Carlow Culture

The Center for Academic Achievement at Carlow

The CAA front desk, photo by Morgan Mack

Written by Maria Gorscak

The end of the semester is quickly approaching, which means that final projects, papers, and exams are also on the horizon. Luckily, Carlow University has a resource for academic support — the Center for Academic Achievement, or the CAA.

The CAA has several services for any student who needs additional help with a particular class or subject, or who just wants to make sure they’re understanding course material correctly. A big part of the CAA is peer tutoring, which is a course-based tutoring program that offers specialized help for over 25 specific courses like Quantitative Reasoning, Pharmacology, and more. Many of the courses have online, face-to-face appointments, but group tutoring is also available for certain classes. You can also schedule an appointment for general help with writing, which is available for both Carlow graduate and undergraduate students. 

Peer tutoring is conducted by experienced Carlow students, who undergo College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) training and are recommended by faculty members. Due to the pandemic, all tutoring sessions are taking place online, but the video chat function that the CAA is using makes it easy to have that one-on-one connection that you get from in-person appointments.  

CAA information, photo by Morgan Mack

Aside from tutoring, academic coaching is also a service of the CAA, as you can receive general or specialized academic help from one of the three available academic coaches. This is a great service to utilize if you want assistance with time management or improving your study skills, which you can apply to all your courses. Also, the CAA has helpful study sessions and exam reviews for courses that have more difficult material.  

Even though the pandemic has changed many of the CAA’s services to an online format, the tutors, coaches, and staff have quickly adapted to the change of pace. Lisa Sharfstein, Assistant Director of the CAA, says, “Luckily our scheduling program already had the capacity to meet with students online, so that was already integrated. We just had to learn how to use it better.” Science and math tutors had to learn how to transition from physically showing students how to solve problems to doing it in an online environment.  

Despite these challenges, Sharfstein admits that she was proud of how everyone dealt with the pandemic. “I have to say, I was so proud of our tutors, especially a year ago in March…Our tutors were really there for our students even though they were going through the same struggles and the same trauma that everybody else was, so I was just so massively proud of our peer tutors when everything fell apart,” she says. 

If you are interested in utilizing one of the CAA’s services, now is a great time to do so, especially with finals coming up. Some people may think that they have to be failing a class to sign up for tutoring, but the truth is that everyone can benefit from it. Sharfstein says, “Tutoring and coaching is for everyone. It’s for a struggling student, and it’s also for a strong student. Your tuition is paying for this service, so you might as well utilize it and get the most out of it that you can!” Sharfstein mentions that many of the tutors started out as students attending the CAA themselves, which she thinks has helped to reduce the stigma that comes along with tutoring or coaching.  

If you’re interested in signing up for an appointment, you can go to and create an account, which gives you access to all the tutor and coaching schedules.  

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