Illustration by Anna McGrew.
Illustration by Anna McGrew.

Stuck in sociology or losing steam in STEM? College courses can stress you out when you don’t know how to prepare for exams, complete homework or develop study skills that work for you. Luckily, UC Santa Cruz offers several on-campus academic resources for college students in need of tutoring, advising and other support.

Learning Support Services (LSS)

Have you ever ventured past McHenry library and wondered what’s in that wooden building overlooking Monterey Bay? This is the Academic Resource Center, home to a popular program called LSS.

LSS provides students with “interactive, peer-based academic communities” in the form of small group tutoring, drop-in services, writing tutoring and the Modified Supplemental Instruction (MSI) program. MSI is led by students who have excelled previously in the courses they instruct. These students hold multiple sessions per class for any student to access — LSS services are paid for with student fees.

Given that students are expected to study up to 15 hours per week per 5-unit course at UCSC, MSI learning assistants help students cultivate study habits while giving them time to clarify difficult course concepts in a structured space.

LSS prioritizes increasing students’ confidence in their classes while challenging them to develop intellectually. The program supports over 20 classes per term in subjects like chemistry, philosophy, biology and economics. Students who use these services become eligible to attend exam review sessions and could receive extra practice problems.

Additionally, all UCSC students are eligible for one hour of weekly private writing tutoring through LSS. This tutoring can help students write and edit essays for their major courses, except essays associated with core courses and Writing 20, 21 and 23 — the writing department hires its own course assistants to support these classes.

Where to find it: LSS is located in room 221 of the Academic Resource Center (ARC), open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)

Succeeding in college can be even harder when you’re the first in your family to go to college, or you come from a household where money is tight. Fortunately, EOP provides academic and personal support for first generation, low income and limited resourced college students.

Students in EOP have access to advisers and academic counselors who can assist in identifying any personal issues hindering their academic success. These advisors can also direct students as needed to other resources, including EOP’s Graduate Information Program (GIP), which encourages EOP students to pursue advanced studies beyond their undergraduate careers. Students experiencing financial hardships are free to use EOP’s Textbook Lending Library if they otherwise would be unable to afford books required for their courses.

Throughout the year, EOP hosts workshops on professional development topics like applying to graduate school, requesting letters of recommendation and networking. There’s no reason you can’t come out of the EOP program without some killer job search materials to kick start your career!

Where to find it:

Students can check their EOP status on their myUCSC portal under the “Milestones/Groups” tab under “Student Advising Summary.” The EOP office is in the Academic Resource Center (ARC) just south of McHenry Library, open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Academic Excellence Program (ACE)

Are you a STEM student looking for help solving those organic chemistry problems? You’ll probably benefit from checking out ACE.

ACE’s mission is focused on increasing diversity of students pursuing degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. In an ACE problem solving session, students engage with their peers to hone strategies for understanding STEM material; this is the perfect place to bring up that one physics problem that makes you and your friend want to scream in frustration. ACE sessions are supplementary to students’ course lectures and do not serve as a replacement for attending course sections, but attending ACE sessions definitely counts towards your weekly recommended study hours!

ACE aims to celebrate underrepresented students in STEM as well as encourage academic growth. The program promotes undergraduate research and student organization, allowing students to surround themselves with other motivated students taking the same STEM classes for their major. In this regard, ACE contributes to a student’s adjustment to the university since the program allows for socially-driven academic support. Why not make friends while learning all about derivatives?

ACE accepts applications from all UCSC students pursuing a STEM degree. However, enrollment priority for ACE problem solving sessions goes to STEM students who are EOP (Educational Opportunity Program) students. Students can apply for different ACE sessions each quarter.

Where to find it: The ACE program office is located at Jack Baskin Engineering, Suite 199. 

Services for Transfer and Re-Entry Students (STARS)

If you’re a student returning to UCSC from a break or coming from a community college, STARS can help integrate you into student life and academics on campus.

STARS offers academic support for transfer, re-entry, readmitted students and veterans to ease adjustment to UCSC and help students get the most out of their academic experience. screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-7-41-35-pmSTARS students can use this resource to access professional staff advisors who answer questions regarding acclimating to campus, keeping up with academics, graduation and more.

STARS also assists graduate students who are 29 and older and students who are foster youth, wards of the court or orphans, through the Smith Renaissance Society.

At the STARS Student Center, STARS students can access study rooms, computer and free printing access, wireless internet, a microwave and refrigerator.

Where to find it: Stop by the STARS office on the second floor of the Kresge College Administrative Building (directly above the Kresge College Office) for drop-in advising Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Disability Resource Center (DRC)

The DRC ensures that students with disabilities have access to all aspects of their education, from being comfortable in the classroom to ensuring they have a fair chance to ace their midterms. DRC accommodations assist students with both permanent and temporary disabilities who need assistance physically getting to class or modifications in the classroom.

Campus-wide, the DRC works toward a nondiscriminatory climate across UCSC and with students to create the learning environments they need to thrive. The DRC implements projects around UCSC to reduce the stigma of having a disability, such as the recent “This Is Disability” poster campaign.

Common academic services through the DRC include student note takers who support classmates with hearing or concentration disabilities. The DRC also offers testing accommodations to qualified students like extended time on exams, a “Distraction-Reduced Testing Environment” (testing either alone or in a small group setting), computer use or the assistance of a reader, scribe or typist.

Where to find it: Students with disabilities in need of accommodations can reach the DRC at (831) 459-2089 or at their office in 125 Hahn Student Services, open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.