FAQs - Undergraduate Learning Programs

What’s McGraw all about, what’s your approach to working with Princeton students?

Helping students THRIVE in all aspects of life, which means finding happiness, balance, doing meaningful work, and achieving success, is our overarching goal. That’s hard to do in Princeton’s rich and challenging environment. There’s lots to learn about how to “do” Princeton that is “invisible” and not taught—we’ll help you learn it so you can get out of your Princeton experience what YOU want! We want you to grow and flourish and we’re here to help you do that.

What makes McGraw effective and unique?

Our programs and services are individualized to your profile of strengths and needs in one to one and small group formats—whether that is tutoring (individual and small group), 1to1 learning consultations, or small, interactive workshops and other group events like course jumpstarts. You are not graded or evaluated, it’s informal, low-key, personalized, focused on know-how, and adapting to Princeton in general and academics in particular. We share advice that is specific to you and Princeton.

It’s all cost free, and there are essentially no limits on which and how often you can use resources—try them all out!

I really want to do well at Princeton, how can I make the most of McGraw?

How to access and use resources over the semester: Don’t feel like you have to have a “problem”, or have serious difficulty to use McGraw—last year over half the first-year class and almost half the sophomore class used McGraw—and lots of juniors and seniors, too. If you want to run or swim faster, sing or play an instrument better, you use resources, training, coaching to do so. You don’t wait until there is a “problem”, you are consistently trying to get better at your craft, troubleshoot and think ahead. So, schedule in time to use resources, like tutoring, learning consultations and workshops, early. Princeton workloads start immediately, the pace is fast, and believe it or not, you will have the most time to plan and build skills during your first couple of weeks.

Can you give me an overview of McGraw programs and services and how they work?  

Different programs have somewhat different schedules, ways of signing up and using the services. Learning consultations are offered throughout the summer and the full slate of (60+) appointments will be offered from the first day of class, workshops start the first week, Study Hall starts the second week and individual tutoring the week after. All services and resources are cost-free and there is no limit on how often you can use McGraw services. We encourage you to meet regularly with a learning consultant, come to as many learning strategy workshops as you can, and come to Study Hall tutoring each week, assuming your course is supported. McGraw creates an RSVP link for each workshop and you can get to it to sign up in various ways. You’ll get an email flyer from your residential college director of studies, which will include the link to the RSVP. You can always go to our website and the workshops page) to sign up, too. Lastly, if you add your name to McGraw’s email list, you’ll get notifications about workshops (and other McGraw programming like 1to1 learning consultations) pushed to you on a weekly basis.

How do I use learning consultations?

Learn directly from Princeton students how to succeed, balance demands, and manage stress. We’re here for YOU! Learning consultations are offered year-round, that is not only during the semester but over summer, winter break and some holidays. During the semester, we offer consultations at night and on weekends as well as during the day. You can arrange to meet with a consultant each week to talk through stuff, stay on track, and serve as a mentor. We offer 70-80 appointment slots each week!

What are learning strategy workshops like?

Workshops are offered twice each week (historically, in the McGraw Center in Frist), but online during Fall 2020/COVID. You’ll take away new ways of thinking, strategies, skills, and tools designed expressly for Princeton. The workshops are interesting and practical and go into depth on how to THRIVE at Princeton by focusing on how to meet the academic challenges at Princeton, but also make the most of what and how you are taught so that you can both achieve balance and success.

What’s the DLL? Is it part of McGraw?

The Digital Learning Lab, McGraw’ technology learning arm, is a place where you can not only learn to use new applications and programs of various kinds with individualized help, you can use their powerful computers for audio and film editing, data analysis, and lots of other tasks.

McGraw Tutoring

McGraw tutoring is STEM focused and course-specific. Students who have taken the course and received training in the methods of tutoring work one-to-one and with small groups of students. It’s important that you come having already worked on learning the material (textbooks and lectures) and made as much progress as you can on the assignments. This investment of effort will make your time in tutoring much more efficient.  You can work with tutors not only the assigned problems, but to deepen your conceptual understanding, anticipate and prepare for quiz and exam problems. You can even get advice from tutors about how to study most effectively for the course. Tutoring is offered Sunday-Wednesday evenings 7:30-10:30PM and Sunday afternoons in Frist on both a sign-up 1to1 basis and drop-in small group basis in Study Hall. We’ll post on our website the exact schedule of which classes are tutored when and the appointment system for individualized tutoring once we’ve finalized the schedule.

Why do we need to swipe in?

The McGraw Center’s Undergraduate Learning Program tracks student usage of its services (e.g. workshops, tutoring, learning consultations) so that we can accurately report to the Dean of the College and others how many students use our services and for how long—but not who uses them. The card reader devices that are used for these purposes collect only the student’s name and student ID#. This information is crucial if we are to ensure sufficient resources—funding, staffing, and space—are made available to us in order to continue to offer effective services that meet Princeton students’ needs.

Information about individual students is confidential. McGraw Center swipe-in data is used in much the same way as other data (e.g. surveys) collected by the University. We track attendance primarily to quantify usage of our services, and in turn, to assess those services. When swipe-in data is used for other purposes (e.g. reports), individual student identities are not included. Thus, individual users' identities are confidential, they are never reported to, for instance, course heads. Individuals may opt out of swiping in and still use McGraw services, but they must tell McGraw staff they are doing so and be prepared to provide their name and netID in writing solely for the purpose of making accurate counts.

All data will be managed in accordance with the University Information Security Policy and forthcoming Privacy Policy, as well as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which is documented in Rights, Rules, Responsibilities.

How can McGraw help me deal with Princeton’s large reading loads?

Regarding the large reading loads, you, like the many Princeton students who have managed them before you will learn new strategies for reading at different speeds and at varying levels of depth. At McGraw we can teach you some strategies for skimming and scanning, reading faster, enhancing your comprehension and recall and reading more deeply and analytically. I know it sounds daunting now, and it will probably be quite challenging, but I’m confident that with input from McGraw, your instructors and your classmates you will adapt by developing new reading and learning from text techniques.

Where can families get information about McGraw Center resources and helping their students?
Parents, guardians and other family members can play a vital role in guiding their students to useful learning support resources, including those at the McGraw Center. 
We have compiled some useful information family members of Princeton students can use to discuss McGraw programs and services with your student and help them engage in the appropriate resource.

Contributing to the McGraw Center

Students can become part of the McGraw Center by applying to become a tutor and/or learning consultant, and I really encourage you to do so. You can also contribute to Principedia or join the Student Board, which is the student group which runs the website, leads events, etc.—even during your first year at Princeton. Additionally, I am personally always enthusiastic about working with students to help them pursue interests and projects of their own, which might range from developing an app. to conducting and presenting research like students did at this recent symposium.