Academic woes tackledat Counseling Center

Some students say they aren’t sure what the University Counseling Center does or even where it is located, though it may be the best hope for some for tackling academic difficulties throughout their college careers.

Besides emotional management and conflict counseling, the Counseling Center offers academic support. UCC staff members say they hope students learn more about their academic services before they hit the mid-semester academic slump.

Though many students say they talk to their academic advisors in times of trouble, advisers are not meant to help students with their studying problems.

“We tend not to focus on the problems of study habits (because) we don’t have the tools,” said Mack Brooks, a Columbian school adviser. “The issue for us is to first assess the academic problem.”

Brooks said he directs most of his students who need academic assistance to the UCC. Located at 2033 K St., the UCC offers the Academic Success Series, which focuses on academic-trouble areas such as time management, organization and mastering stress. The series is held every Wednesday at 4:10 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Suite 330 of the UCC office.

The series addresses a new problem each week at open seminars.

“I’ve been to all of them before,” said sophomore Anthony Coco. “It’s helped me a lot.”

Robert J. Wilson, assistant director of the UCC, said the goal of the center is to help students to achieve their best while improving the overall student experience.

“If a student comes to us with an acknowledged problem, we can help them resolve their problem and figure out what to do (about it),” he said.

This process may include introducing the student to a peer tutor, support group, special workshop or lecture series. The UCC also offers pamphlets, Web links and video tapes to deal with specific study issues.

Wilson said the most common problems students face are, “not focusing on the essential part of the course, not studying often enough (and) stress.” He said these problems can be remedied by identifying the focus of a course early on and studying in many short sessions instead of one long one. Both of these tactics usually reduce stress as well.

Wilson and Brooks agreed that problems often occur in predictable patterns. Freshmen generally run into problems in November, after they have settled into the new environment and when courses become more demanding.

But freshmen are not the only ones who need to watch out for academic pitfalls, Wilson and Brooks said. Seniors tend to become overconfident about their academic standing and ignore the upcoming transition of graduating. Transfer students need to focus on becoming acclimated to a completely new environment and academics generally slide during their first semester.

“The best thing a student can do is to know himself, in terms of capabilities and limitations,” Brooks said. “They should have realistic goals and objectives.”

Managing school work is imperative, Wilson said.

“There’s a ton of pressure in college.”

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