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Droppin’ Knowledge

CU Nursing Student Helps Others Succeed Through Tutoring and in the Process Cements His Knowledge

Written by Molly Smerika on October 18, 2023

Michael Fray is a busy BS in nursing student with classes, studying, and other parts of life. He’s also making sure to set aside time to help other nursing students.

michael fray headshot

Michael Fray, a CU Nursing peer tutor

Fray is a tutor through the University of Colorado College of Nursing’s Peer Tutoring Program. He got involved informally this past spring, when one of his professors asked if he could tutor a student in the Accelerated Nursing Bachelor’s Program (UCAN).

“After that, I took on the unofficial role of peer mentor coordinator,” he says. “I came back from classes over the summer and then suddenly found out there’s a new program, and tutors can get paid.”

He worked with Claire Forbes, MEd, who is CU Nursing’s academic success coach. Fray helped create a tutoring handbook and helped with tutor orientation this fall.

Fray saw the need for a program to support the class of first-year students. He says all tutoring programs disappeared during his first year as a student because of the pandemic.

“We didn’t feel we had the support from our seniors, so we had to figure everything out ourselves,” he says. “It’s also easier to create a sense of community between classes, and to not have first-year students struggle like we had to."

"Let us give you advice – I have 124 pages of pathophysiology notes, so let me talk to you and break it down.” – Michael Fray, peer tutor

Flexible Tutoring Schedules

Tutors need to be available for 10, one-hour appointments per week. They can also make their own schedules, giving them freedom to make their own schedules. Sessions can be done in-person or over Zoom.

“I keep my appointments open, because if anything, it provides me with a little break from my own studying,” Fray says. “It allows me to change the subject material on my mind, which feels like a break from my own work. So I’m like ‘Okay, after this tutoring session I’ll have a fresh set of eyes so let’s get back to studying’.”

Fray says he will prep for tutoring sessions depending on the class he’s tutoring or what the student wants. He’ll prepare notes, flash cards, or questions for each session.

“If you have a big quiz on cardiac or pathophysiology, then I’m going to take an hour going over that material, find my highlighted bullet points to see what’s important, then narrow down what we’re going to talk about,” he says.

Fray says students who might need extra help think of the program as a guaranteed one-hour study session where tutors are obligated to keep you on task.

“Even if it’s one, one-hour session, it’s better than not studying,” he says. “I guarantee we will find a time that fits your schedule. Every person we’ve tutored so far has left with more confidence than when they came in.”

Why Become a Tutor?

Students need to be a second-year nursing student to be a tutor and must pass the class or classes they are tutoring. It’s also a paid on-campus job.

“If you’ve thought about becoming a tutor, just do it,” Fray says. “It helps cement the knowledge you already know, and it helps out in other classes. It’s said the best way to learn is to teach – and it rings true.”  

He also says it helps create a sense of community among nursing students.

“Even if it’s small, it allows that cross-mingling between classes,” he says. “(My class) didn’t know any seniors, so at least these juniors know the tutors and vice-versa. It creates a community, and that’s something I really like.”

CU Nursing’s website has a webpage with information on students who want to book a tutoring session, or students who would like to become tutors.

Topics: Students