Swinging into the semester

Abby Fisher

Students get back into academics after month-long break

Freshman nursing major Stephanie Hillenbrand and her roommate Katelyn Luysterborg, freshman early childhood major, usually study at the same time in their room to reduce noise and improve their concentration. ALLIEY BENDER | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

After a month of sleeping in until noon or later, a 7:45 a.m. class can feel like running into a brick wall headfirst.

Take that early morning wake-up, and add a foot of snow and fierce wind – welcome to spring semester.

While some students dread coming back to classes, for Katelyn Luysterborg, freshman early childhood education major, classes have been just what she’s waiting for.

“I’m glad break is over because I was really bored during it,” she said. “I don’t like not doing anything.”

Luysterborg, whose goal is to achieve a 4.0, is prepared to buckle down and do whatever it takes.

“I’m going to study a lot more,” she said. “Working in my room is the best place, and I have to have music on, too.”

Freshman nursing major Stephanie Hillenbrand is also prepared to work hard on her academics this semester.

Tips to help students be more successful in the beginning of the semester:

1. Attend all classes, and be prepared to participate in discussions, ask questions and take notes.

2. Form study groups with people in your classes.

3. Meet with your adviser at least once per semester.

4. Be effective at managing your time – this includes utilizing a planner.

5. Study notes and review textbook chapters daily. Waiting until the night before an exam is ineffective for the majority of students.

6. Visit professors during their office hours with questions.

7. Take advantage of counseling with Psychological Services if you are struggling with adjusting back to college.

Source: Academic Success Center

“I will read the textbook right from the beginning of class,” she said. “After I take notes in a class, I will go back to my room and rewrite them and use note cards for vocabulary.”

Hillenbrand said it is never too early to begin studying for a test.

“I will usually start to study for a test about a week in advance for two hours a night,” she said. “The day before though, I spend around eight hours studying.”

Freshman nursing major Jen Ineman also diligently prepares for tests.

“Before tests I make a detailed study schedule, and I will go to more study sessions for the classes,” she said.

For students who aren’t as driven as Ineman and Hillenbrand and need an extra boost with their grades this semester, Diane Munson, assistant dean of undergraduate studies, says the Academic Success Center is the place to go.

“We have tons of services,” she said. “You can come in and get peer mentoring, learn study skills, and we also have a one-credit hour special topics course for students.”

The Academic Success Center offers supplemental instruction for LER classes with a high withdrawal percentage, though the most popular programs continue to be mathematics based.

Munson said the center offers math help to all students, regardless of what their comprehension level is.

“People think that we help only developmental math students, but really, only 20 to 30 percent of our tutoring is developmental,” she said.

Students who receive math tutoring range from beginner’s level to advanced calculus. Many students stick with tutoring until they finish their math sequence, Munson said.

“Most of the students we help come from first generation college students, low income and we work a lot with disabled students,” Munson said. “But our services are available to anyone who needs them.”

While drop-in tutoring remains a constant throughout the semester, Munson said it is not nearly as effective as when students sign up for their own tutoring time slot.

“Once they sign up, they are required to come in,” she said. “If they miss their session, they can be replaced.”

The student-tutors are all certified by the College Reading and Learning Association and each tutor must take a course to become certified.

“All of our tutors receive good grades in the subject they are tutoring in,” Munson said. “They are very well prepared to tutor students.”

One of the most important tips the Academic Success Center gives its students is to not wait until it is too late to do something about grades. It is important, says Munson, to not wait until a student is experiencing difficulty to seek assistance.

Students are encouraged to sign up for individual tutoring as soon as possible because tutors are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Visit explore.kent.edu/asc/index for a registration form or visit the Academic Success Center at room 207 in the Michael Schwartz Center. Call (330) 672-3190 for more information.

Contact features correspondent Abby Fisher at [email protected].