Getting the Most from Your Tutor/Mentor Relationship

Come prepared:
Take time before each meeting to think about what you want to work on. Jot down questions, identify passages in the text that you don’t understand, brainstorm out paper ideas. The clearer your goals are for the meeting, the more you can accomplish. Also, bring your course syllabi, notes, assignment guides, and relevant texts to every meeting. Your tutor will be better able to help you if all the materials are at hand and if he or she has an understanding of your assignments and class work.

Communicate:
Talk with your tutor about your class goals and concerns. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about an assignment or to tell your tutor what you don’t understand. Even the best students (and teachers!) struggle with difficult concepts, complex texts, and getting their ideas on paper, so don’t feel like you are alone. Your tutor will be most effective when he or she understands both what you know and what you need to know.

Respect your tutor’s time and your own:

Like you, your tutor/mentor is a busy student with a demanding course load. Be on time to meetings and be prepared to get the most out of the session. If you have to reschedule, be sure to contact your tutor as soon as possible so the tutor can use the time in a productive fashion, and so that he or she can fit the rescheduled meeting in as soon as possible. Like your’s, tutors’ schedules will get busier near mid-terms and finals. Always call or email if you have to cancel; there’s nothing worse than sitting around waiting to be stood up (again!).

Make every session count:
You may go weeks between major class assignments, but that doesn’t mean that you and your tutor have nothing to do in your weekly sessions. Your tutor can help you with a variety of academic issues, including learning how to take better class notes, how to study more effectively in science and social science classes, how to close read your literature text, and how to better manage your time. Take advantage of time between major assignments to hone your basic academic skills, or to work ahead on major projects that are coming up down the road.

Think ahead:
You may want to schedule extra sessions when you have a paper or major exam coming up. Keep an eye on your calendar so that you and your tutor can build these extra appointments into your schedules, and so that you can work most effectively on these assignments. Managing your time and anticipating and working ahead on projects are both important strategies for classroom success.

Remember your professors:
Don’t hesitate to go back to your professor at any time if you have questions about a lecture, an assignment, or an exam. Hanover professors generally come to the college for the same reasons their students do: because they want to have the kind of close classroom relationships that you can’t get at large universities. Your professor will be glad to answer your questions and to help you get on the right track.

Be active and engaged:

Don’t expect your tutor to spoon feed you information, write your paper, or supply you with answers. Students learn best when they actively engage with the material. The tutor’s job is to help you figure out the material yourself and acquire the skills you need to become a better student. So be prepared to do plenty of talking in the tutoring session as you begin to understand concepts and texts. Take the time to explain to the tutor, in your own words, what you’ve learned. This will help both of you make sure that you have grasped it and can apply it.

Take advantage of other Learning Center services:
In addition to the academic tutor/mentor program, the Learning Center offers tutoring in math, Spanish, psychology, biology, chemistry, economics, and a wide range of other subjects. If you need help in a subject that your tutor isn’t well-versed in, ask him or her to help you find someone with more expertise, or drop in at open hours for more assistance. We also offer Academic Success panel discussions which focus on a variety of academic success skills.


Please contact us with questions or concerns at learningcenter@hanover.edu.