Top tips for ESL student academic success - Durham College

Top tips for ESL student academic success - Durham College

Top tips for ESL

student academic


Top tips for ESL

student academic success

1. Get to know the people who can support you

Your professors are your first support, but

if you need more help, the ESL specialist

at the Student Academic Learning Services

(SALS) centre can help you with any

academic English language problems you

are having at college. Also, the diversity

officer in the Diversity office can help you

if you ever need guidance in a situation of

cultural misunderstanding between you

and someone else.

2. Continue to improve your english

English will likely create many challenges

for you during your time at college. Join

the new Conversation Circles or the popular

Conversation Partners program at SALS.

Join a club through the Student Association.

You might even book an appointment with

the ESL Specialist in the Student

Academic Learning Services centre for

more ideas about developing your English

language skills.

3. Get to know your resources

You should spend time to explore and

discover the campus library and the Student

Academic Learning Services centre. You

should find out your professor’s office

location and hours, and you should know

who your student liaison (advisor) is and

how to contact him or her.

4. Learn how to use Web CT

Web CT is an Internet tool to link students

with their professors for class information,

instructions, and content. It is important to

know how to use this system well to access

your class assignments, class notes, class

discussions, and more. To access Web CT,

visit or

visit SALS for more guidance.

Student Academic Learning Services (SALS)

Student Services Building (SSB), Room 204

5. Learn about rubrics

Rubrics are documents that professors

include with assignments to explain the

expectations and requirements. They show

you exactly what the professor expects from

your work. You should find out more about

rubrics and how to use them to understand

the requirements of your assignments.

6. Learn how to improve your in-class participation

At college, your professors not only expect

you to be a good listener, but they also

expect you to join discussions, ask

questions, and volunteer answers. Your

participation in class will help to ensure

your understanding of course content.

7. Attend SALS centre workshops

A workshop is similar to a small class that

covers one topic in 50 minutes. The Student

Academic Learning Services centre offers

many workshops including acculturation,

writing, presentation, and learning skills.

Since there is limited seating for each

workshop, students need to sign-up for

them at the front desk of the SALS centre.

8. Ask questions when you do not understand or

when you need help

Your education is your responsibility. There

are many people at the college who would

be happy to help you, but they do not usually

know what you need help with. You must

learn to ask for help or clarification when

something is not clear. You must ask

someone for help very soon after you realize

that you need it. Do not wait for someone

to ask you because it might be too late.

9. Use the academic support available

Visit the Student Academic Learning

Services centre and make an appointment

with the ESL specialist.

T 905.721.2000 ext. 2491

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