The Academic Coaching Center eases the college transition

Jacob Holley-Kline is a writing consultant at the Learning Resource Center.

For traditional and non-traditional students alike, starting college is a difficult transition. Ways to ease that difficulty can be tough to find. The Academic Coaching Center, located in Sally Monserud Hall Room 114, offers resources for just that.

Where the Writing Center helps with papers and assignments, the Academic Coaching Center focuses on broader skills like note taking, studying, and time management.

“Our mission is to make sure that UAA’s student community can walk out of our center with skills… that will help them succeed in any course they take here,” Aaron Via, Lead Academic Coach and psychology major, said.

By design, freshman and sophomore students utilize the center more often than junior and senior students.

“Third or fourth year college students, generally, are not going to get much out of a visit here unless they’re having difficulty in a new style of class or something,” Via said.

Incoming students of all ages need help navigating Blackboard and UAOnline. Familiarizing them with both the college environment and UAA’s digital platforms is essential to future success.

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Learning to navigate those resources is complicated on one’s own. Being guided by a peer who’s been in that position before is what academic coach Jessica Rice strives for. She’s quick, however, to differentiate between coaching and tutoring.

“Our extent isn’t necessarily academic, it’s more about how to be a better student instead of a better learner,” Rice said.

A student studies, manages their time, and works through assignments whereas a learner absorbs information. These skills are shaped outside of the classroom in places like the Academic Coaching Center. By her measure, students without access to extra resources often feel left behind.

“They don’t get an opportunity to really prove to themselves how good of a student they can be. I think of where the can make their academic lives a lot better,” Rice said.

Interested students can schedule one 45-minute session with a coach or a series of sessions depending on need. Drop-in sessions are also available. Outside of those sessions, the Center’s employees lead workshops dedicated to study skills, time management, or reading strategies.

The Academic Coaching Center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday in the Sally Monserud Hall, Room 114.