After checking in for her shift, junior film and television major Kennedy Binegar scans the schedule, seeing what activities await her day. Like many college students, Binegar juggles a job alongside her classes. Her job, however, merges with some students’ least favorite pastime: homework. Binegar is a tutor with the Writing Center, comprised of approximately 30 individuals eager to provide students with a variety of assistance.
“[I] can see what the students want to specifically work on within their writing, if it’s an essay, research project, fictional story, resume, cover letter, personal writing or any other form of writing they would like help with,” Binegar wrote in an email.
Tutoring services on campus, such as the Writing Center or Math Learning Center (MLC), seek to push students into an environment in which they are not afraid to ask questions or request additional help with coursework.
Gary Hagerty is the director of the Math Learning Center and works closely alongside the tutors in the department. The MLC offers tutoring sessions for lower-level classes, and Hagerty connects this to a need for services in those classes.
“If you have a question as a senior, you’re asking for help,” Hagerty said. “You’re not sitting there at home saying ‘I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with this.’ But as a freshman, there are probably times that you [do].”
Hagerty continued that much of the work for a standard 3-credit course is done outside of the designated classroom, and if students are hesitant to ask questions to begin with, he is concerned that this uncertainty will remain while they work independently at home. Hagerty believes this is especially relevant for freshmen who have not been in a higher education learning environment.
“The greatest need for tutoring is getting the students who are straight out of high school to recognize the services there, to recognize the need for the service and to recognize that it is part of the educational process that is very valuable and very important,” Hagerty said.
Senior accounting major Angeles Rizo utilizes another branch of tutoring services specific to her major. Graduate Assistants (GAs) are tutors working to complete their Master’s degrees and assist upperclassmen in higher-level courses. Rizo said she schedules time to meet with GAs often during large projects, which allows her to complete those projects more efficiently.
“After tutoring, I’ve gained more confidence to ask for help when something is unclear or when I need to verify if my answers are correct,” Rizo wrote in an email. “Tutoring has also allowed me to learn how to ask more specific questions.”
Both the MLC and the Writing Center schedule staff depending on demand, which means the centers often see an increase towards the end of semesters as final due dates creep closer.
“By the end of last semester, I was booking students with any tutor we could find,” Binegar wrote. “The Boise State Writing Center increases the amount of appointments made and students seen, so I’d like to think the center is, and continues to be, helping students who choose to use our services!”
No matter the department or center, the individuals hired as tutors and assistants want students to recognize that it is okay to not always have all the answers, and to be confident in asking for further direction.
“I would tell students who have never been in [to tutoring]that it’s really easy to make an appointment, and then all you have to do is show up with your work and we will help you!” Binegar wrote. “Our services are always free, and we always have a cup of coffee or tea waiting for you.”