5 Tips To Help You Find The Right Supplemental Instruction For Your Coursework

5 Tips To Help You Find The Right Supplemental Instruction For Your Coursework

If you’re in college, you know that a big part of the student experience is finding the right supplemental instruction for your coursework. You have a lot of options to choose from, and it can be hard to narrow them down. Here are some great tips on how you can find the right SI for your needs.


What is supplemental instruction?


Supplemental Instruction (SI) is an academic support program. SI learning is a voluntary program. SI sessions are offered in the fall and spring semesters. The program is designed to provide students with support outside of the classroom, and to enhance the learning experience. SI sessions are facilitated by trained SI leaders who have been successful students at the University of Washington. The first step toward deciding whether an SI session is right for your program or school is to determine which resources are available on campus. Here are some resources:

The integrated calendar tab on your MyUW app can hold some very helpful information, including which courses exist in your program and which ones are also offered at another school.

Visit the Office of Student Services website for a more comprehensive listing of programs by faculty and department.

Solace and resilience are two essential components of successful post-high school education. After you graduate, prospective students may start preparing for and moving into jobs. While job-search assistance services exist, it can be difficult to narrow the number of job postings down to find the right fit for you, especially during a time of crisis.

Firstly, I want to highlight the importance of developing a plan for post-grad employment. Developing the skills and knowledge you’ll need to stand out during job interviews and being prepared for the needs of your chosen career can make all the difference. I’ve seen so many students work through a list of potential job titles and completely ignore all of the steps to developing other skills that will help them land their first role. I can’t stress enough the importance of developing your “toolkit” for post-grad employment.

You may have heard in media stories about “job-hopping”, where college graduates are looking for jobs in new fields. While this certainly happens, the reality is that most graduate students enter a job market that is in flux. Many graduates find themselves in a position in their field that was once filled by a highly qualified candidate, but now has a vacuum due to the coronavirus pandemic.


The purpose of supplemental instruction


Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a series of academic support sessions for students enrolled in a specific course. SI sessions are facilitated by peers and are designed to help students develop the skills, strategies, and confidence needed to succeed in the course. SI is a voluntary program that complements the existing academic support services provided by the university.

If you’re not sure what type of supplementary instruction your university offers, I’ve mapped out the different kinds of programs here.

The main goal of a course supplement is to make the academic work more interesting, allowing students to gain valuable experience outside of the course and support them during their last few weeks of class before heading off to social events, work, and other extracurricular activities. These activities are a great way to connect with fellow students after completing a hard semester of studying — feel free to implore your classmates to support you in these endeavors!

“Students are actively engaged in student-led clubs, intramural sports, service clubs, and other student-led student organizations… Through these groups, students access additional resources and new peers.” -HuffPost

In addition to providing awareness and encouragement, you may also want to offer your peers some sort of practical or career-centered guidance. Of course, this can vary based on your institution, but if you’re struggling with supporting your peers during these times, perhaps a Career Choice kit can help. It’s a 3-course elective that provides tools, resources, and directions to help students in their careers. Past participants have gone on to secure internship and grant opportunities, advance through their local colleges and universities, and more! It’s a great program that can help you connect and support your classmates through the most challenging times of their lives.

If this sounds like something you’re interested in, note that it’s actually an online program. You just need to design the outlined courses ahead of time. Once you create your plan, you can book your session through the school’s career center, and they’ll be able to help you create your session outline and schedule.


How to get the most out of your SI experience


Success in your SI experience is determined by the amount of effort and determination you put into it. You’ll have times when you’re not sure if you’re doing the right thing but just keep pushing through and working hard and you’ll be able to get to the other side. Really good students have the ability to recognize when they’re not doing the right thing, in order to prioritize the right skillset, knowledge, and personal traits.

We can use this concept to identify greatSI. Scenario 1: You master a new language, perfectly, and the response from friends and family is “great job, but are you sick yet?”

Here are two responses you can respond with:

Scenario 2: You have the highest GPA, study hard for every class, and you get accepted to a master’s program after 3 semesters. Back home, your friends and family say you’re incredible and you should apply to a business program not 10 minutes away.

Here are two responses you can respond with:

If there’s someone that you’re really close to, you’re probably willing to sacrifice something in order for them to know you really well.

Set yourself some goals, remember these need to be opportunistic but not unrealistic. If you had to give up your weekends to go to the movies, that’s a sacrifice you’re willing to make in order to spend time with your significant other.

If you enjoy skiing, which hobby is more important to you: ice skating or snowboarding?

This whole selfish quest to be the best in everything is damn near exhausting.


How to find the right fit for you


The most important thing when it comes to your career is to find the right fit for you. Do you want to be an Account Manager in the insurance industry? Would you like to pursue computer programming? Find out what your career goals are. Once you know what goals you have, put what you want to learn into the search engines and develop your own strategy on how to get there.

 Take a look at the libraries in your college town. Also, look at where the professors teach. Are they reading scientific books? Politics? History? Do they always give you the answers to the quiz? Look at professors’ websites to find out what they talk about. Take a look at the websites their research associates use.

 Also, look at the Coursera website for most universities. Find out what you can learn with online classes.

 The American Council on Education is the oldest national accrediting agency. It states on their website that “though distance learning has many unique features, it is not necessarily the best choice for all college students”. 

However, lots of colleges use the distance learning model now. You should clearly know what you can truly expect from it.

 So How can you actually set yourself up for success? I would suggest first reading an article about someone who chose distance learning and second checking out their portion of the American Council on Education’s website.

Some things to consider when choosing supplemental instruction


When choosing supplemental instruction, you should consider; 

  1. What your budget is 
  2. Whether you’re looking for an online or in-person class, and 
  3. What the length of the class is.

The higher the cost, the more you should consider. The general rule of thumb is to aim for 5–20 credits of elective classes covering a broad area, such as Language or History, with a lower cost per credit than your regular classes.

Where class sizes are kept small is a question that comes with approximation. Students often stay in smaller classes to save on fees, but you should be sure to ask your instructor about class size and location for advanced placement and college readiness questions. If the class seems too small, you may have to find another location.

A common misconception is that live classes are worth their cost of admission overnight at the cost of thousands of dollars. To quote professor Coy Britton from her class “Ontario Politics, Culture, and Media: From the David Suzuki Conservatory of Nations”:

I encourage my students to extra-curricular activitieshttps://studentlifestudies.tamu.edu/extracurricular-vs-co-curricular/, and have set limits to their spending. My students today will learn a foreign language in film or animation class. They may want to watch a French track at university. Or they will get an email asking them to volunteer at a local nursing home later this term if they have enough credits to qualify. Professional development is a needed extra, and never a “gift.”

Careful consideration of the elective classes you’re interested in should help you hone in on which classes will best strengthen your skills and understanding. After all, you’re only limiting your options if you don’t pick the right classes.

The length is a critical factor, especially with an online class. You don’t want to waste valuable class time on tasks or assignments that aren’t giving you the best return on investment.



These tips can help you find supplemental instruction that can improve your academic performance and give you a competitive advantage over other students in your courses. Supplemental instruction is essential for those who want to succeed in their college courses. Do some research before you make a choice about which one is right for you!


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