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College students face a unique set of challenges as they try to balance their studies with various other responsibilities. To ensure student success, Vancouver Community College offers a range of student services that is in high demand, says the school’s VP academic, students and research.
“These services are a way to smooth the road for students and provide a framework of support for them to help them have a positive experience at school and achieve their goals,” says Dr. Kathryn McNaughton.
Among the student services offered at VCC, all of which are included in the cost of tuition, are Aboriginal services, counselling, interpreting and disability services, tutoring, peer helpers and more. While McNaughton says some of these are standard across postsecondary institutions, others are unique to VCC.
“Our standout services are interpreting services to serve our deaf and hard of hearing students, and our Learning Centre, where we offer easily accessible professional tutoring in math, science, health sciences, business and English. In 2014, we held 21,471 one-on-one tutoring sessions.”
Additionally, McNaughton says, the VCC tutoring services not only help to ensure students do well in their courses, but also help them save a significant amount of money. “For example, private university prep math and science tutors charge $50 to $85 per hour,” she says. “In the Learning Centre, students can receive tutoring from professional tutors for free. The students can come see the tutors every single day, every single week of their term.”
Students are oriented to services through Welcome Days, an interactive opportunity to ask questions and learn all there is to know about life at VCC. “The people who work in the service areas of the college are genuinely interested in their success and having a positive learning experience at VCC,” McNaughton says. “They are committed to doing what they can to help students achieve their goals. Services are confidential and on campus, and we are here to serve their needs.”
VCC is also developing a Learning Commons model, which will be an enhanced one-stop shop for students to access supports.