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U. students discuss peer tutoring with other academic resources

The University offers peer tutoring through various outlets including its Learning Centers. – Photo by Rutgers Learning Centers / Facebook

Rutgers students discuss the availability and quality of the University’s various academic resources, especially its tutoring services.

Chitral Samala, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences junior, said that through the Douglass Writing Center, he was able to work with a peer tutor on Expository Writing.

Samala said that since peer tutors have already taken the courses that they provide assistance for, they can provide valuable advice.

"Once I actually had a one-on-one experience with somebody who had already taken the class before and mastered it, I got the right help and I ended up succeeding myself," Samala said.

For calculus, he said he utilized the Learning Centers’ drop-in tutoring services to prepare for his midterm and final exams. Though, Samala said for some subjects, such as physics, he needed to reach out to tutoring resources outside of the University to succeed.

Overall, he said he was satisfied with Rutgers’ academic resources and believes they are marketed sufficiently to students.

On the other hand, Clio Marcus, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year, said she did not realize that the University offered tutoring and has not used the University’s Learning Centers or Writing Centers.

She said she would be more encouraged to reach out for tutoring help if the existence of these academic resources was more advertised.

Sarah Van Name, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences sophomore, said she has used resources other than the centers including a weekly online study group for her chemistry class organized by a learning assistant.

"I thought they were pretty helpful because I was able to ask questions in a smaller setting — even smaller than a recitation-sized class — so I felt like I had more personal help," she said.

She said that the University should offer more tutoring assistance for students in difficult classes such as organic chemistry.

Mathew Umano, a School of Environmental Sciences and School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, is double majoring in meteorology and computer science.

He said students in his academic pathways require encouragement and morale boosts in addition to academic support.

"You may not necessarily need the help academically, but when you are in class and you watch kids break down during a midterm, it’s definitely discouraging to continue going in your major," Umano said.

In a smaller degree program like meteorology, students have managed to cultivate a great sense of camaraderie because they are all experiencing the same classes, he said.

Umano, who works as a mathematics tutor through the Educational Opportunity Fund, said that beyond Calculus I, there is not much tutoring assistance for advanced math courses.

"Once you get past Calculus I, there aren't any tutoring options or extra help options. There may be stuff for Calc II, but when you have to take Calc III and Calc IV for meteorology, there's no help," he said. "There's no support system whatsoever."

He said that he believes the University should consider supporting students by understanding their individual needs.

"Every student is different, and being able to identify the student's weak points and then help them grow on those weak points ... has been the most beneficial to the students themselves," Umano said.


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