Asking for help: The lesser-known key to success

Sada at Fennell Campus

Your success in college is determined by the skills you develop. While time management abilities and good study habits are excellent educational skills that go a long way to contributing to success, one of the lesser-known keys to success in college is asking for help. It’s a skill on its own to know when to ask for help, what kind of help you need, and how you can get the help that will work best for you. So, how can you learn the answers to these questions and get the help you need?       

Victoria Wylie, manager of the Learning Support Centre (LSC), has a passion for helping students. Her passion means it’s important to her for students to know what kind of supports are available to them, so they know where that support is available before they even need to ask for help. She tries to make students aware of these supports as possible – sometimes before they’re even students, and they’re just exploring the campus for Open House. “Open House attendees can drop by the Learning Support Centre, and they can come in for a tour. We’ll have a table set up right in front of our Centre so that students can pop by, meet some of our tutors and ask us questions.” 

When to ask for help 

Sada infront of lit up computer towers and serversIt’s not always easy to know when to ask for help, but it’s important to note that you don’t need to be failing your courses to take advantage of the supports available. These services are available for free for anyone who wants to do better in their course and can be taken advantage of at any time. 

“This is kind of silly, but if you feel annoying asking for help, I guarantee you’re not,” said Sada, a Peer Assisted Study Session (PASS) leader on the LSC team. “You're already paying to be at Mohawk. You're paying to learn. You want to make the most of it. Use all the resources that you have available to you.” 

She continued, “They're made to ensure that you succeed in, and outside of, college. Even if we're talking about something like study skills, they’re skills that you will take out of school and apply to your career. So, make use of the resources that are available to you. They're there for a reason.” 

What supports are available 

Part of knowing when to ask for help is knowing what kind of help you need. There are many different support services available through the LSC, so no matter what kind of help you’re looking for, there’s someone ready to lend you a hand. Victoria went on to break down the different forms of tutoring offered by the LSC: 

“The Learning Support Centre has two goals. One, to support student’s academic success through peer-to-peer tutoring. The second goal is to support the development of our tutors, who are students as well. To achieve that, we have different tutoring positions.  

Our peer tutors are tutors who support program-specific courses. We try to have the majority of first year courses supported. Those tutors run one-on-one appointments with students. We also have math tutors who run drop-in math. If students are looking for help with math, they can just walk in, there's no appointment needed. It covers quite a wide range of math courses at the college.  

We have writing and communications tutors. These tutors support any of the communication (COMM) courses at the college, as well as just general writing skills. If someone needs to do a research assignment, they can come in and work on that. It doesn't matter what course it's for because they're focusing on the writing aspect of it.  

We also have study skills tutors. These are tutors who help support generic study habits like time management or organization skills, note-taking skills and those transferable skills that you could use in any course you're taking.  

Our last position is PASS leaders. These are peer-assisted study sessions and PASS leaders work in a different environment, so they don't run one-on-one appointments. Rather, they run group study sessions that are targeted toward specific courses. 

A lot of students are looking for math help, so we also have drop-in math where you don't need an appointment, you can literally just walk right into our centre and sit down and get help.” 

Why you should take advantage of student services 

Sada in the libraryAccording to Victoria, it pays off to take the plunge and ask for help. Students who take advantage of PASS tutoring services on average earn up to 17% higher on their final grades than students who don’t receive PASS tutoring. “The students that come to PASS earned 17% higher on their final grades than the students that don't use PASS,” she said. “We're here to help the students be more confident in their studies and their academics.” 

According to Sada, students shouldn’t feel afraid to come in for help or just to ask questions. “We are always open for questions at the LSC. Everyone who works at the LSC is more than happy to answer any questions. Just come by, say ‘hi,’ and talk about the things that they might need help with. We're able to point them in the correct direction of the specific service that they would want. Whether that's writing or communications, peer tutoring, PASS, whatever it may be,” she said. 

Victoria agrees with Sada, encouraging students to come visit the LSC at an Open House event or as a student and explore what it has to offer to help them succeed. “Come in and talk to us. We have great people sitting right up at our front desk. Just come in, have a chat, and understand what's available for you, so that you can use it when you need it. Because that's the last thing you want is being sort of in a jam and feeling stressed, and you don't know where to go for help. So just come on in or email us, because we’re there for you.”

How to access supports 

Students who are interested in tutoring services, or becoming a tutor, should check out the Learning Support Centre website or visit the Learning Support Centre in room C122 at the Fennell campus.