Academic support: who to ask and where to go for help

Written by ASSC College student Paige Voss.

There comes a time when we all need some assistance. For me personally, not knowing where to turn or who to turn to is the most difficult part. Below are some of the academic sources and alternatives that you can use to make your time at La Trobe much smoother.

ASK La Trobe

ASK La Trobe is a student help service that is available online and can assist in finding answers to frequently asked questions about study and student life. You can contact them on the La Trobe website, which includes links to topics that may be affecting you.

Topics include things such as student details and ID’s, timetable questions, exam timetables and requirements, and other tricky questions that you need answers to.

Alternatively, you can get face-to-face support on campus or by calling 1300 528 762. There have been multiple times when I’ve had issues with timetabling and clashes- you are bound to have at least one timetable clash in your Uni lifetime, it’s inevitable. Going into ASK La Trobe was so helpful as they were able to explain how it works and alternative options that I could take. It is much more helpful than trying to figure it out for yourself, or panicking!

Learning Support

If you’re struggling with how to get started on an assessment or feel like you could improve your academic work, it may be worth looking into getting some extra, one-on-one support. 

The Learning Hub is a great place to develop and extend skills, for every student, at every level, on every campus through workshops, walk-ins and consultations. They offer specialist and peer support for Academic English, Writing, Study Skills, Maths, Chemistry, Library Skills and Digital Literacy. The program focuses on offering a range of activities to assist with learning and studying during the semester and is a great way to bounce ideas off others.

The Learning Hub also offers online support 24/7 through Studiosity, where you can receive feedback on your writing skills, usually within 24 hours. There is also a live chat with library staff available for advice on research, referencing, and searching for resources.

You might also want to brush up on your skills by taking an academic skills workshop. Check out the upcoming workshops for tips such as how to improve your academic writing, preparing for final assessments and exam strategies.

Course Coordinator

If you are having trouble understanding what subjects you need to take, or are having a hard time choosing an elective that is right for you, then your Course Coordinator is the best person to go and see. This might seem like the obvious choice, but you’d be surprised how many people are hesitant to send that email. You can find these contact details via the LMS.

During my second year at Uni, I had my first ‘what am I doing with my life’ crisis. I wasn’t sure which path I wanted to head down, which subjects would benefit me in the long term and if I had made the right choices during my first year. It was all very overwhelming. I emailed my course coordinator to organise a meeting. I wrote down dot points of what I wanted to do and what I had done. He reassured me that I was on the right track to have the flexibility in the career path I wanted, he even gave me some tips for my resume to help with it. It was the most relieving 20 minutes of my life, and I felt so much more reassured about my future.

Subject Coordinator

If your issues are more about a subject you are taking, whether that is related to content or assessment, then your Subject Coordinator is the person to contact. Getting on top of these issues early before they turn into something that overwhelms you is key. The Subject Coordinator’s details can be found in the Subject Learning Guide and getting in touch by email or making an appointment to seek the support you need can get you moving faster than stewing over your worry.

Extensions and Special Consideration

We don’t always have control over what happens in our lives. La Trobe understands that sometimes unfortunate events occur. Extension requests are best submitted ASAP, butMUST be made at least three days in advance. You are only able to apply for special consideration if the assessment carries more than 15% and meet eligibility criteria. You’ll need some supporting documents to be submitted online, this includes things such as a medical certificate or a funeral notice. For any assessments that are weighted less than 15%, contact your Subject Coordinator to explore your options.

Just remember, if you’re ever stuck, or have a burning question there is always someone to contact. Whether you are speaking with an academic staff member or one of La Trobe’s services, make sure to explore the options that are available to you to help you succeed. The staff at La Trobe are always willing to help and provide the best support possible.

This story was originally published on the Wise ASSC blog.