By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – Asking for help can be hard.
Many college students who are struggling academically have a difficult time admitting they’re overwhelmed by their coursework and need some assistance.
The success coaches at the University of Nebraska at Kearney understand this fear. They’re here to guide their peers through this process and get them back on track.
Success coaching, offered through the UNK Learning Commons, provides one-on-one academic support for any student who needs a little guidance.
Unlike tutoring, the focus isn’t on a specific subject or exam. Success coaches – UNK students paid to work with fellow Lopers – provide strategies to improve time management, study habits and other areas.
“Our job is to help students in their academic careers as a whole,” said Bayleigh Nemeth, a junior from Cozad who has served as a success coach for two semesters.
Nemeth, a biology major on a pre-med track, enjoys her role as a success coach because every session is unique. The students she works with get to set their own goals and decide which learning strategies to implement.
That also leads to some reciprocal benefits.
“As a success coach, I feel like I learn a lot about my studying skills and how I am successful,” Nemeth said.
Success coaches schedule weekly meetings with students in the Learning Commons, located on the second floor of the Calvin T. Ryan Library. As the relationship develops, most students become more receptive to the suggestions coming from their coaches.
Broc Stuhr, a freshman from Grand Island, said success coaches can be valuable mentors since they understand the challenges college students face.
“We’re invested in you because we’re in the same position as you,” said Stuhr, a supply chain management major in his first semester as a success coach.
Oftentimes, success coaches recommend students take advantage of other services offered in the Learning Commons, such as subject-specific tutoring or the writing center.
“They’re a lot more willing to hear that from you than a teacher saying go see a math tutor,” Stuhr said.
UNK success coaches work with a number of Loper student-athletes sent to the service by their team coaches so they maintain eligibility. Referrals also come from the First-Year Program for freshmen and Kearney Bound program, which provides free tuition to select first-generation college students as long as they maintain certain academic standards.
“Those individual referrals, that’s what brings people in,” said Patrick Hargon, associate director of the Learning Commons.
As of April 5, a total of 51 students had visited the nine success coaches 155 times this semester. During the fall semester, when freshmen are new to campus and more student-athletes sign up, the number of visits reached 368.
Hargon would like to see more students utilize success coaching, because he knows there’s plenty to gain from the service.
“It’s moral support,” he said. “It’s somebody who will be there to root for you, who will be there to talk you through the tough stuff.”
Success coaching is available 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays in the UNK Learning Commons. For more information, contact Hargon at 308-865-8744 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To schedule a session, call 308-865-8905.