How do I use all these resources my deans and professors are talking about?
One useful way to think about how to more deeply engage with your courses and get assistance that would benefit your learning and success is to conceptualize your courses as the center of a network of useful resources. Virtually every Princeton course is connected to or supported by a variety resources, services and people inside and outside the course. Students can and should meet with their instructors and preceptors in their office hours, make use of online materials assembled by the instructor (e.g. past exams, supplementary materials), and take advantage of exam reviews, tutoring, etc., if offered by the class. You can, as most Princeton students do, also create your own study groups or accountability partnerships—and McGraw can help. Beyond the course itself, look for tutoring (offered by McGraw, your residential college), learning consultations (academic coaching for ANY class you are taking), writing consultations, and guidance from your Director of Studies when you feel that you’d like to delve deeper into course material, focus in on learning a skill (e.g. problem-solving, writing) and meet the challenges of a course.
These resources are assembled for you! Many, in fact, MOST Princeton students use them (McGraw and Writing Center regularly get over 10,000 visits per year), so make a point of trying them out yourself and come back to the ones that suit you best. Perhaps this kind of support is familiar to you if you come from a well-resourced high school or you had access to tutoring, coaching, etc. outside of school, or perhaps this sort of network is new and unfamiliar. If you had an SAT/ACT prep course or tutoring, or were part of an after school or summer program with an academic focus, you’ve used similar resources and probably seen their benefits.
Either way, taking a few moments to understand how learning support works on this campus and what is available for your specific courses is an important step to your success and making the most of what Princeton has to offer. That’s one of the many questions you can talk about with a McGraw academic life and learning consultant: What are these resources like and why—and how—might I use them for my classes?
The Learning Support Network represents in a bubble map the variety of different support resources available at Princeton for any given course. In the center is the course node, and coming off of it are different satellite nodes depicting different units and departments on campus that may offer learning support for the course in question, including the following.
- The McGraw Center offers: individual and group tutoring in quantitative problem-solving courses, individualized academic coaching in the form of learning consultations, timely small group workshops on learning strategies for various academic demands (e.g. reading, time management, exam preparation, etc.), and Principedia and other online resources to help students meet Princeton’ academic challenges and to thrive.
- In the course, itself: office hours offered by the professor and preceptors, exam review sessions, online resources such as Piazza.
- In the residential colleges: meetings with your Dean, Director of Studies and faculty advisor, and individual tutoring.
- The Center for Language Study offers tutoring in some courses.
- The Library offers various learning support services and resources for courses.
- The Scholars Institute Fellows Program offers various learning support services and resources for first generation, low-income students.
- The Office of Undergraduate Research offers various learning support services and resources for students planning to and engaging in research.
- The Writing Center offers individualized writing conferences and small group workshops.
- Specific Academic departments may offer tutoring and other programs, services and resources in support of courses.