Peer Tutoring at National University
Education in the health sciences can be challenging, especially at the professional level. At National University, we support your academic success with free peer tutoring at both our Illinois and Florida locations.
Tutors Share Basic Science “Survival Tips”
Meet Mary Simon and Nikki Patel, peer tutors who are both naturopathic medicine students. In addition to their regular tutoring sessions, they kick off every trimester at National University with a special presentation on “How to Survive the Basic Sciences.”
“Nikki and I received lots of mixed advice through the grapevine when we started as students, and not all of it was helpful,” says Mary Simon, a peer tutor in biochemistry. “We created this program to zero in on those strategies that really work to improve study skills and grades.”
“For example, the first thing we do is coach students on how to create a schedule. We have them block off their sleeping time first, then any commuting time, then one hour per day for relaxing or socializing. From there, we have them set aside specific times when they will study for each course. When you start with a structured schedule it’s a lot easier to balance all your classes and not fall behind in any particular class.”
“We go over all the science classes that new ND and DC students will take in their first trimester,” says Nikki, who tutors students studying cellular physiology and hematology. “We cover study tips, resources that students may not know about on campus, clinic services that can help with stress relief, and specific considerations for each class and each professor. We also try to dispel any discouraging rumors they may have heard about certain classes.”
Mary also counsels students on how to use National University’s “flex track” options to their advantage. “I was not a science major in undergrad and felt that this might be a disadvantage. I chose an ND flex track that reduced my course load of basic science classes so I could focus more attention on each class,” she says.
Weekly Peer Tutoring Sessions for Each Class
Each tutoring session corresponds to a particular course and is offered on a weekly basis. In their weekly sessions, both Nikki and Mary report that close to half of the students in any given class may attend. During exam weeks, the number may be even higher.
“Peer tutoring is offered for both basic and clinical science courses for all of our degree programs, based on student demand,” says Yesenia Maldonado, director of student services at National University.
Peer tutors are top students chosen by course instructors who meet stringent academic qualifications. The tutors schedule weekly meetings on campus for individuals and small groups. At a typical peer tutoring session may help clarify points from lectures, labs, group discussions or assigned readings. Tutors act as facilitators for student learning, while the student remains responsible for completing all actual coursework.
Tutors like Mary Simon often find it to be a win-win situation: “Many students have thanked me because they’ve been able to study their subjects more effectively and utilize their time wisely. For me, I not only enjoy tutoring biochemistry, but since I plan to specialize in functional medicine, the deeper understanding I’m gaining through tutoring will help me provide better care to my future patients.”
A schedule of tutoring sessions and list of tutors is given to each student during orientation, and is posted each week on the online room calendar maintained by the NUHS Office of Student Services. Peer tutoring is coupled with an accessible faculty that is eager to assist students. Faculty members post regular office hours outside their offices and on their syllabi so that any student may meet with them on course contents for extra help.