M.M. Wilkens Tutoring Center

By Virginia Johnston

Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) offers courses and resources to high school students so they can earn college credits early. However, the campus here provides more than what the average high school student is used to. If Dual Enrollment students are more informed about the resources, they can strengthen their connection to the community.

Dual Enrollment Counselor, Sharon Boonstra, said it’s important for students to familiarize themselves with what’s available. For academic help, there’s the Tutoring Center, Reading and Writing Resource Center, Math Learning Center, and Science Lab right on campus. Also accessible are the Family Pantry, Life Fitness Center, O’Neill Center, Transfer Advising, and Wilkens Library. The college website also provides information for almost anything school related.

“You have to know what resources are there and when you need to access them,” Boonstra said. The transition from high school to college means that teachers aren’t always going to tap a student on the shoulder when something is wrong. Dual Enrollment students need to reach out.

“Step in any time, if you’re not sure about what to do about a problem, see your advisor,” added Boonstra. She emphasized that advisors are here to help, and faculty is generally easy to access if there is an issue.

Boonstra speculated that the reasons students don’t reach out boil down to scheduling and reluctance to ask for help. According to the counselor, most Dual Enrollment students should be aware of what is offered, but they don’t want to make the first move. Unfortunately, this can result in students not achieving their full potential.

Posters for these help centers are on boards all around campus, and professors will usually mention them in class. Boonstra said that if students knew why these places are important, they might be more likely to utilize them. Understanding the process of going can make it less scary.

Lisa O’Halloran, the Academic Coordinator for the Tutoring Center, oversees the peer and professional tutors that work across campus. Peer tutors are students who were recommended by their professors and are trained to help other students. Some of these peers are Dual Enrollment students. The professional tutors are usually adjunct professors who specialize in a few subjects.

“We make it feel welcoming,” O’Halloran said. “We try to keep it friendly.” Some snacks are available in the room and the noise level is kept low. Cubicles separate the murmur of students hard at work on various subjects. If a student wants help with a specific or unusual topic, O’Halloran can usually find someone that fits the job.

To use the Tutoring Center in the M.M. Wilkens Building, students must set up an appointment by going online, calling, or making one at the help desk. Students can book a group session if that is more comfortable, and tutors won’t know if someone is Dual Enrollment unless told by the student themselves.

There is also the Reading and Writing Resource Center in the M.M. Wilkens Building, Math Learning Center in the Science Building, and the Science Lab in the Science Building which all offer drop in tutoring for students enrolled in credit courses. Their hours are available online.

O’Halloran makes a point to say that students who use this resource are excited to show their tutors their improving grades. Even when students can’t make an appointment, they want their tutor to get the message that they are learning. Often a student will ask to have a tutor with whom they’ve formed a bond. By reaching out like this, students can be proud of their work.