Asking for Help As a College Student

You may pay attention in class, take perfectly clear notes, read all of the assigned passages, and stay on top of your assignments in general, but you can still find yourself drawing a complete blank when you actually sit down to do your coursework or complete an examination. In other words, college can be tough and even though you may do everything in your power to perform well in your classes, you may find yourself falling behind. But do not be shamed into giving up completely. Instead, consider asking for help when you need it.

When you are struggling in a class, one of the first people you should contact is your professor. A 2008 pilot study conducted by Cosumnes River College found that only 25% of students who dropped a class spoke with a teacher, counselor, or coach before doing so. Before you consider giving up, remember that part of your professor’s job is to speak with students who have concerns, especially when it comes to their academic performance. However, this can be difficult to do when you are part of a large class. To ensure that you will get adequate attention from your instructor, drop by his or her office hours, or e-mail your professor to set up a meeting time. This way, you can voice your concerns one-on-one without having to take up class time to have something explained in further detail. The key is to make sure that you have been doing your part in trying to understand the materials before asking your professor for help. After all, your instructor’s job is to teach your class, not to offer you private tutoring lessons. However, if you only need guidance once in a while, then your professor will be more than happy to assist you. Bring up specific problems you are having trouble with, such as testing formats or a particular topic. Your professor may advise you to study specific materials or even offer you a chance to complete extra credit assignments if you need to boost your grade.

In addition to your instructor, consider seeking the aid of your classmates as well. Pay attention in class and see which people seem to have the best understanding of the materials. After class or before the next one, ask these people for help. You will find that most people enjoy being helpful to their fellow peers, especially if you ask for the help earnestly. You may find the material easier to understand when it is explained by a fellow student. In addition, find out if your school offers tutoring services on the subjects you are struggling with. Most universities have tutoring centers that will help students with subjects like mathematics, English, and foreign languages.

The next time you are struggling with a topic and have already exhausted yourself over trying to understand it, consider asking for help before you fall behind even further.

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