After meeting with tutors one-on-one for two challenging classes—microeconomics and international relations—Madison Kamarad’s test scores went up by as much as 20 percent. Tutoring, made available through Union’s Student Success Center, provided her with the tools to tackle these tough classes.
Initially, Kamarad pursued tutoring to be comfortable with the material presented in class. Majoring in international rescue and relief, she took the opportunity to focus her studies toward global development. As a result, she needed to take higher-level business classes in which she didn’t understand the material well.
“I knew I could succeed,” she said. “I just needed to learn from people who know more.”
Throughout the semester, Kamarad met with her private tutors once a week for a couple of hours. Before tests, she would sit with them several times until confident. Her tutors broke down difficult sections and dug deeper into the material.
“They worked with me,” she said. “I felt encouraged to do my absolute best.”
Each student at Union can request one-on-one tutors for any class at no cost. After the Student Success team took over the one-on-one tutoring program in 2018, requests increased by 108 percent.
TUTORS EMBEDDED IN TOUGH COURSES
The college also embeds tutors in challenging general requirement courses such as College Algebra, Statistics and Writing for General Audiences. Embedded tutors offer group tutoring sessions each week for a couple of hours for students to receive assistance.
Since starting the embedded tutoring program in Fall 2018, some courses improved pass rates by more than 15 percent.
“Tutoring is helpful in many ways,” said Taryn Rouse, Union’s executive director for Student Success. “Students learn reaching out for help is okay. They find different methods to enjoy learning, discover how to study better and have that accountability through a peer.”
As one of the many tools used by the Student Success team for supporting students, tutoring is a valuable resource students can use to better understand material so they successfully find and live out their God-given calling.
The tutors say they are benefitting in ways beyond just having a job. Some say reviewing the material themselves has helped them solidify the lessons in their minds as well, and they feel a great sense of accomplishment from helping others. “Many students already help each other and this creates another job opportunity for those who’ve already taken the course and excelled,” said Rouse.
AN IMPROVED EXPERIENCE
While nervous to reach out at first, Kamarad decided to pursue tutoring when she realized the program could encourage her to understand the material well and overcome testing anxiety. “Tutoring took away the stigma of asking for help. I realized it wasn’t a bad thing and they could push me to do better,” she said.
After seeing the difference in her scores, and her confidence, she knew the extra effort was worth it. “I was so encouraged seeing that I could succeed and understand material valuable to my future career,” she said. “Tutoring boosted my outlook on my education.”
Story by Emily Roque Cisneros, a Union graduate and
freelance writer based in Michigan.