New Class Helps Struggling Students Achieve Academic Success

 Nebraska Wesleyan University students who struggle with time management, organization, and other study skills can now take a class aimed at helping them achieve academic success.

The course offering became available for the first time this semester after Academic Achievement Specialist Kim Jacobson recognized the need.

In her position, Jacobson spends much of her time working one-on-one with students to improve their time management and study skills.

“While working with these students, I noticed that many experienced common issues,” said Jacobson.

Jacobson started researching similar academic success classes at other colleges and universities and gathered the support of NWU administrators and faculty. The new course on academic success became a reality.

Jacobson teaches two sections of the academic success course with 22 students enrolled this spring. To identify students for the course, Jacobson contacted students who had come to her for one-on-one sessions and notified students with academic issues, including those on academic probation and those with warnings. She also found interested students through the Student Support System and through references from faculty.

“I’m working to develop confidence within the students and expressing the importance of taking responsibility for their work,” said Jacobson, “I really hope to improve students’ outlook and their approach to learning by providing them with the skills they need to succeed.”

The course focuses on six specific areas including note taking, memorization and rehearsing, studying, reading, writing, and organizing.

“The course provides a positive support network with other students,” said Jacobson, “Students recognize they are not the only ones having difficulty."

“They are able to help each other with different skills,” Jacobson continued. “A student who is good at organization is able to help another student who may be good at note taking.”

Jacobson has also made the students more aware of existing campus resources and has helped them recognize and understand learning styles and set short- and long-term goals.

Halfway through the semester Jacobson said students enrolled have positive attitudes, are active class participants and rarely miss class.

“The course is constructed to be an interactive course to look at strategies for success, how to make improvements, and self-reflect on progress,” she said.

Students are required to check in with their professors every three to four weeks to ensure they do not fall behind and to foster relationships with their professors.

“My goals for this course are to improve student success, have students recognize they do have control over their own success, create a network of students to help each other, and instill students with the idea that every student can be successful,” said Jacobson.

new class for struggling students

I worked with high school students with special needs for 30 years, and the kind of support offered at Wesleyan through a course like this one is exactly what is needed. I struggled with trying to help students take responsibility for their own learning and to become self-advocates, but even high school seniors were often just not ready to hear that advice; it's wonderful when a college provides necessary skills and support when, hopefully, the students are finally ready to receive it. The class Ms. Jacobson provides must be a welcome addition to your curriculum at Wesleyan. I applaud her efforts.

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Academic Achievement Specialist Kim Jacobson said the goal of her class is to help students understand they are successful.