What if My Student is Having Academic Difficulties?

College can be a time when some students feel overwhelmed due to a heavy academic workload. But that tired, drained feeling isn't bad in small doses, especially if its source comes from a motivation to succeed.

And yet, there may be times when challenges can have a negative influence on coursework. These occurrences can happen at any time and for any reason. They may involve one course or several.  It is important to remember they are not signs of failure. Students may just need to learn new study skills, meet with their professors or academic advisors, and/or utilize campus resources.

Focus on Study Skills
Websites and self-help books are one alternative for help.  But BW's Learning Center may be the best resource. Students can take credit courses in Applied Learning Skills that can help them succeed.  In addition, they can receive free individual or small group assistance in study reading, preparing for and analyzing tests, organizing and managing time, and taking and using class notes.

Talk with Professors and Advisors
Sometimes the best way to alleviate academic frustrations is to meet with the professor of a course.  By contacting the professor and setting up a time to discuss concerns, students can be proactive.  An academic advisor is useful for general issues, such as dropping a course, and/or more serious ones, including if a first-year student receives a Mid-Term Warning about grades.    

Utilize the Learning Center and Writing Lab
The Learning Center offers free services:

  • peer tutoring for many undergraduate classes    
  • drop-in math tutoring
  • intensive math tutoring with a professional math specialist
  • learning and study skills classes and help sessions
  • ESL (English as a Second Language) help for international students
  • individual consultations with learning specialists

Students are encouraged to use the Learning Center services not only if they are struggling, but also if they need to boost their grades and/or if they are seeking new study techniques. 

The Writing Lab offers free help with all aspects of writing, including grammar, research, essay and report writing, graduate school applications, articles for publication and honors papers.  In addition, there are reference books and handouts available. 

How Parents Can Help

  • Mention the benefits of forming small study groups outside of class to review professor notes and readings and to prepare for exams.
  • Encourage physical orderliness.  The BW Bookstore and/or an office supply store offers an assortment of bins, desk supplies, daily planners and more to help students get organized.
  • Note the benefits of using effective time management and study skill techniques. There are Web sites and books devoted to these topics.  A visit to the BW Learning Center also can help.
  • Listen to concerns and guide your student to finding his/her own solutions.
  • Support your student emotionally, physically and mentally by thoughtfully choosing your words and actions.  Remind him/her of the importance of being resilient when facing challenges and of the benefits associated with healthy lifestyle habits.


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