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A-LEC aids students in college transition

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After getting settled into your dorm room and meeting new people at Mustang Corral, you find yourself sitting in your first college class.

You have been anticipating this moment since high school graduation and a wave of panic washes over you when you realize you can’t quite grasp what the professor is saying. You wonder how you are going to be able to do your homework later when you don’t understand the material.

Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Visit SMU’s Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center, located in Loyd center attached to the northwest corner of Ford Stadium.

For the past 25 years, the A-LEC has been available to all students free of charge. According to A-LEC director, Sue Bierman, the goals of the A-LEC go beyond helping students get high scores.

“One of our main goals is to get students to feel more comfortable with what they are doing in class,” Bierman said, “Our mission is to help students become independent and confident.”

The A-LEC offers a writing enhancement center, workshops, and tutoring. Students are encouraged to bring in their papers to the writing enhancement center and have them edited before turning them in. The A-LEC offers a wide range of workshops throughout the year dealing with things like time management or how to improve test scores. Most of the A-LEC tutors are students that have been referred by their professors and are very knowledgeable on the courses they tutor. The workshop and tutoring schedules can be found on the A-LEC website.

“I went to the A-LEC every day for statistics freshman year and it was a godsend,” said journalism major Caroline Morehead ’14. “I gave my tutor a Christmas present because I would not have gotten an A if I hadn’t had gone to the A-LEC for tutoring.”

Another favorite from the A-LEC are their ‘semester at a glance’ sheets, which is a one-page semester calendar with important SMU dates already included. This provides an easy tool for time management.

“Each semester I always use a semester at a glance sheet,” said advertising major Allison Hackett ’14. “It’s really great time management.”

Rather than struggling all semester with a class, Bierman recommends coming in as soon as things start to get difficult, noting that 75 percent of students visit the A-LEC at least once their first year at SMU.

“Freshman should come over and get a ‘semester at a glace,’ come to one of the first few time management workshops. If there is anything that isn’t clear the first few weeks of class, they should come and start working with a tutor,” said Bierman. “You don’t have to make an appointment.”

This year, the A-LEC is now offering a section of ORACLE exclusive for transfer students.

It has also added coverage in the writing enhancement center specifically for students from the English as a Second Language program.

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