Seeking College Help

Seeking College HelpWhenever you get confused about what to do or where to go in the school, go to “student services.” Most colleges have a student services center that can help you with just about everything you need. It’s like having your own concierge, but I doubt if you’ll get free baseball tickets, though it’s worth a shot anyway. Student services can set up tours to your potential college or even help you find housing if you’re relocating. Check your chosen school’s Web site for student services information.

  • On campus, just because someone is a “specialist” or an “expert” or “counselor” doesn’t mean they know an orange from a mango transformed into an apricot. Sometimes these people guess to try and look smart, or the rules have changed since they last inquired about a situation like yours. You are your best ally. And in the end, you are responsible. Never trust one person’s word on anything. Use your common sense. Ask at least three staff members, and if two of those persons agree, scrutinize those answers further. Research it and check it out yourself. Go to the president’s office if you have to (but only if you must!).
  • Most colleges have organizations for disabled students too. Students with disabilities should let professors know, so he or she can make the proper arrangements. Sometimes you must have proof that you are in fact disabled, unless your disability is visible. Otherwise, the professor might not believe you. A dyslexic student in one of my classes failed algebra because she didn’t tell the professor about her disability (I failed algebra the first go ‘round anyway). The professors should know, unless they are the president of the disability organization at the college, of course.
  • Free tutoring center–right! Okay, to be fair, most colleges have tutoring facilities on campus, technically speaking. However, you might have to fight hundreds of students to get the attention you so deserve. Oh, I don’t know, there may be one tutor per 20 to 30 students at any given time. I suggest you get a study group together, consisting of your fellow classmates. Most likely, you will have grasped things that your peers hadn’t caught on to. And they will know things that you couldn’t wrap your head around. The library offers rooms to students for situations like this. But you can hold a study group in a café, on the school’s lawn, or even at a bar (hold the third round of martinis please!). Just be sure to stay focused on the material.


  • Computer–if you don’t own one, you can use the one at school. Most professors want typed papers. This also means that you can use that ragged typewriter that you’ve had since its invention. But don’t hesitate to get a computer because you’ll also have to do research. Supposing you haven’t gotten into this digital age yet. It’s time to get that microchip twinkle in your eyes. Computers are the future–for now, at least–although they said the same thing about electronic typewriters.
  • You’ll also need a student email address so your professor can invade your private life on Sunday afternoons. They’ll remind you to do your homework; read extra chapters; or just plain annoy you (I’m kidding… I think). You can get a “free” email account on Web sites such as or, my personal favorite.
  • Most colleges have healthcare facilities on campus, with services ranging from vaccinations, gynecological care, and other pesky ailments that you’d like to get rid of. Or the school may issue student health insurance to all students. The premium is collected from students’ fees, which can range up to $100 or more per semester. Ask about these services if you think you might need them. You’re paying for them anyway.
  • Your school library has all types of researching information that you may need for class. For free! Lexis-Nexis and all these other Web sites that you’d normally have to pay hundreds of dollars per month is at your fingertips. Seek the help of a librarian if you have to. Library books also help a ton with class research papers. But if you’re looking for Tom Clancy’s new release, you’re probing for gold-rush leftovers. These books can be ancient, more ancient than you–honest. Most college libraries don’t have the budget like public libraries, unless you plan to attend Harvard.


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