A stack of books sits on a desk next to a load of assignments that are all due in the next few hours. The stress is overwhelming and the realization comes that none of these things should have been put off for this long.
College students always have assignments due but have to manage themselves well enough to get it all done correctly and efficiently. This might be easy if that was the only thing a student did all day, every day. However, in reality, college students have busy lives, whether they have a job or play a sport or have other commitments outside of school.
At Park University, the Academic Success Center is a place to solve some of the academic problems of college students. Students can seek help with their assignments, time management or anything they may need in their academic life.
The ASC offers mentor meetings, tutoring and writing help. Rebekah Rothacher, a senior chemistry major, is a science tutor at the center. She said the ASC successfully covers both the tutoring and mentoring side of student success.
“Sometimes people just need to organize their thoughts and organize their life and that’s what the mentors are there for,” said Rothacher. “Other times students need practical help.”
Before Rothacher became a tutor, she learned about the Academic Success Center through her membership on the women’s volleyball team. Student-athletes are required to meet with a mentor for a Step-Up meeting once a month. In Rothacher’s meetings, she has been able to get some stress off her shoulders by talking with a mentor. She also goes to Florenda Jarrard, the assistant director of academic support services, and asks for assistance contacting her professors if she needs to postpone an exam or assignment for personal reasons.
“That gave me a huge peace of mind knowing there was someone that I could contact who I knew would back me up and take care of me,” Rothacher said.
One student that uses the ASC’s services three to four times a month is DiCarlo Jackson, a senior biology major. Jackson’s favorite thing about the center is the tutoring service, where he often receives tutoring from Rothacher, since they are both in the same field of study.
“It helps me prepare better for tests, as well as improve my understanding of topics as we go through them in class,” said Jackson. “They do a good job of asking questions that help you get a better understanding of exactly what I’m struggling with and then helping me grasp that concept better.”
Jackson said that the ASC is always there for students and will help them with whatever they may need.
Before COVID-19, the Academic Success Center was located in Norrington Center on the upstairs level. However, it recently relocated to the underground across from the Park University Bookstore.
Before the move, for students to schedule a meeting with a tutor or a mentor, they would have to find the appointment link and sign up online. This was not widespread knowledge nor accessible to all students. But after Park University went fully online in spring 2020 due to the pandemic, a link on Canvas was created that makes the Academic Success Center services easily accessible and available to all Park students.
Rothacher and Giovanna Jordão, an MBA student and mentor at the ASC, both believe that student engagement with the ASC has increased since information and scheduling links were added to Canvas for all students to see. This information can be found under the course Park Tutoring and Success Services: Support during the COVID-19 response efforts.
Jordão said that in this Canvas link as well, students have the option to send messages and ask questions in a live chat. The message will go to a tutor or a mentor who will respond quickly if a student needs help with something quickly and without making an appointment.
“I do think that the majority of students that know about Academic Success Center, they are the ones that are required to know that type of thing,” said Jordão. She says that the mentors have a list of students to call with reminders to make appointments, whether they are student-athletes or KC Scholars. However, Jordão notes that they do not have an efficient way to contact students that may not be required to schedule meetings.
Keaton Wilczynski, a sophomore biology major, says that it is super easy for her to set up an appointment online through Canvas.
“I have the tab favorited on my computer actually,” she said.
However, not all students understand how to use the Academic Success Center and do not know everything about the tutoring, mentoring or writing assistance offered. Therefore, to have a further reach to students at Park, Jordão said that the ASC will be using social media to post about and explain their services.
“What we’re trying to do now is we have an Instagram page,” said Jordão. “We are trying to open that up and make it a little broader for everyone to see.”
The Academic Success Center is always available to help students, with around 20 tutors, four mentors, and online access for all students.
“From my personal experience, they are very helpful,” said Wilczynski. “They are kind and patient and want to see you succeed.”