As classes commence at Texas Tech, students will have to navigate the academic challenges the semester brings. To best prepare for these challenges, advisers and staff encourage students to take action and utilize available resources early in the year, setting them on the path to a successful fall semester.
The first point of contact for students looking for resources, guidance or information are academic advisers, Catherine Nutter, senior director for University Advising, said. It benefits students to develop a relationship with their adviser as soon as possible, even if they do not have any specific concerns or questions.
“It’s preventative care to come in and talk to your adviser before you need something,” Nutter said. “Just go in and chat. Go in and have a conversation.”
Although students may believe advisers function mainly to help them register for classes, the actual role of advisers is much broader, Nutter said.
“(Advisers) are very much more than ‘tell me what courses to take,’” Nutter said. “We just don’t often get used in those areas and we would very much like to be.”
Advisers work with students on time management, study habits, how to work professionally with their professor and instructors, how to approach their professors, how to utilize office hours, how to ensure they are taking care of themselves and more, Connie Watson, Assistant Director of University Advising working in EXPLORE, said.
Additionally, advisers are aware of resources on campus students may be unaware of and work to connect students to the resources they need, Watson said. While referring students to resources, advisers try to give them a contact for an actual person, not just an office, to better ensure students find what they need.
“Some resources are easier to find than others and sometimes an adviser will know something or will know a person we can connect,” Watson said.
A commonly referred to resource is the Learning Center. Newly located in Drane Hall 147, the Learning Center provides free drop-in peer tutoring, academic coaching and more, Patrick Bohn, Assistant Director of the Learning Center said.
Bohn recommends students come in to the Learning Center during the first week with their syllabi or a class list, he said. Employees at the center can tell students which classes the center offers tutoring in and the resources they can provide.
Students should not wait before seeking out assistance at the Learning Center, he said. The first week is important, despite the fact many students might see it simply as an opportunity to collect syllabi.
“Don’t wait until you’ve realized that you’re falling behind,” Bohn said. “Come from the beginning and then we can tell you which schedules we have and it’s all drop-in so even if a student doesn’t necessarily have questions but they want to come in here and work on their homework and then if a question comes up they can ask a tutor, that’s perfect.”
The Learning Center is for all students, he said, not just those who are struggling in their classes or are wanting to raise their grades.
“We see students throughout the semester who are really struggling, who are trying to pass, and then we have students who are getting B’s and C’s who want A’s, and then we have 4.0 students who come in here and kind of just like to bounce ideas off,” he said. “So you don’t have to be specific student in a specific situation.”
If students find themselves in a situation in which the content from a class is coming at them faster than they can process, it is possible a conversation about dropping the class is necessary, Nutter said.
Students should reach out to their advisers with their concerns, Nutter said, and need to consider many factors including financial aid.
“Talk with your adviser about what dropping is going to do in terms of progress towards a degree and timely graduation,” Nutter said. “Talk with your adviser about whether dropping a class is better for your GPA because it may allow more time to study for the classes that seem to be taking more time.”
Students have until Sept. 11 to drop a class without academic penalty and until Nov. 26 to drop a class with academic penalty, meaning the dropped class will count towards the six-class drop limit, according to the Texas Tech academic calendar.
Students are given information about these deadlines in emails from their advisers, Watson said. It is important students make a habit of reading the emails from their advisers closely to ensure they do not overlook important information.
“Get the information that you need because this is your responsibility this is your experience,” Watson said. “And part of the beauty of the experience is learning to take control of it yourself.”