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December 2005

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Mona Pelkey

How Would You Help This Student?-A Collaborative Best Practices Feature

By Mona Pelkey, United States Military Academy, West Point

"How Would You Help This Student?" is a feature which presents a case study of a student who needs assistance, and asks our readers to share their suggestions for strategies to help this student.

This month's case study:

Tom is a third-year undergraduate student with average grades, but he wants to improve his GPA so he can get into graduate school eventually. He states that his worst problem is procrastination; even though he is aware of term paper, project, and exam dates for many weeks in advance, he does not start anything until a day or two before the due date. As a result, his grades suffer, although he states that he always passes and that he is not worried about failing out of college. Motivated by an academic crisis fueled by a personal one (missing a week of classes while in the hospital), this student came to the learning center to learn how to manage his time better and stop putting academic tasks off until the last minute.

After several counseling sessions, he has made and re-made detailed study plans and to-do lists. He confesses that after planning his study strategy, he returns to his dorm room and surfs the Internet until bedtime. He even confesses that his habit of procrastination is ruining his social life.
Despite his dissatisfaction with his self-described "laziness" and his mediocre grades, Tom is seemingly unable to stop procrastinating. He needs assistance. How would you help this student?

Send your suggestions to Mona Pelkey at Be sure to include your name and institution. If chosen for publication, your suggestions will appear in next month's issue.

If you have a case study you would like us to share with our readers (no student names, of course), please send to Mona Pelkey,, for possible inclusion in future issues.

Questions or comments? Contact the author at

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