Struggling Academically

Faculty, students and staff with questions about academic support should contact the Writing and Learning Commons: 828.227.2274 or the Mathematics Tutoring Center: 828.227.3830.

Facts about the student who is struggling academically

Students generally have one of three problems: 

Content: they don’t understand the course material

  • Many students are reluctant to ask for help from faculty.
  • Students may be unaware of other campus resources that can assist them.

Study Skills: they are facing new challenges in time management, note-taking, organization, or effective reading

  • Students are usually very motivated to succeed but lack the right tools or skills for college-level work.
  • Students may be unable to balance work, social activities, and academic demands.

Learning: they have not yet defined their personal, effective learning processes

  • Many students have not been exposed to the variety of learning skills necessary for college-level work.
  • Some students fail to realize that they need to employ a variety of learning skills and strategies to fit the nature of their courses and the teaching styles of their instructors.


  •  Determine if the student understands the course content and provide clarification of content, if needed.
  • Include advice about effective study strategies for your course in your syllabus and call students’ attention to this at the beginning of the semester.
  • Encourage students to be conscious of learning strategies and to adjust them as needed.
  • Ask if students are utilizing other campus resources, particularly the Writing and Learning Commons or the Mathematics Tutoring Center.
  • Stress the value of group study.
  • Encourage students who are struggling academically to speak with their course instructors.
  • Ask students about their personal study time and study strategies.
  • Encourage students to explore various strategies for analyzing and managing their time; paper and pencil techniques such as “to do” lists, schedules, calendars, and planners can be helpful organizational tools.
  • Talk to students about the note-taking strategies they use in their classes. Effective note taking strategies such as making marginal notes, rewriting notes, giving visual emphasis to notes, and frequent review of notes can promote learning.
  • Refer students to the Writing and Learning Commons and Mathematics Tutoring Center.


  • Assuming the student does not understand the course material
  • Believing the student should know how to learn course content
  • Thinking the student knows about available campus resources

Tutoring Resources

Writing and Learning Commons (WaLC)
207 Belk Building | 828.227.2274 |

The WaLC provides one-on-one writing assistance for all disciplines and small-group tutoring sessions for many courses across the curriculum.  Peer tutors are dedicated to working with students in a supportive, collaborative learning environment.

Mathematics Tutoring Center (MTC)
455 Stillwell | 828.227.3830 |

The MTC offers tutoring and study skills support geared to mathematics courses and courses with mathematics content.


Copyright by Western Carolina University      •      Cullowhee, NC 28723      •      828.227.7211      •      Contact WCU
Maintained by the Office of Web Services      •      Directions      •      Campus Map      •      Emergency Information      •      Text-Only

Office of Web Services