College Executive Function Tutoring
In college, students are suddenly faced with freedom and they no longer have the structure they had in high school and in their home life. For parents, it can be hard to know how to support your young adult while encouraging their independence. You might be worried about whether or not they can avoid distractions and get their assignments done, if they can manage their workload, or if they can maintain their grades without becoming overwhelmed. At Organizational Tutors, we empower college students to succeed academically and socially by helping them develop positive habits and organizational skills.
Areas We Address
We create personalized plans to help college students achieve their goals and the focus will depend on the student’s needs. In general, some of the executive functioning skills we help college students strengthen include:
Organization and Planning
With greater autonomy, organization and planning skills are increasingly important for college students’ success. Sessions will explore and address these skills related to all areas of students’ lives, including organization of their work space, devices, and class materials, as well as planning for specific assignments and overall schedules. Students will learn EF strategies such as prioritization and backwards planning, and will work with tutors to establish effective, sustainable routines and habits.
Time management, including the accurate estimation of time passage and task duration, is a foundational EF skill and a key component of effective scheduling and work management. Sessions will facilitate the learning and reinforcement of this skill set through insight-oriented activities, use of tools (e.g., clocks, calendars), and other strategies, such as backwards planning. Skills will be implemented in session and reinforced between sessions with practice.
Task Initiation and Focus
Through identification of barriers and the development of skills, tutors will assist students in decreasing procrastination and avoidance behaviors and improving efficiency. Students and tutors will target internal and external distractions by establishing productive work environments (including students’ physical environments and their devices), fostering routines, and encouraging mindfully scheduled breaks.
Cognitive flexibility refers to the automatic and intentional ability to switch between tasks, and the ability to incorporate new information by adapting prior thoughts and habits. In addition to building targeted skills for critical thinking and flexible thought as related to academic assignments, sessions will assist students in developing awareness of and insight into set switching difficulties.
Executive Functioning Coaching Toolbox
We pair the student with the ideal tutor based on the student’s personality, learning challenges, and needs. We then create a personalized plan that focuses on improving and expanding the student’s executive functioning skills.
Our tutors use evidence-based techniques and strategies, which may include:
- Focus & Motivation
- Exams & High Impact Assignments
- Organizational Systems
- Future Planning
- Coaching the student on how to advocate for themselves with their professors and employers (if they have work study or other employment while in school)
- Encouraging cognitive flexibility: working on applying skills and concepts learned to different contexts; aiming for the ability to handle transitions without disruption (e.g., smoothly transitioning from a writing seminar to Chem lab to Spanish; dealing with the unexpected)
- Examining with the student how they think and learn. Helping them reflect on what they think are their strengths and areas for improvement; working with them to improve upon their ability to keep tabs on what learning strategies work best for them, what resources they have available to them, and how ready they feel for a task
Focus & Motivation
- Discussing and identifying with the student what motivates them. Developing a rewards system that utilizes these motivators to harness productivity
- Identifying mindfulness and wellness exercises that appeal to the student; discussing implementing them as breaks to re-focus and re-fuel, particularly during lengthy or more challenging tasks that require sustained attention
Exams & High Impact Assignments
- Formulating a system for initiating, breaking down the task into steps, and completing significant (and often daunting) writing assignments like term papers and projects
- Coaching the student on test taking skills for college exams
- Reflecting with the student on the organizational/planning systems they have in place and ways they could be improved or optimized. Tutors are up-to-speed on the latest innovations and can suggest apps and other technology tools to streamline productivity and replace less efficient systems.
- Working with the student to hone their system of calendaring (or implementing a new one)
- Aiding the student in how to organize workspaces (both their own and ones in communal settings like libraries and common rooms); jointly considering what conditions the student requires for optimal focus and productivity and how to retrofit temporary workspaces with less than ideal conditions
- Reviewing ways the student can apply their honed executive functioning skills and elements of the organizational systems they have in place to an internship or job opportunity that they are pursuing and how to talk about that during an interview
- Guiding the student in approaching planning for life after graduation