Achieving success online or on-campus means looking at tutoring from a new perspective.

By Colleen Sexton

Every time I see a student for a paper review or English tutoring in the Learning Resource Center, I think back to my own days as an undergraduate at Saint Leo University.

I commiserate with students about the lure of procrastination, the sometimes lengthy process of learning grammar, and how hard it is to critique your own writing, because everything, at a point, starts to look correct.

We spend a few minutes laughing at the problems that plague college students, and we get down to business to look at grammar and flow.

Unlike the students who currently see me for tutoring, I didn't feel the need to seek outside help, besides classmates, when I was an undergrad. To me, my academic writing was fine. I got good grades on my assignments, so I felt I was doing well as a writer; however, if I had known how effective tutoring could be, I can only imagine how my work would have flourished.

Instead, I was one of the many who misunderstood tutoring.

Myth #1

Tutoring is something that shouldn't be talked about.

As I went through school, tutoring was something no one was ever excited about. If you were one of the unlucky students who had to attend, it was something you whispered about to your best friend because you'd get made fun of for having to go.       My thoughts about tutoring carried over to my college career.

I wish I had, as an undergrad, investigated tutoring instead of adopting the popular and, often, stigmatic definition most people hold. 

Myth #2

Once you have an understanding of a subject, tutoring is unnecessary.

When I heard about the Learning Resource Center, maybe it was in a class, I didn't pay much attention because it was always referred to as the tutoring center. And, because I obviously knew everything about English and writing, I only used the center for its free perks: printing, coffee, and popcorn. I think I may have come in once because I knew one of my classmates was a tutor, and he helped me solidify a research proposal.

Tutoring is not only for those who struggle in a subject.

In fact, students of all levels of understanding come in for tutoring to further develop their knowledge of a subject.

To best illustrate this idea, compare students at a university to bestselling authors. Just because authors make bestseller lists doesn't mean they stop building their respective craft. No. These authors continue to seek out the advice of experts to perfect their craft (to keep them on those bestseller lists!). They attend writing retreats and workshops to learn new ways to look at their work.

The same principle applies to tutoring.

Tutoring helps students who are challenged by a subject to understand it.

Tutoring also helps students who may already understand a subject, to take their knowledge to an even higher level.

Myth #3

Beliefs about tutoring will never change.

Now that I work as a professional tutor, I understand all the benefits that can come from tutoring because I've seen many students succeed in their respective areas of study from regular appointments with tutors.

Are you a University Campus student?

Check out the Learning Resource Center (LRC) for more information about tutoring. It is located on the second floor of the Student Activities Building in room 205.

Are you an online student?

Take advantage of the LRC's personalized tutoring via Blackboard Collaborate. Tutoring takes place face-to-face and in real time. Click here to find out more.

Smart Thinking is another tutoring resource available to online students. Don't have a Smart Thinking account yet? Email with your name, email, phone number, and student ID, and she will set up an account for you.

Have you ever used any of Saint Leo's tutoring resources – the Learning Resource Center or Smart Thinking? Share your experience in the comments.

Colleen Sexton, SLU Class of 2010, is a professional English tutor in Saint Leo's Learning Resource Center. She is married to her high school sweetheart and is an avid reader and writer of young adult fiction. She loves working with students who are looking to improve their writing because she believes everyone can be effective writers if they are pointed in the "write" direction.  

 Image Credit: eyeline-imagery on Flickr/Creative Commons