Last updateSat, 28 Mar 2020 1pm


A Safe Haven for Study Struggles

There is a big exam coming up in your toughest class and you didn’t understand the homework. Your professor’s office hours do not work with your heavy class schedule and this test counts for half of your grade. Before you decide to withdraw from the class, leaving your transcript with a big ‘W’ for the rest of your college career, be sure to make use of all of the available resources that the University offers. For example, visit the Tutoring and Writing Services located in the Center for Student Success on the lower level of the student center.

Dorothy Cleary, Director of Tutoring and Writing Services, has been working to help students with their academic difficulties for the past two years, this semester marking the start of her third year. Prior to joining the University staff, Cleary had worked in the K-12 tutoring industry for 11 years. She wanted to move up to the University level, and interviewed for the position after seeing an ad in a local newspaper. “I enjoy it,” Cleary said. “It’s hard sometimes, but overall I enjoy it.”

Tutoring and Writing Services is a free resource for students who need help understanding their class subjects. They can request a tutor for a specific class online and Cleary works to match them with another student who has taken and excelled in the class. All peer tutors have a 3.0 GPA or better and were hired based on invitation, according to Cleary.

On a normal day at the office, Cleary oversees the peer-to-peer tutoring between the 83 student tutors, five faculty tutors and a wide variety of struggling students. She also teaches skill workshops for students who need help in areas such as organization, time management, note taking strategies, test taking strategies, college reading strategies and email etiquette. Cleary also works closely with First Year Advising.

Cleary said that Tutoring Services has grown significantly in her three years at the University. “I’ve got a wider variety of students asking for a wider variety of subjects to be tutored, which has been kind of my goal,” said Cleary. The number of subjects tutored has increased from 100 to 173 in the past three years, according to Cleary.

The most rewarding part of the job for Cleary is seeing the students who requested help succeed and feel more comfortable with the subject after spending time with a tutor. “When I can find them [students] the right tutor and when I can find them the right resource and get them the answer and the help that they need, the relief of them going, ‘I feel better now,’ or ‘I’m on the right track,’ it gives me a natural high,” said Cleary. “It’s like a puzzle and you listen to the pieces.”

Senior Taylor Kennedy, math major, has been working for Tutoring Services since her sophomore year. She said that math is a subject that students frequently need tutoring in. “Being in college, I have witnessed many students come to tutoring services in a panic. By having free tutoring available on campus, students are able to ease their anxiety and hopefully begin to feel more confident,” said Kennedy.

Tutoring is just as rewarding for the peer tutors as it is for Cleary. “I absolutely love working for Tutoring Services,” said Kennedy. “I also enjoy the fact that I am helping fellow students in need. All students are very appreciative when they come to me for help,” she said.

For Cleary, the people she works with are one of the best parts of her job. “I have the privilege of being up front here because I get to see all the smiling faces coming through. So I like the traffic and I like the questions and talking to people, the whole bit. It’s a very active kind of place,” said Cleary. “The whole day is based around the phone, people coming to the front desk, questions, meetings, teaching workshops and things like that.”

Midterm and final exam time is an especially busy period for Tutoring Services. “Students are a little bit more stressed, so I try, near exam time, to alert my tutors that it’s exam time and that, the requests that I’m sending them, realize that they [tutees] are taking exams, so as you, but be aware of that…the pressure is on everybody,” said Cleary. There are also workshops each semester for midterm and final preparation.

Cleary has full confidence in her tutors, however. “I have a great staff of students. They are very responsive to me, they are respectful and they work with me and they help me do my job,” Cleary said. “I couldn’t do it without them, I really couldn’t.”

Writing Services also help students with papers for their classes. There is one-on-one peer assistance as well as workshops on different writing formats such as MLA, Chicago style and APA. They also hold workshops on how to avoid plagiarism. “We try to run a variety of times and places for different topics so students can take advantage [of the workshops],” said Cleary.

Cleary emphasizes to students that Tutoring and Writing Services are a free resource on campus. She said that students should utilize both Tutoring and Writing Services because they are both at their disposal. “Take advantage of them early and take advantage of them often,” Cleary stressed. To make an appointment for a peer tutor or writing assistant, students can go to the Center for Student Success or make an appointment online at

PHOTO TAKEN by Casey Wolfe

Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151