be more willing to provide you with extra help if they think you’re putting in maximum effort. (pp. 21-22)

Feeling overwhelmed with everything on your plate this term? Visit CengageBrainiac, the CengageBrain Blog, for tips on making choices that can lead to better grades.

Reference: Content adapted from Ellis, Dave. 2013. Becoming a Master Student. 14th ed. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.