Ways Tutors Can Support Student Success reflects the innovative training, supervision, and assessment that tutor coordinators develop and lead in order for students at colleges to experience the six success factors.
10 Ways Tutors Can
Support Student Success
Students participating in the Student Support (Re)defined study told us that
everyone on a college campus can play a role in their achievement—including
tutors. Tutors are uniquely positioned to help students experience the six success
factors identified by this research (see sidebar, Six Success Factors Defined).
Tutors are supportive as Whether “drop-in” or embedded in a course, tutoring strengthens student
role models. relationships and belonging on campus. Moreover, student tutors participating in
-Focus Group Participant
the study shared that tutoring others made them feel valued and connected.
The RP Group developed these suggestions for tutors and all peer educators in
partnership with Dr. Vandana Gavaskar, Director of Learning Support Services
at Santa Barbara City College and President of the Association of Colleges for
Tutoring and Learning Assistance (ACTLA).*
Six Success Ask students about their Get to know your students as
Factors Defined academic and career goals, learners (nurtured, engaged)
personal and family history, Ask students how they view their own
As part of Student Support and culture (directed, valued, abilities, interests, and educational
(Re)defined, the RP Group
reviewed leading studies on connected, nurtured) experiences to support them as unique
effective support practices and Talk to students about their major, the learners in a specific course and
interviewed both practitioners classes they like most, their personal discipline. Mentor students to minimize
and researchers to identify “six histories, and life experiences to the negative affective domains of
success factors” that contribute demonstrate caring and interest in learning that can cause extreme
to students’ achievement. We their future success. Many participants stress and hamper learning. Help
list them below in order of them identify times they have been
in Student Support (Re)defined—
importance according to those successful as a student and connect
participating in our research. specifically African-American/Black,
Latina/o/x, and first-generation those examples to their current work.
DIRECTED: Students have a students—indicated that being asked to
goal and know how to achieve it share their backgrounds and cultures
Demonstrate how to be a
increased their sense of belonging and
FOCUSED: Students stay on value to the college community.
successful college student
track—keeping their eyes on the (focused, nurtured, engaged)
prize Describe to students the importance
Share your own educational of taking ownership over their own
NURTURED: Students feel
somebody wants and helps them
path (directed, nurtured, learning. Talk about specific ways
to succeed connected, valued) you tackled obstacles during your
Describe why you chose to go to college community college journey and
ENGAGED: Students actively and pursue a specific major, and how changes you made to become more
participate in class and successful. For example, offer ways you
you are making decisions about your
extracurricular activities learned to take and organize notes for
education and career. Ask about their
academic and career choices. Sharing different disciplines and for varying
CONNECTED: Students feel purposes, the value of faculty office
like they are part of the college educational journeys past and present
community can help students understand the hours, and the importance of seeing
benefits of college, learn the processes a counselor regularly to stay on path.
VALUED: Students’ skills, for clarifying and setting goals, and Discuss how you balance school with
talents, abilities, and experiences relate their choices to yours. life, work, and family responsibilities;
are recognized; they have how to ask for help; how to prioritize
opportunities to contribute the workload of multiple courses;
on campus and feel their and how to manage stress related to
contributions are appreciated finances and/or relationships.
*This resource uses the term “tutor” to refer to all peer educators serving our students, including
supplemental instruction (SI) leaders and other learning assistance professionals.