Helping Your Students Not Just Survive but Thrive

October 18, 2023 | By Maha Amjad, with Keena Walters

Photo of authors: Maha Amjad, with Keena Walters
Authors Maha Amjad, with Keena Walters

Maha Amjad is a sophomore nursing major at Wake Technical Community College and a fellow with the Collaborative

As students transition to college, many are not aware of the various beneficial resources that their college offers. This can have a significant impact on their performance, and those who use these resources may have an advantage over those who do not.

During my first semester at Wake Tech college, I was not well acquainted with resources such as student success coaches, advisors, and tutoring services. However, once I became aware of them and started using them, I discovered how helpful they can be. New college students face a variety of challenges, and one effective way to overcome these hurdles is to seek help. Sometimes, students get distracted or lose their motivation. In these scenarios, it is important for instructors to help students connect with available college resources as well as with one another.

How instructors can help students find resources

Instructors can play a pivotal role in encouraging students to utilize the college resources available to help them succeed. In my English courses, the instructor repeatedly reminded us to use the Individualized Learning Center (ILC) for assistance. This repetition motivated me to take advantage of the ILC resource by seeking help in understanding the assignments, revising my essays, and getting one-on-one help from instructors. This ultimately helped me achieve A grades in all my English courses.

Therefore, I encourage instructors to ensure that their students are familiar with and connected to college resources, as it may be their students’ key to success.

How instructors can help students succeed in classes

Finding a study group is one of the best ways to succeed in a class, as students can learn from each other’s experiences. However, some students may encounter difficulties in finding a study group. Instructors can support them by suggesting strategies such as contacting project group members assigned by teachers, reaching out to other peers to propose studying together, or asking the teacher to create a poll or survey to gauge interest in group study sessions.

When I was a new student at college, I did not have a study group. However, in my third semester, I found a peer through review sessions at the college’s STEM Center who, like me, was struggling in statistics. We started studying together even though we were in different sections of the course. This helped both of us to better understand the content, and we both passed the class.

Additionally, instructors can create groups for projects or activities to foster a sense of community and belonging among students. In my statistics class, the instructor formed small groups of 4–5 students and assigned short activities or questions to solve. This approach was particularly effective in an online asynchronous class.

By promoting study groups and creating groups in class, instructors can empower students to learn through collaborative learning and knowledge exchange. The effort could have a great impact on a student’s academic performance.

How instructors can connect students to their campus

Instructors play an important role in guiding students throughout their academic journey. It is essential to advise students to approach instructors for help, as they are invested in the success of their students. I encourage instructors to explore different resources that the college offers and connect students to them. By doing so, you can significantly enhance their learning experience and overall success. Moreover, there is a greater likelihood of more students passing the class with a good understanding of the course content.

Expand your understanding about this topic by watching this video, The Collaborative Video 1: Building Classroom Connections for Success, part of the Postsecondary Collaborative’s research into tools that help students manage their learning.

Get ready to be inspired and empowered!