What is Academic Coaching?
“I feel like I never have enough time.”
“I study and study, but it doesn’t show on my exams.”
“I’m just not feeling motivated to do my work.”
Does this sound familiar? You're not alone. Academic life at Stanford can be challenging. The pace, complexity, and volume of material encountered in the quarter system challenges students to learn more effectively and efficiently. Our academic coaches help you navigate these challenges by providing you with the tools to balance the many demands that are placed on you as a Stanford student. We work one-on-one with you to help you improve your academic strategies, suggest changes to your approach, find school/life balance, and provide encouragement as you implement new ways of learning.
You can think of an academic coach like a personal trainer. The coach is adjusting the weights, offering new workouts, supporting you, and providing guidance to help you achieve your goals. The obvious difference is that an academic coach is helping you strengthen your learning fitness.
Your goals might sound like this:
- “I want to study more efficiently.”
- “I want to procrastinate less.”
- “I think I could be managing my time better.”
- “I don’t want my anxiety to get in the way of how I perform on a final.”
- “I’d like to retain more of the information I learn for the long-term.”
Stanford undergraduate, master's, professional, and PhD students walk into Academic Skills Coaching sessions year-round with statements like these and many more. Coaches offer strategies, accountability, and inspiration along the way. Book an appointment to start your individual training!
Academic Coaching FAQs
New to Academic Coaching? Welcome! Here are tips on what to expect and how to get the most out of your Academic Coaching appointment.
What is Academic Coaching?
You can work with an Academic Coach to pursue your goals for learning and academic achievement. Your Academic Coach will talk to you about your current strategies and techniques, suggest changes to your approach, and provide accountability and encouragement as you try new ways of learning.
What can an Academic Coach help me with?
Whether you’re an undergraduate or graduate student, we’re happy to discuss any number of issues that impact your learning. Common topics include, but are not limited to:
- Time Management
- Writing essays and dissertations
- Reading and note-taking strategies
- Communicating with advisors/mentors
- Maintaining focus
- Getting "unstuck" on graduate research
- Preparing for exams/quals
- Balancing graduate research and teaching
- Managing test anxiety
- Balancing school and family life
You’re welcome to book an Academic Coaching appointment regardless of whether you have a specific topic or goal in mind.
Who are the Academic Coaches?
We have several professional and peer Academic Coaches on staff. Professional Academic Coaches hold advanced degrees and bring a diversity of academic, professional, and personal experience to their roles. Peer Academic Coaches are graduate or professional students who are familiar with the academic challenges at Stanford. Learn more about our coaches here.
Who do Academic Coaches serve?
Academic Coaches work with all Stanford students at all stages of their academic careers, including undergraduates, graduate students, and professional students, as well as post-docs. We work with students who have gotten As, Bs, Cs, Ds, NPs, and Incompletes.
What is an Academic Coaching appointment like?
You’ll meet individually with an Academic Coach for 50 minutes. In your first session, your coach will ask questions in a friendly, conversational way to understand your current experiences, habits, and possible areas for growth. Then you’ll explore potential solutions together. A typical first appointment includes
- Introductions and answers to any questions you have about Academic Coaching
- Informal chatting about your course load, quarter, and interests
- Discussion of the topic that brought you to coaching or, if you’re unsure, exploration of what a relevant topic could be
- Conversation about strategies that might work for you, and how you'd like to tailor them to your situation
You can make as many follow-up appointments as you’d like. Subsequent sessions are often treated as check-ins to discuss how the strategies went, including what worked and what didn’t. However, you can always make a follow-up appointment regardless of whether you implemented the strategies. We understand that building new habits is difficult, and we’re happy to discuss ways of overcoming these obstacles with you.
You can also bring up new questions and topics that we haven’t covered yet.
How is an Academic Coach different from an Academic Advisor?
If you’re an undergraduate, you are assigned an Undergraduate Advising Director (UAD) based on your residential complex. UADs can help you with things like choosing courses for your major, understanding academic requirements and policies, and identifying research, fellowship, and postgraduate study opportunities. Learn more about Academic Advisors for undergraduates here.
If you’re a graduate student, the details of your advisor’s role are determined by the department or program you’re in. Learn more about graduate advising here.
For undergraduate and graduate students alike, Academic Coaches help you identify learning strategies to help you become a more effective student both in and outside the classroom. See above for specific topics Academic Coaches can help with.
How is an Academic Coach different from a Hume writing tutor?
Hume writing tutors are expert writers who are trained to help students at any stage of any writing assignment. They can help you brainstorm, narrow your topic, organize your writing, improve your research skills, proofread your work, and more. Learn more about Hume tutoring here.
With an Academic Coach, you can talk about things like creating a productive workspace for writing, getting unstuck, managing perfectionism while writing, creating a realistic writing schedule, breaking a large writing assignment into smaller parts, and more.
Does it cost money to book an Academic Coaching appointment?
As long as you are a matriculated degree-seeking student at Stanford, Academic Coaching is completely free of cost. Unfortunately, Academic Coaching is not open to visiting students or scholars, staff, faculty, or lecturers.
I'm on a Leave of Absence, can I book an Academic Coaching appointment?
As long as you are a matriculated degree-seeking student at Stanford, you are eligible to book an Academic Coaching appointment. Students on a flex quarter are also eligible to book an Academic Coaching appointment.