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Getting the Most From Your Session

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Preparing for Your Session

On this page, you can find tips for getting the most from your session,  what to expect, and how to prepare for an online appointment.

 Getting the Most From Your Session

  1. Attempt the material on your own first: A p-set or homework problem can be intimidating to start, but we would encourage you to do as much as possible before the session even if you only read the questions. That way, you will know where you are getting stuck.
  2. Come in with a growth mindset: Some students believe their intelligence, strengths, or talents in a subject are fixed and static. We would encourage you to adopt a growth mindset. At the CTL, we believe all of us are capable of developing our skills and becoming better through dedication and effort. Believing that you are capable of learning and understanding goes a long way in helping you actually work through the problem.
  3. Review Our Policies: Our policies outline what tutors will do, guidelines for appointment/drop-in sessions, and our expectations for you. 
  4. Be patient: Learning new material takes time; your brain needs to develop new connections and needs to process new information into your long-term memory. Stick with it, and forgive yourself if understanding doesn't come easily or takes you longer than expected.
  5. Be resourceful: Tutoring is just one resource available on campus, and sometimes, knowing who and where you can ask your question half the battle. You can go your TA/CAs, instructors, the internet, review sessions, study groups, friends who have taken the class before, other tutors, and tutoring resources outside of CTL with questions for the course. There are also other materials you can consult like internet searches, Canvas websites, notes, lecture slides, videos, or podcasts to help you learn the material in other ways more beneficial to your learning style. 
  6. Establish positive study habits: There are certain study habits that may have been successful in the past but will not serve you well at Stanford. Cramming the night before an exam or seeking help too late may lead to frustration, and you may not get through all the material you need. Plan your time accordingly, and ask our tutors or our academic coaches to learn more about efficient study strategies.
  7. Set realistic expectations: You may have a thousand questions you have for the tutor. However, sessions may last between 45 minutes to an hour, which may not give you time to work on everything you may want to. Come to the session with a set of priorities and consider what can be reasonably accomplished in the time you have. For an hour session, you may only work through 1-3 tasks.
  8. Take Responsibility of your Performance: Our tutors act as guides, but they are ultimately not responsible for your performance in the class. We do not guarantee letter grades for visits with us. Your tutor may guide you a certain way, but it is always your choice to listen to any advice that they may offer. Going to tutoring is just one contributing factor to someone’s final grade, and we encourage you to use as many resources as possible to continue growing and to own the work you do.

What to Expect From Your Session

CTL tutors do not complete homework, quizzes, or exams for students. Instead, tutors will:

  • Collaboratively work with students by asking appropriate questions.
  • Act as guides through a problem rather than fix or check a problem for a student.
  • Assist with the learning process. 
  • Discuss study strategies and tips for test preparation while the student provides the materials.
  • Provide feedback while the student makes their own changes.

CTL language conversation partners (LCPs) are not language tutors, so they will not review written work or give explanations about grammar (those questions should be directed toward an instructor). Instead, LCPs will:

  • Lead unstructured and structured conversation practice.
  • Practice oral drills and activities from your textbook with students.
  • Offer feedback and strategies to learn a new language while also improving oral proficiency.

Remember, our tutors/LCPs are students too:

  • Be respectful of their time while they are off-duty. If you see one of our tutors/LCPs in on campus outside of a tutoring appointment, please do not stop them to ask “a quick question.” If you have a question about the homework, please make an appointment or come in during drop-in hours.
  • Do not email or call them outside of tutoring hours about a homework problem or question. Please make an appointment or come in during drop-in hours.
  • Contacting tutors/LCPs should be reserved in cases when you are tardy, canceling an appointment, asking where to meet your tutor/LCP, or clarifying appointment details.

Our tutors and LCPs have the right to end a session when a student is: 

  • Not actively participating in the session.
  • Using a phone, computer, and/or tablet for purposes outside the scope of the tutoring session.
  • Not prepared for the appointment and/or is missing necessary materials (notes, books, homework problems, etc.).
  • Disrespectful to the tutor, other students, or the tutoring space.

Preparing for an Online Session

  1. All of our online sessions happen on Zoom, so be sure to download the software prior to the session. Test your video and microphone before the session. 
  2. Check out our remote learning resources
  3. Close any open tabs/projects and put away phones for the duration of the session to ensure maximum focus.
  4. Having technical issues? Reach out to your tutor via email to let them know!