Tips for a Successful First Session

The following suggestions may help you during your first session:

• Make some initial small talk.  Find out where the student is from, where they live on campus, what other courses they are taking, etc.
• Tell the student more about your own experiences with the material.  You may want to talk about your major, courses/professors you’ve taken before, etc.  While you don’t want to appear overconfident, talking briefly about your background may help the student trust your ability.
• Find out why the student is in the course.  Maybe they are taking French solely to fulfill a distribution requirement – or maybe because it’s relevant to the art history major.  Maybe they are taking symbolic logic because it’s required for a philosophy major – or maybe just because a friend or advisor recommended the class.  Understand your student’s academic position, goals, reasoning, etc.
• Ask the student to talk about the course and subject matter you will be working on.  Are they aware of the areas needing attention, or are they totally “lost”?  Try to gauge the student’s comfort level with the material, their degree of preparation, and their strengths and weaknesses.
• If possible, find out more about the student’s learning style.  They may be able to tell you under what conditions or with what approach they usually learn best.  If you want to learn more about helping students with different learning styles, talk to Julie or Khrystal for more resources.

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