Adjusting to college life and course load can be a daunting task for new students. Add in nursing classes – like pharmacology or pathophysiology – and the process can be overwhelming.
A new program at the University of Colorado College of Nursing at Anschutz Medical Campus is trying to change that. CU Nursing launched a free Peer Tutoring Program in mid-June for first-year BSN nursing students. Overseen by Academic Success Coach Claire Forbes, MEd, it is designed to provide support to the new initiates from second-year students who have “been there.”
“It is a way to get additional support in a class from someone who has already excelled in that class,” Forbes says. “Sometimes it’s as simple as needing a peer to explain a concept in a different way than a professor did to give you that light bulb ‘ah-ha’ moment.”
“I became a tutor because I remembered how difficult my first semester of nursing school was and understand how isolating it can be to have a different learning style,” tutor Kori Woods says. “I think it is so valuable to have a safe space to ask questions, talk through the material, and feel genuinely heard. I love feeling like I'm making a difference in a student’s experience here at Anschutz.”
In the new program, students schedule a one-hour session with one of the program’s six paid tutors who provide guidance and strategies focusing on the first two semesters of classes in the BSN program. They submit information about what classes or subject they need additional help with.
“I encourage people to come to tutoring sessions even if they do not consider themselves to be “struggling”, as these sessions can be a great time to gain clarification, ask questions, go over random content, or even ask about study tips,” tutor Ashlee Ries says.
Students and tutors can meet virtually via Zoom or in-person on campus. Tutors are usually available from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., depending on their availability. Flexibility allows students to get help when they need it.
“Tutoring is the best way to help students grow in the course,” one student says who used the program this summer. “It helped me a lot, and hope it helps others too.”
The Program’s Popularity
Tutors offer guidance, clarification, and study tips. Available virtually or in-person, the program's popularity is soaring, with 210 appointments booked since the program launched in mid-June.
“When you’re working with a peer tutor, there’s some students who maybe had bad prior experiences or maybe they’re shy when it comes to speaking a professor,” Forbes says. “Having a peer tutoring program takes that out of the equation because it’s just another student. You don’t need to be nervous to say anything to them.”
“It is really amazing to get a lesson in such a simple way from students. It was a really great experience. I would recommend it (the program) to every student,” another student says.
Learn more and sign up for a tutoring session.
Forbes says the program is expanding to offer tutoring for students in the UCAN (University of Colorado Accelerated Nursing) program. She also wants to expand the program to include group tutoring and add more tutors. The program will hire tutors for the next academic year during the Spring 2024 semester.