November 25, 2013

The Academic Resources Center offers a wide range of student services designed to improve and enrich the learning experience of all WPI undergraduates. Located on the first floor of Daniels Hall, the Center provides a vast array of resources to assist students in their pursuit of knowledge. One of these resources is the ARC tutoring program.

There are two types of tutors in the Academic Resources Center: MASH (Math and Science Help) Leaders and Peer Tutors. Both groups are led by undergraduate students trained to provide academic assistance to students in selected courses. MASH Leaders hold meetings three times a week, providing a collaborative learning atmosphere for students. The MASH program has been instrumental in helping WPI students transition from high school learning patterns to the necessary skills needed for college work. Most Leaders have taken the assigned courses before, but they still attend the class throughout the term in order to stay current with curriculum.

Peer Tutoring is more individualized. Students work one-on-one with a Tutor rather than in a group, and Tutors are able to offer assistance in an extensive number of courses and subjects, rather than concentrating on just one.

Extra Help

Sophomore Elizabeth Tomko understands the importance of having such a program available. “After a rough A-Term my freshman year, I have been a regular at the Academic Resource Center. There’s even a class I’m sure I would have NRed were it not for the private tutoring sessions,” says Tomko. “They’re an excellent supplement to course material, and the homework help is invaluable.”

Students can apply online on the Academic Resources Center website to be an ARC Tutor or MASH Leader. There’s an extensive interview process, including a group interview during which candidates are asked to participate in a variety of activities. Then there’s an individual interview where candidates are asked to tutor a specific problem in a content area of their choosing.

“My favorite thing to do is a combination of calculus and organic chemistry,” says senior MASH Leader and Peer Tutor Aaron Benjamin. “I usually tutor the general calculus classes or chemistry classes, but I do a variety of biology and biochem courses as well.”

Benjamin goes on to say that being a Tutor is “one of the most fulfilling jobs you can ask for. It’s awesome getting to know people who come in for tutoring and being able to see their faces light up when they grasp something that they didn’t understand before.”

Scholastic Support

Both the MASH Leaders and Peer Tutoring programs are overseen by Kimberly DeMur, who recognizes the value of offering multiple forms of scholastic support.

“I think it’s important to offer students academic assistance in different ways to best match their learning style. Students shouldn’t be afraid to seek help, and one of the main goals of the ARC is to provide students a variety of ways to do so.”

All undergraduate students are eligible to attend these sessions, free of cost. Students who want to sign up for Peer Tutoring can make an appointment at MASH sessions do not require an appointment.

If students need any more incentive to visit the Academic Resources Center, it seems to be a good place to form friendships, too. “My current roommate is actually one of the first people I tutored here at WPI,” says Benjamin. “We became really good friends, and because of that, roommates.”

- By Kelsey Keogh