Academic Coaching

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Academic Coaching is a service provided by Learning Services where students have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a peer academic coach, graduate assistant, or learning specialist to learn strategies to enhance their academic performance and to receive support to help the students stay on task. Academic coaching is free to all Mason students.

Learning Services is located in Student Union Building I, Suite 3600. Appointments are available online or in-person and may be scheduled through our online scheduling program: Navigate Mason or by calling 703-993-2999.

Academic Coaching Topics

There are a number of topics that can be addressed during academic coaching. The coach will customize the sessions to focus on the issues that are important for the student, but the most common topics include:

  • Time management
  • Procrastination
  • Motivation 
  • Concentration
  • Reading
  • Note taking
  • Memorization
  • Exam strategies
  • Academic anxiety                                                                 

How it works
Adapting new strategies and behaviors can be challenging so we recommend that students attend 3-4 academic coaching sessions. Meetings usually take place once a week for about 45 minutes. This allows time for the student and the academic coach to transition to their next class, appointment, or activity.

Initial Meeting
Students are invited to complete an assessment called the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) before
the initial meeting. The LASSI is designed to gather information about current learning, study habits, and
attitudes. Instructions for completing the LASSI will be emailed to the student when they schedule the appointment.

During the meeting, the academic coach will ask about which topics [goals?] the student would like to address in
academic coaching. They will then discuss the student’s current approach to learning and self-regulation
strategies. The coach will then review the results of the LASSI. Finally, the academic coach will share at least
one or two strategies for the student to try.

Follow Up Meetings
At the end of the initial meeting, the academic coach will invite the student to schedule a follow up meeting. At
the next session they will discuss the student’s progress trying out the strategies suggested during the previous
session. Students are encouraged to share their successes and challenges. If one strategy doesn’t work, there are
others that the academic coach can suggest.

In addition to suggesting different time management or study strategies, academic coaches can also help students
understand and start on assignments, help students navigate Blackboard and other online platforms, and help
students reach out to other campus resources. Academic coaches are NOT permitted to assist students with take home
exams or online quizzes/tests.

After about 3-4 sessions, the academic coach will check in with the student to see if the topics they wanted help with have been adequately addressed and whether the student would like to attend additional academic coaching sessions. The student is also invited to complete the LASSI again so that they can see their progress.
The Academic Coaching Program teaches strategies that enable students to enhance their academic performance and provides support to help them stay on task.

Academic Coaches
The academic coaches are successful Mason students who are interested in helping their peers with time management and study strategies. They have been provided education on learning and trained on a variety of strategies. Coaches are supervised by a Graduate Assistant and the Associate Director, Learning Services.

What if I need more help? 
In addition to the academic coaches, the Learning Services Graduate Assistants and Learning Specialists also provide academic coaching. Learning Specialists are professionals who have at least a Master’s degree in education and several years of experience working with students. Students who believe they would benefit from more support than an academic coach can provide, is welcome to ask for an appointment with a Grad Assistant or Learning Specialist. In addition, the Grad Assistants and Learning Specialists focus on supporting:

  • Students who are repeating a class
  • Students on academic warning, probation, or returning from suspension
  • Graduate students
  • Adult learners
  • Students with learning disabilities, ADHD, or autism spectrum disorders

Positive Quotes about academic coaching

“Very helpful, definitely recommend it [academic coaching] for freshman transitioning to college and just in general anyone who needs help with organization and study strategies.”

“[My academic coach] was a good listener who encouraged me to talk through issues that concerned me. She also offered her own ideas as to how to combat my poor time management in creative ways (i.e. bullet journals).”

“They really helped me to interpret the steps I needed to take in terms of what to study and how to approach the exam.”

“I feel much better about school from having an academic coach!”

“Definitely recommend it’s very helpful for time management and learning different studying strategies.”

“The academic coach was very helpful into breaking down what I should study, making it seem that it really is doable and not overwhelming. She was very nice and understanding. It was very helpful that she had taken some of the courses I took. Thank you!!”

Questions?
Please call 703-993-2999, email lsstaff@gmu.edu, or stop by Learning Services in Student Union Building I, Suite 3600.