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Compass’s Study Skills & Organizational Coaching Program

It’s frustrating for parents, teachers, and tutors to see well-intentioned and bright students struggle. Often stress comes from missed deadlines, incomplete notes, or inefficient study patterns. Compass tutors transform and sharpen students’ organizational and study habits so that students can assume control of their coursework and calendar. Students of all ages struggle to adapt to changes in their daily routines. Starting at a new school or balancing schoolwork with other activities, like participation in sports and extracurriculars, can shift the delicate balance a student had previously developed. How can students plan out their days and workload while dealing with new challenges?

Compass offers a personalized Study Skills and Organizational Coaching (SSOC) program for students to improve their study habits, learn project and time management systems, and adopt organizational methods to scaffold their academic efforts. A Compass-trained SSOC tutor will work to understand your student’s strengths, weaknesses, and concerns, and then respond with recommendations tailored to their learning style. They will collaborate with your student to identify the actions and concrete tools necessary for balancing school and extracurricular commitments. 

Just like Compass test prep tutoring, Compass’s SSOC program is highly individualized. But we do recommend that SSOC tutors and students establish a consistent schedule to reinforce good time management habits, perhaps twice per week for an hour or less per session. A tutor can provide support throughout an academic semester or through difficult or pivotal academic periods. Adjustments to the program, such as shifting from two sessions per week to one session per week, are possible—but they should be made thoughtfully. 

The SSOC program begins with a short assessment of how your student organizes their school work and time. The assessment identifies how and when your student is most productive. The first session comprises project planning, scheduling, goal-setting, and selecting a system for note-taking. The tutor and student will discuss and experiment with time and project management tools and strategies used in a variety of university settings and career fields. Trained in a range of print and digital approaches, as well as techniques that target individual learning styles, tutors will never force their student to adopt a specific app or a strategy. Rather, the goal is to find what works best for your individual student.   

A typical week’s first session is about planning the work for the week ahead, while a second session will be reflective and supportive, helping your student identify what worked and what didn’t work so that they can improve their study and organization systems. As your student recognizes and modifies their study habits over the course of an academic quarter or semester, the training wheels come off, allowing them to own their newfound focus and organization. 

Beyond planning and reflection, this program can also guide students to approach their myriad responsibilities with commensurate time and energy. Students will learn how to:

  • Approach tasks objectively, with an eye for breaking larger tasks into smaller chunks. 
  • Set achievable goals.
  • Prioritize based on time and goals. 
  • Schedule across responsibilities. 
  • Identify and maximize their productive periods. 
  • Gauge the effort needed on assignments. 
  • Read and annotate to retain information. 
  • Create, organize, assemble, and review notes across classes, lectures, discussions, and textbooks. 
  • File documents effectively for retrieval and use. 
  • Communicate professionally with teachers and other educators. 

These skills transform students of all abilities into students who don’t burn out on schoolwork, who can find information within their notes easily, who accept or reject new opportunities with an eye to their current goals, and who develop short-term and long-term schedules to balance their multiple commitments. In short, this is the kind of skilled-up student that is not only ready to take on school, but also well-positioned for college and professional settings.

This blog post was written by Compass veteran tutor, Stephanie M.

Stephanie graduated from Emporia State University with a Master in Library Science in August 2016. She also holds a BA in English Literature from Saint Mary’s College, where she graduated summa cum laude. She works at the San Francisco Theological Seminary library in San Anselmo where she teaches research workshops. During her free time, she volunteers at Ross Valley Players and is an avid cyclist.

The Compass Team

Compass is one of the world's leading providers of in-home and online, live one-on-one tutoring for high school students aspiring to attend selective colleges.

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