In a recent New York Times article, Lionel Anderson, Assistant Director of Academic Resources at Haverford College, offers some worthwhile advice to new college students on how to succeed in college. Mr. Anderson touches on a point that those of us who work with high achieving students know too well: Students who were among the best and brightest in high school have rarely, and sometimes never, had to ask for help with their school work in the past. Which means that when they find themselves challenged by their college coursework (or college life in general), they don’t always seek out help in time, or even know what resources are available to them. For that reason, we wanted to highlight some of the resources that every smart student arriving at NC State should know about:
- Undergraduate Tutorial Center: Tutoring is FREE for all NC State undergraduates. This is a great benefit, so be sure to take advantage of it for any courses that you are struggling with, or for help with your writing and speaking skills. And if you are a STEM major, keep this thought in mind: you may be the top student in your science and engineering courses, but if you can’t communicate well, you will hinder your academic and professional success. So get that help with writing and speaking EARLY – don’t wait until senior year!
- Disability Services Office: If you’ve had accommodations for a physical or learning disability in the past, you probably know what this office is about (and plan to register when you arrive on campus), but what if you’ve never needed accommodations? My advice is to familiarize yourself with this office and what they offer, even if you may never need their services. Why? Because as they say, “things happen”, and if you ever find yourself in need of these services, you should take advantage of them. For example, what if you break an arm over spring break and are unable to write or take notes in class – what will you do? Call the DSO of course, and they will help!
- Academic Advising Services: While you may think you will graduate from the same major you enter in as a freshmen, you are likely wrong. Don’t close yourself off to exploring other majors and careers, particularly if you end up having concerns about your current major. I personally started my freshman year in college thinking I would be a marriage and family therapist, and here I am with a graduate degree and a decade spent working in higher education administration. Go figure!
- Career Development Center: Don’t wait until your senior year to start preparing your resume and learning about the job application process. Developing a career plan is a 4 year journey in college, and it should start freshmen year. Explore what this office has to offer, meet with a career counselor, and consider taking USC 202- Career Exploration and Development. How good will it feel to have a job lined up before you even graduate?!
- Fellowship Advising Office: The FAO is your one-stop-shop for all information on national and international fellowship opportunities. Dr. Kershner will advise you on which fellowships might be appropriate for you and how to apply. She will also review and critique essays, and stage mock interviews for applicants. To make sure that you are a competitive candidate, meet with Dr. Kershner early in your college career. Like planning for a career post-college, applying for fellowships doesn’t start senior year.
- Counseling Center: Everyone comes to college thinking it will be the absolute. time. of. their. life. Well, it may be, but it can also be lonely, stressful and challenging at times. The Counseling Center is another great resource that offers everything from free workshops to free group support to free individual counseling. Did I mention it was free? The bottomline: If you are struggling in any way, don’t hesitate – get the help you need.
And finally, don’t forget one of your best resources as a member of the University Scholars Program: the USP staff! We are here to help you succeed from the time you arrive on campus until the time you graduate. Some of us have worked at NC State a very. long. time. We know this university well, and we are great at connecting our students to the resources and people that can help with whatever issues come up. We also enjoy getting to know our students and talking one-on-one. Remember: the more we know about you, the more opportunities we can send your way. So do what smart college students do – make connections, know your resources, and get help wherever and whenever you need it.
Allison Medlin, Associate Director, University Scholars Program