College can be overwhelming in all kinds of ways. From balancing your time to keeping your grades up, you're expected to do a lot of things with very limited resources. Academics, however, must be a priority given that your ultimate goal is to graduate. So where's a student to go if he or she needs a little academic help?
Fortunately, most college campuses are set up to provide resources for you if you're struggling academically. The only mistake you can make is not taking advantage of all that your school has to offer.
1. Talk to your professors in all of your classes. Even though some professors can be intimidating, knowing how to talk to them is a lot easier than you might think. And checking in with each of them if you're struggling academically is super important. Not only will they be aware that you are having some difficulties, but they also can help connect you with resources that can help you. Additionally, letting your professor(s) know that you're having problems earlier is much easier to deal with than trying to explain your struggles after you've failed a class (or two or three ...).
2. Stop in at the tutoring center. Most campuses have a tutoring center -- and for a reason. You're not the first (and you certainly won't be the last) college student to need help with that O-Chem lab report. Even if you aren't sure what your tutoring center offers, stop in and see what resources they make available. You just might be surprised at all that they have for students in need of a little help here and there.
3. Look into a peer tutoring program. Separate from a tutoring center, some schools offer peer tutoring programs. These can be amazing because they 1) hook you up with someone who has been both screened and trained for being an awesome tutor, 2) the person has direct knowledge of what the expectations (and even professors!) are for your specific campus, unlike an online tutoring website, and 3) getting direct, 1-on-1 help can often be the best way to learn and grow as an academic. See what your institution has to offer and sign up as soon as you can.
4. Look into hiring a paid tutor. Paid tutors are a great way to go, especially if you're at a school that offers grad. programs. After all, those accounting graduate students need a little cash and obviously know their stuff, so why not use their knowledge to help yourself? Check on bulletin boards (both physical and electronic) for the department or subject you're needing help with or ask your professors if they know of any good tutors you can contact. Additionally, finding a reputable online tutoring site might also be a smart way to get some extra help.
5. Look into a mentoring program. Sometimes, you don't just need help with that upcoming Shakespeare paper; you need help with college writing, for example, or with managing your time better. A peer mentor is someone who has skills you can learn as well as experience being a successful student within an environment you both share. Learning all their tips and tricks can be a great way to strengthen your academic skills, too.
6. Check out the campus writing center. Writing at a college level is entirely different than anything you've likely experience before -- no matter how great your writing was in high school. So it's no wonder you (and lots of other students) need a little help! Don't be embarrassed to stop in and ask for someone to look over your writing whenever you have a big assignment coming up. (And really, what assignment in college isn't big?) After all, what's more lame: stopping in to get help so you can rock that essay or not stopping in when you had the chance and then having to retake your class?
7. Make friends with the campus librarians. You may think you can do all of your research online in your room. And that's partly true -- you can do research online in your room. But that likely isn't enough, especially if you're struggling in a class or two. Stop into the library and talk to the librarians (especially the reference librarians there. Librarians, especially those on a college campus, are wicked smart and know all kinds of amazing things. Let them show you how to get your research done quickly, what resources are available to you, and all kind of other things that will blow your mind. The 20 or 30 minutes you spend with a librarian during your time in school will undoubtedly save you hours and hours over your college career (if not beyond!).
8. Look for peer advisers. Sometimes, it's just awkward talking to a professor about how your struggling in his or her class or admitting to someone with a Ph.D. in Anatomy that you're having problems remembering the basics of muscle fibers. That's where peer advisers come in. Peer advisers are often trained fellow students on campus who are really good at certain topics -- and who are willing to help other students for whom the material does not come as easily. You can talk to them about what you need help with while not worrying about being judged or looked down on.
9. Ask your friends for help. It's not uncommon for one student to excel in one subject and his or her friend to excel in another. Look around your social circle to see who is good at what -- and how you can help each other out. You might be an awesome writer, for example, but have some kind of brain block when it comes to statistics. And your friend down the hall might be the exact opposite. Set up an hour or two a week where you both can help each other out.
10. Check in with yourself! Don't forget that, just like you can be your own worst enemy in certain situations, you can also be your best ally. Figure out what you do well and see how you can incorporate that into what you're struggling with. Are you good at staying organized? Then organize your schedule so you can find time to get the help you need with your classes. Are you good at seeing the bigger picture? Then motivate yourself to stay on target toward your big goals while getting help from others in figuring out the details. No matter what you do, however, tap into the resources that are available for you so that your need for help doesn't turn into a mistake that ruins your college career.