What the Heck is an Academic Coach?

What the Heck is an Academic Coach?

If you’ve EVER seen an athletic game, you’ve seen coaches pacing the sidelines, yelling to players on the field, huddling with other players on the bench. The coach not only plans the plays during the game, but also runs practices and physical conditioning.

But most importantly, the coach doesn’t play on the team. She helps the players prepare for and play the game themselves. And good coaches are indispensable.

Coaches exist everywhere, not just in sports. We might call them by another name – mentor, teacher, tutor – but they are still around. Even in the world of academics.

Have you heard about academic coaching? I started hearing the term a  few years ago and I had a few questions. I bet you do, too.

What is Academic Coaching? And How It Can Help Your Child

academic coach

What is an academic coach?

An academic coach is someone who coaches, or teaches students how to stay organized, plan their time, study effectively, and improve work habits. An academic coach helps students improve their grades and confidence.

Most people who call themselves academic coaches have a background in education, but that is not guaranteed. There is no formal training or certification to become an academic coach. If you’re hiring someone as an academic coach, be sure to ask them what qualifies them for the job.

Many colleges provide academic coaching for struggling students and the trend is moving into younger grades as well. A few high schools (though not many) offer study skills classes for students; if structured correctly, those teachers serve as academic coaches.

What’s the difference between academic coaching and tutoring?

Tutoring tends to be content or skill-specific. Tutors usually work on individual course content or skills. Think of a tutor for chemistry. She has a background in chemistry and can explain concepts, help review material, and prep for tests.

However, most tutors (myself included) are both tutors of specific content AND academic coaches. I taught Social Studies for 15 years, so some of my students come for help in AP U.S. History or AP World History.  I love teaching and tutoring history – it’s my jam.

But of my students actually come for academic coaching. That’s right. Most of my sessions are spent on study and organizational skills. I inspect student grades, make to-do lists, create schedules, introduce study skills, and help students get and stay organized.

Does my child need an academic coach?

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Is your child struggling in just 1 or 2 classes and does that struggle seem to be specific to the content? If so, consider a tutor with expertise in that course content.

Is your child struggling in a variety of classes and those struggles seem to be related to organization, test-taking, or time management? It might be time for an academic coach. Their coaching can help your child improve skills that she uses across content areas.

How do I find an academic coach or tutor?

Luckily, you can find academic coaches in person or online in the same manner you find a tutor. And I’ve already tackled that one! Find out how to find the best tutor or academic coach for you. (Psst – I would love to help. Schedule a free consultation with me!)

What do you think is the most important skill an academic coach taught you? Let me know in the comments below!

Related Posts: How to Find the Right Tutor for Your Child, How to Know If Your Teen Needs a Tutor, What the Heck is Executive Functioning?, Busting the Top Myths about Online Tutoring

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