Katelyn Buxton/ The Mainstream

Study groups enable students to succeed

The average college GPA for a math major is 2.90 with only 2.78 for chemistry majors, according to a study done by Kevin Rask of Wake Forest University. For anyone struggling with these subjects, this is not surprising. However, majors and non-majors alike can get help through UCC’s study groups.

Study groups are dedicated meetings with an academic coach. While students may meet with the coaches other times, study groups enable students to come together and discuss the subject as a body.

Students are often pleased with the results of attending academic coaching. “Study groups have helped me get a better understanding of my subjects that I am struggling with and are a great resource for students of all ages and educational backgrounds,” says Paulina Finn, a Mechanical Eng. major.

A typical study group consists of one or two students and a qualified student academic coach who knows the subject well. This means that students are able to have the benefits of one-on-one coaching, as well as being able to help each other in the small group environment.

While students may apply for a coaching position at any time, they must undergo an evaluation process first.

“They must carry a minimum of six credit hours and have taken a class and received an excellent grade (A/B),” says Mary Worthington, the success center initiatives coordinator. “If the student is not a referral from an instructor, as part of the screening process we may contact an instructor to obtain verification and recommendation for a student to become an academic coach.”

Additionally, the College of Reading and Learning Association has created a training program to certify students as Level One coaches. Prospective academic coaches must participate in 10 hours of classroom and online study, as well as complete 25 hours of supervised coaching with students. After this comes a final evaluation before they can work independently. Completion of this program is a requirement for all coaches, and the certificate they receive is recognized at other colleges as well.

Many academic coaches find satisfaction in enabling others to succeed. Junjie Sun, a Physics major and a coach for math, physics, and chemistry, says that he enjoys helping students to learn.

However, study groups are not available for every subject. They are formed only upon instructor request or around the most challenging courses. If enough students find a course difficult, a study group may be formed. UCC has a total of 10 study groups available for fall term, ranging in focus from math, to chemistry, to physics, and writing.

Study groups take place in the Success Center at the UCC library, a campus feature that has been in operation since spring of 2016. Additionally, attendance has been on the rise since then.

These groups as well as academic coaching are free for students to use at any time. With such a resource at students’ disposal, it is important to take advantage of them before it seems necessary.

“Last year I had a student that came in regularly,” says Jordan Smith, a Computer Science major and math coach. “At around week three or so she had an F in her math class, and by the end of the term, she told me it had increased to a low B.”

Anyone who has ever taken college courses knows that some classes are more difficult than others. Study groups help to alleviate this problem by providing guided help for the most common subject areas that students find challenging. Study groups were formed with the desire to enable UCC students to succeed in whatever they do. “Any and all activities are based around our mission to transform lives and enrich communities,” says Worthington.

Contact me at: