Published 12/23/15

Experts from Academic Success Programs help students keep pace with college-level study

Assistant Dean for Student Success Laurie L. Hazard, Ed.D., knows what it takes to be a successful student. For more than a decade, Hazard, co-author of several books and papers on foundations for learning and college readiness, has designed and led programming that enhances academic performance for all students at Bryant.

It’s something that she and her team of experts take seriously in the Academic Center for Excellence and the Writing Center. This fall, about 93 percent of first-year students used the two centers for a total of 10,657 visits. The math lab is by far the busiest service, while peer writing consultations are the most popular.

The services help students get beyond high-school study habits so that they succeed from the start.

Students who use ACE three or more times per semester typically boost their GPAs by .5, Hazard notes. Students who utilize ACE and the Writing Center five or more times in a semester can boost their grades by about .3 to .5 on their semester GPA. In other words, a student who has a 2.6 can expect his or her GPA to go up to between a 2.9 and a 3.1 that semester.

Helping students on their trajectory to success

The goal of Bryant’s Academic Success Programs is to partner with students to help them monitor their academic progress from matriculation to graduation, work with them to recognize their inherent potential as young adults, and support them as they “claim their education.” Notes Hazard, “We guide them to take advantage of all the opportunities that Bryant has to offer in order to achieve more than they ever thought possible.”

High school study habits will not work to the same extent in a college environment and or yield the same results, says Hazard. “In college, students must go beyond memorization and apply critical thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation to their study approaches.”

Bryant learning specialists teach students college-level study skills, and students can meet weekly with the specialists to practice and apply these new techniques. Two skill areas in high demand are assisting with self-regulatory behaviors (behavior and time management, goal setting, self-motivation, and combatting procrastination) and critical reading skills. In addition, learning specialists will help students determine course features and tailor study strategies that will help them meet course demands and sync with students’ individual learning styles.

A boon to first-year students

The pace of college is more intense than high school, as is the volume of material students are expected to master in a short period of time. Some college classes will not have as many tests and quizzes that might reveal difficulty mastering the material. Programs and services in ACE and the Writing Center are designed to help students before they experience too big a misstep, says Hazard. “Most students have an awareness of their learning strengths and challenges based on their K-12 experiences. We urge them not to wait for a crisis to arise, such as a failed test or quiz, to take advantage of services that can help them succeed from the start.”

First-year students are now required to take a short online course prior to their arrival on campus in September. Asynchronous and self-paced, the course is designed to help students transition from high school to college by providing an introduction to the First-Year Gateway Experience and to Student Success programs at Bryant. The course specifically acclimates students to the technology that is utilized in all classes, including Blackboard and ePortfolio.

“This online course encourages students to develop the ‘habits of mind,’ and academic skills and attitudes that will create success at Bryant and beyond,” says Hazard. “Additionally, it will help students begin to explore their options in the variety of degrees and programs at Bryant, providing them with the foundation for academic success and achievement.”