Monday, September 21, 2009

Widening one's audience in academic support

Some ASP professionals have very defined populations under their institutions' goals for academic support.  They may work with "at risk" students or probation students or 1L students.  Other ASP professionals provide services to all law students.

A defined population helps the ASP professional target a smaller number of students; ideally this will mean more individualized attention for those students.  A wide audience helps the ASP professional reach students who actually need assistance even though they fall outside any pre-determined "net" that would be cast by a law school.

When offering services to all law students, the ASP professional must find ways to reach the widest audience efficiently and effectively.  The more varied the approaches, the more likely that the maximum number of students will be helped.  Group workshops and individual appointments can be very effective.  However, here are some thoughts on additionial ways to reach students who may not come to workshops or request appointments:

  • Have handouts and packet materials on study and life skills available for take away.  Students can easily obtain materials without face-to-face contact.  Wall pockets or spinner racks are especially useful for distribution.
  • Publish study tips through the law school media.  Tips columns can be written regularly for the law school newsletter.  Or they can be sent by e-mail on a regular basis to all law students.  Alternatively, they can be posted on a law school intranet/internet sites.
  • Prepare podcasts on specific study topics that can be posted on the law school intranet/internet sites.
  • Have the AV department record any group workshops presented and prepare DVD copies.  The copies can be made available for check-out through the academic support office or the law library.
  • Register for a TWEN site for ASP.  The site will provide a variety of ways to interact with students: posted handouts, discussion groups, podcasts, and other means.
  • Pair with student organizations to present workshops on topics of interest to their members. 
  • Offer to present topics in 1L classes such as reading and briefing cases, graphic organizers, or exam taking.
  • Periodically provide students with e-mailed links to outside resources on academic success: the Law School Academic Success Project, other law school ASP sites, practice exams at law schools, web sites on stress managament.
  • Alert students to your university's main campus programs dealing with stress management, test anxiety, depression, or other topics.  Programs are often sponsored by the Student Health Services, Counseling Center, or Recreation Center that can benefit law students, but would be overlooked by them.

Students appreciate access to information to improve their study strategies and life balance.  They often will benefit from ASP outreach when they would not consider attending a structured event.  (Amy Jarmon)

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