The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Coaches for Academia

Photo by Photo by Carlie Russell

Full-time academic coaches Julie Novak, Luci Rodriguez, Reba Stahr and Marisa Gosset help students improve their study techniques and time management skills.

As exam week approaches, Texas A&M offers a unique way for students to prepare for their tests.
In 2013, A&M began offering a new program in the Academic Success Center where full-time academic coaches help students improve their study techniques as well as their time management skills. These coaches offer several workshops including Commit to Success, Academic Performance Program and one-topic workshops offered on Wednesdays that are available for the student body in Rudder Tower.
“An academic coach works with students on specializing a plan to help them enhance their academic performance,” Omar Figueroa, scholastic performance specialist said. “That can be everything from note taking, to reading, to time management to motivation. We work in various different areas that are related to the student’s specific academic performance.”
Academic coaches can also be seen as personal trainers for your mind, according to Mike Dvoracek, scholastic performance specialist. The academic coaches look at a student’s goals and strengths and design a specific game plan for each individual student to be successful.
When creating a game plan for academic success, each student fills out an contact form before the academic coach can develops a particular strategy to focus on what that individual student’s struggles are.
Dvoracek also works with veteran students on campus as they learn how to adjust back to the educational lifestyle.
“Most of our veterans haven’t been in an educational environment for a while,” Dvoracek said. “They are nontraditional students. They’re older, they usually have some college transfer, but they have different experiences than a freshmen or sophomore. They have a different outlook on life.”
Dvoracek also said that most veterans struggle with managing their time as they have to adjust to setting their own schedules.
“People think that because they were in the military they have time management, but in a lot of cases people were telling you what you were doing with your time, whereas now you get to make those decisions,” Dvoracek said. “Sometimes they’ll struggle with the time management because they have gotten used to someone else setting the schedule.”
Although the academic coaches help students learn better techniques and strategies, the students also leave behind a lesson for the coaches to grow themselves.
“The students helped me to be a little more patient and learn to celebrate the small victories,” Julie Novak, scholastic performance specialist, said. “Some students aren’t going to make big changes.”
Not only do academic coaches develop a strategy for their students, they also hold students accountable and provide a safe place for students to feel comfortable discussing their academic struggles as they are one of the many resources and support systems found on campus, according to Reba Stahr, scholastic performance specialist.
Figueroa said for him, the best part of being an academic coach is interacting with students everyday.
“I get the privilege to work with student’s one-on-one and get to know them on an interpersonal level,” Figueroa said.. “My job is more than giving students a certain strategy, it’s about helping the students along the journey that the student and I walk together.”

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