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What Is an Academic Counselor?
The Stratton Foster Academic Support Center staff is here to ensure our student-athletes fulfill their academic obligations with discipline, perseverance, and integrity. An Academic Counselor’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to, meeting weekly or bi-weekly with all student-athletes from their assigned athletic teams, monitoring study hall, checking class attendance, and referring the student-athletes to the appropriate campus-wide resources.
The Academic Counselor meets weekly with every freshman and all student-athletes who are in danger of falling short of achieving good academic standing by Vanderbilt University standards. In these weekly meetings, the following items are discussed:
- Academic progress, including recent grades the student-athlete has received on exams, papers, quizzes, projects, and/or class assignments.
- Upcoming events and/or assignments due in the student-athlete’s courses.
- Evaluation of the student-athlete’s time management and study skills.
- Tutoring and/or review session options.
- Preparation for team travel, including when assignments will be completed if traveling, in coordination with the student-athlete’s professors.
In addition to weekly meetings, each Academic Counselor communicates every other week or as needed with all other student-athletes on the counselor’s respective athletic teams.
The Stratton Foster Academic Center is open to every student-athlete on Sundays from 12:00pm-10:00pm, Mondays-Thursdays from 8:00am-10:00pm, and on Fridays from 8:00am-5:00pm. For quiet studying, private study carrels are available in the bi-level facility. Along with the carrels, several sofas and chairs are located throughout the center and provide a more comfortable studying environment. Two computer labs are also conveniently located for student-athletes to write papers or do research while in The Stratton Foster Academic Center.
Every freshman and selected student-athletes are required to accomplish between 8 to 10 hours of study hall each week. The Academic Counselors, along with study hall monitors, oversee study hall each evening. This study hall requirement is designed to help the student-athletes with time management skills and to help them adjust to the challenging academic expectations at Vanderbilt University.
The Department of Student Athletics has a very active Tutoring Program with the goal of providing the student-athlete with the best possible academic assistance. The Tutoring Program has tutors covering over 30 different academic areas, and working with over half of our student-athletes. If a tutor is needed in a subject not currently covered, the best effort will be made to hire an additional tutor to fit the student-athlete’s need. Individual as well as small group tutoring is available to all student-athletes. All tutoring sessions are held throughout the Academic Support Center.
All tutor requests are to be made through the student-athlete’s Academic Counselor. After each tutoring appointment, the tutor submits a report of the session, updating the Counselor and the Tutor Coordinator on the academic progress of the student-athlete. Tutoring sessions act as a review and further explanation of the material covered in class, not as a substitution for class attendance. All services are provided at no cost to all student-athletes.
Class attendance is critical for all student-athletes due to the high academic expectations at Vanderbilt University. Because student-athletes do miss a limited number of classes for athletically related travel, it is imperative they attend all classes while on campus. Counselors perform random class checks on all student-athletes throughout the course of the semester.
Referrals to Campus Resources
Because the Academic Counselor interacts with the student-athletes on a regular basis and develops close relationships with them, he/she may discover information that makes it necessary to refer a student-athlete to the various campus resources at Vanderbilt. These campus resources may include:
- Career Center
- Dean’s Offices
- Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services
- Faculty Academic Advisor
- Life Skills
- Psychological and Counseling Center
The Academic Counselor for each athletic team will contact professors at the begining of the semester with the dates and times the individual in their course will miss class for athletically related travel. The Counselors follow up this letter with an e-mail a week in advance, to serve as a reminder to the professors of his/her student-athletes who will not be in class. It is also expected that the student-athlete will develop good lines of communication with his/her professors regarding athletically related travel and remind the professors of an absence in a timely manner.
Counselors also notify professors and college deans of class absences due to surgeries, illnesses, deaths in the family, or other extenuating circumstances that would keep the student-athlete out of class.
Additional Responsibilities of an Academic Counselor include:
- Serve as a “counselor” to the student-athletes in the sense of helping student-athletes deal with issues of making the transition from high school to college, handling the demands of a stressful academic and athletic schedule, homesickness, relationship break-ups, and/or roommate adjustments. The Academic Counselor serves as a sounding board to the student-athlete.
- Meet with professors, advisors, and college deans as requested.
- Serve as a resource to professors if problems arise with a student-athlete with which they would like the assistance of an Academic Counselor.
- Report academic progress to coaches, usually on a weekly basis.
- Coordinate awards for academic, internship and scholarship opportunities.
- Collect and report data to various offices (e.g., SEC for Academic Honor Roll achievements, Vanderbilt University Associate Provost’s Office, Board of Trust, etc.).
- Ensure all student-athletes are in compliance with NCAA Academic Eligibility requirements.
- Meet with prospective student-athletes and their families while on campus.
Degree Completion Program