Two services offered by the Academic Support Center, Speech Coaching and Academic Skills Coaching, are underutilized by the student body, says director of Academic Support, Kathy Evertz.
While certain programs of the Academic Support Center, the umbrella organization overseeing the Math Skills Center, the Writing Center, the Prefect Program, and a host of other student services, are well known and well used by Carls, a host of variables combine to limit the two coaching services’ success and popularity.
“The most popular services are definitely the Math Skills Cen- ter, the Writing Center, and the Prefect Program,” notes Evertz. “Speech Coaching and Academic Skills Coaching just aren’t constantly on people’s radars.”
Started in 2005, Academic Skills Coaching assists students on time management, study skills, test prep strategies, and “sometimes even test anxiety,” while Speech Coaching helps students with speech and communications skills.
Evertz says of the skills coaching service that “What we find are students who are extremely bright who aren’t working up to their potential, because what worked for them in high school isn’t necessarily going to work for them in this context. So they just need some new skills.”
However, “it’s not well used,” according to Evertz. While it varies slightly, Academic Skills coach Chavonna Savage-Clowney can go weeks without coaching a student. Evertz believes that students may be reluctant to seek help concerning academic skills, due to embarrassment or lack of awareness. “Carleton students are usually not the ones who got help in high school; they were often the ones giving help.”
Evertz stressed that using the service should not be stigmatized, saying “It’s a resource. It doesn’t mean that you’re not qual- ified to be at Carleton; it means that you want to take advantage of all these things, and you want to be efficient and effective.”
In addition to being lesser known, the Speech Coaching service is underused because “there’s just no emphasis on it at all in the curriculum,” according to Speech Coach Kyle Schiller, ’17. While he coached about 12 people last term, Schiller believes that people fail to seek speech coaching because presentations are viewed as something “to just get over with.”
Many students are unaware or ambivalent about the two services. Willa Gruver ’18 said of the programs, “I feel like I’ve heard of them. Help is always a good thing, but I just never seem to think of it.”
Another student insisted “I don’t think I really need help.”
While the two services are currently not popular, they still appear to serve a valuable function for students. “I feel like if I was mildly uncomfortable in an academic situation, I wouldn’t automatically seek help,” said Julia Connelly ’18, “but if I was drowning, I would run to them.”