The Brightside: Education Gap Help

SALISBURY, Md. – Recent studies show just how detrimental COVID-19 was to education, especially for first-year college students. However, a program at Salisbury University is making sure students can overcome it.

“That I will say is a bit of a challenge for me was just adjusting from getting out of that I’m at home mentality to now I’m at school,” says sophomore, Sidney Lebonzo. That’s an issue thousands of students are facing across the country as many transitions out of virtual learning. However, a program at SU is looking to give students the resources to overcome what’s known as the “COVID-19 gap.”

“I think if we’re seeing any deficits nationally with stem, math, and science the most but primarily it’s teaching students how to learn,” says Heather Holmes, Director of the Center for Student Achievement at SU. Holmes tells us too often they see students struggling in class who never ask for help. So the academic center stepped up its game to help first-year students bridge that COVID-19 education gap. “They’re not always prepared to learn at the college level so the learning skills piece or the studying skills piece or strategy is missing a little bit,” she adds.

Students who need help in any of the academic courses can do so through success coaching — supplemental instruction — and a revamped tool — tutoring or peer-to-peer tutoring.
and students like sophomore Sidney Lebonzo — are taking advantage of the much needed resources.

“Improving my habits, fixing how I study, fixing how I set my days to do certain school work and stuff and how to just manage my time. I was scared and nervous to talk to other people and ask for help but you can’t be afraid to ask for help because people are willing to help you.”

Sidney says his freshman year was a bit of a struggle. Not only being in person again, but realizing he felt unprepared for the rigorous schedule and workload. But, after some help from Su’s basketball coach sent him in the right direction, Sidney found some hope and success through this program.

“I put in work in the classroom, I asked my professors a couple of questions about certain subjects, I came here for help so it’s like everything has just gotten better for me. Like my freshman year, I wasn’t really doing well at school until now I made the Dean’s list so I feel like a lot has changed.”

Heather says the center’s ability to help students like Sidney is just what the university needed. And, the assistance from older students is uplifting for first-year students.

“I think what you learn by being a peer leader is amazing to help students to get into grad school, or get their first job.¬†That’s one thing that we have to retrain them on that everybody needs help in a course sometime in their four years.”

And Sidney, a basketball club member and a part of the African student association, is an example of just how well the program can work. You just have to ask for a little help.

“Especially from going through a couple of obstacles my first year until now where I can thank them a lot for the success that I’ve accomplished here so far.”

Sidney also tells us he’s planning to stay on the Dean’s List and maintain a 3.0 GPA.

For more information about academic support services at SU, you can head to their website.

Categories: Brightside