There is no shame in needing or asking for assistance. However, your students may require guidance in identifying the people and places that can help them chart a path to confidence and success.

In her text Student Success in College: Doing What Works! A Research-Focused Approach, Christine Harrington writes, “Research has shown that students who access help perform better (Raskind, Goldberg, Higgins, & Herman, 1999; Strage et al., 2002). Learning when and how to access the right type of support is a skill that will benefit [students] in college and beyond” (p. 21). She offers a number of resources that students can turn to for support. Perhaps your students will find this information helpful — especially if you are able to make specific details about your campus resources available to them as well.

  • The instructor is a prime source of information and help for your coursework. Per Harrington, “Students who are connected to faculty do better in college (Johnson, 1997; Wood-side, Wong, & Weist, 1999)” (p. 23). This interaction can be a key to success, whether you contact your instructor during office hours, via phone or email, or on a live chat. Don’t forget that the instructor-supplied course materials, such as a syllabus or list of FAQs, are indispensable as well.
  • Tutors can assist you in mastering the specific concepts associated with a course. Many also offer helpful advice about study and time-management skills. Check for on-campus drop-in centers, online “office hours,” or other available services.
  • Learn from your peers! Setting up a study group can prove helpful in terms of learning as well as for mutual support and encouragement.
  • Your academic advisor or campus advising center can provide advice and guidance that enables you to keep on course toward graduation. A conversation with your advisors can ensure that you’re meeting all the necessary requirements that will enable you to complete your degree in a timely manner.
  • As you’d expect, the library is indispensable when it comes to working on your homework, projects, and papers. Librarians are at the ready to help you identify the types of resources that are appropriate to your coursework. In addition, the library website gives you access to the online databases that contain the journal articles, ebooks, and other digital resources that can serve as references for your projects.
  • At the counseling center, you can receive professional, trustworthy assistance pertaining to issues such as stress. Many schools offer career counseling services, which can include personal guidance, as well as assessments that can identify your aptitudes and interests.
  • Students with disabilities can reach out to their school’s disability service provider, who can inform you about campus policies and procedures and can help you ascertain which services and accommodations you’re eligible for.
  • Living in the dorms or on-campus apartments? Your resident advisor (RA) and residence hall director can serve as support – and the activities they organize can provide you with an excellent chance to get to know fellow students.
  • Taking part in student activities can also add to your sense of community. By participating in sports, student clubs, and organizations, you can begin to build relationships. Turn to the college fair, the student-affairs office, or the college website (and social media!) to learn about events and opportunities that interest you. (pp. 21-25)

What role do you take in guiding or supporting students toward success? Are there helpful resources that specifically pertain to your area of study or teaching? Share your ideas in the comments section.

Reference: Harrington, Christine. 2013. Student Success in College: Doing What Works! A Research-Focused Approach. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.