Academic Coaching

What is academic coaching?

Academic coaching is an interactive partnership focusing on the process of learning how to learn.  Together with a professional coach, students examine their educational goals, learning styles, habits of working, and current difficulties or barriers to success.  The coach and student work together to create and implement effective strategies to achieve the student's goals.  The aim is to heighten awareness of what it takes to achieve academic success and anchor this with new strategies, a supportive relationship, and personal accountability.  An important component of academic coaching is helping students understand how their use of time and levels of organization or disorganization (paper, space, and technological data) impact their studies.  

Academic coaching can help:

  • Identify study skills to increase effectiveness based on the student's learning style
  • Address issues of navigating campus life such as talking to professors, studying skills, reading for comprehension, developing a successful writing process, taking and reviewing notes, preparing for tests with every class and each bit of reading, and managing the test taking process.
  • Identify strategies for starting projects, and following project through to completion.
  • Increase self-awareness and more effective self-monitoring
  • Create healthy eating, sleeping, and exercise habits for a balanced lifestyle.

The pace/speed at which course content is covered in college is much faster than in high school.  Reading and learning outside of class is thought to be background for what is discussed in the classroom.  Testing encompasses both what students learn independently and what is covered in classes.  Information cannot simply be memorized because most testing asks students to apply what they have learned to solve new and unique problems and to do it with reasonable ease and under the pressure of time.  We know that the college transition is not always easy and students may face new challenges and experiences. Therefore, we offer academic coaching to help students make the transition to college academics and college life.

Focal areas included in academic coaching:

  • Establishing and maintaining positive daily routines and habits
  • Avoiding procrastination
  • Setting and keeping priorities
  • Developing strategies for breaking tasks into manageable steps
  • Keeping track of class materials and making time to better organize them
  • Assessing academic progress through regular check-ins
  • Making mindful decisions and solving problems
  • Taking and using class notes
  • Actively reading and learning from your textbooks
  • Preparing for exams
  • Test taking and alleviating test anxiety
  • Concentrating during study sessions

Why coaching may be important for students with disabilities

With the nature of many disabilities, learning can be uneven over time.  Whether a person experiences visual impairments, hearing loss, ADHD, learning disabilities, chronic or temporary health conditions, or mental health conditions, there are times when students are less able to be fully present to learn certain strategies and skills or take reasoning and problem solving to higher levels.  These times of less optimal learning can create what later appear as gaps in learning or functioning.  When students attempt to navigate college courses requiring some of these skill areas (which may be weak), they can experience significantly higher levels of stress and doubt their capacity to learn at the collegiate level.  Working with a coach can help students fill in gaps in learning, find technology to assist in processing and managing information, and learn problem solving skills to help them persist and work toward  college graduation.

How can a student find out if coaching might help?

If you are a student with a disability or are significantly struggling in ways that cause you or others (parents, professors, and other professionals) to believe there is more going on than simple course difficulty, contact Tammie Longsderff in the Learning Zone located in the Baugher Student Center, room 226 at or 717-361-1549.

To prepare for your appointment:

In order to provide you with the most effective services, please bring the following materials to your initial session:

  • Your course schedule;
  • Your course syllabi;
  • A list of any ongoing commitments you may have that impact your schedule (i.e. jobs, organizations, sports, etc.); and
  • Your calendar/planner (if you currently use one).
Need additional academic support?

We also help students connect with the other academic support services, such as peer academic & writing tutoring services at the Learning Zone