College 101: Tips for the struggling student

Logan Raschke, News Editor

The English department and Student Success Center shared advice and tips for students struggling in their classes.

While the deadline to add full-term courses for the Spring 2019 semester has passed, students can still drop them at no cost until Jan. 18, according to Eastern’s academic calendar.

The last day to withdraw from a course and receive a 50 percent refund is Monday, Feb. 4.

After Feb. 4, students who still want to withdraw from a course will have to do so by Friday, March 29 and pay full-price for it.

While withdrawing from a course is an option for struggling students, some would rather stay and try their best to pass or excel.

Angela Vietto, an English professor and the chair of the English department, said professors are supposed to let their students know by midterms if they are failing.

If a student is not passing their class by midterms, not all hope is lost, she said.

Mid-term is Sunday, Feb. 28, and students will still have two months to raise their grades before final examinations week, Vietto said.

Communication is key to success; if a student is struggling in a class, they need to contact their professor for help, Vietto said.

A good way to get communication flowing is to engage with professors during class lectures, she said.

“The first thing (struggling students) should do, if they haven’t already, is raise their hands and start asking questions,” Vietto said. “When class is going along and you’re confused, unless you stop it, it’s just going to get worse.”

One possible reason students are reluctant to ask questions during class is because they may be ashamed, or they may be afraid to do so, she said.

An explanation for this fear of asking questions might be the unrealistic expectations that are often placed on college students, she said.

“In learning in the classroom, for some reason we (in American culture) think we should get (things) right the first time,” Vietto said. “If we get rid of that idea (and) realize that making mistakes is a necessary step on the way to learning, maybe we wouldn’t be embarrassed of asking questions, maybe we wouldn’t be afraid of looking up our grades on D2L.”

Not only does communicating effectively and frequently with a professor during class help guide a student towards success, it also helps them in their future careers, she said.

In any workplace, people need to be comfortable asking questions and communicating ideas with their professional peers, and college classrooms are good environments to begin developing this skill, she said.

In addition to effective communication, Vietto said there are other outlets students have to get help with their courses.

The cost of hiring a tutor at Eastern is covered by tuition, and the writing center at Coleman Hall can assist students via appointment or walk-in, regardless of a student’s major or the assignment they need help with, she said.

Another outlet struggling students can go to for help is the Student Success Center.

Alexes Beres, graduate assistant for the Student Success Center, said the center’s goal is to get struggling students organized and prepared for academic success.

“What we do is we meet with students; it can be weekly or bi-weekly, and we listen to them one on one to understand what they’re struggling with and what their challenges are. Then, after that, we determine a plan that helps them reach the goals for their semester,” she said.

Sometimes students just need an extra hand in setting up a weekly planner; it can play a huge role in a student’s success, and sometimes students need to re-think the classes they previously were going to take, she said.

For undecided majors who are begging to feel the pressure to choose a field, Vietto said she would recommend checking Eastern’s list of majors and crossing out ones they know they are not interested in.

After the list has been significantly narrowed down, she said students should visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics online to view high, low and average salaries of people in fields they are interested in and other important information that can help narrow down a career and class searches.

Logan Raschke can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].