Support Services

On Getting Help
Academic Support Services is comprised of a number of programs that are designed to help Colby Students maximize their academic success. We want students at Colby to know that there are opportunities for them to obtain help when they need it. Our arrangements for residential living at Colby include a carefully selected upperclass hall staff and a number of resident faculty and staff members who are always eager to assist students. Each new student will be assigned a faculty advisor (who has a limited number of first-year advisees) and an advising dean who are ready to assist with schedule planning and with problems that may arise after the semester gets under way.  Professors in each course are also eager to help students who may need assistance in understanding the concepts, methods, or requirements of their courses. General study skills advice is available from the staff of the Office of the Dean of Students.

In addition to these initial sources of help, we would also encourage you to consider, should the need arise, the more specific services outlined in this booklet. The most important element is to seek help early!
The Farnham Writers' Center

In the Farnham Writers' Center all students can work with tutors to develop writing abilities and acquire strategies for organizing and writing papers, essays, lab reports, proposals, and any other form of writing. Tutors are trained to work with any stage of the writing process, from brainstorming an assignment to:

• discovering a thesis                              • organizing material

• developing ideas                                   • producing a draft

• finding supporting evidence                  • evaluating and revising a draft

• editing for error

The one-to-one tutorial format of the Farnham Writers’ Center reinforces the mutual development of writing and thinking. The Center's staff of some 50 undergraduate peer tutors are trained in strategies that work for different individuals, including those suffering from “writer’s block.” These tutors focus on larger concerns, such as organization, paragraph development, and argument, as well as on writing tasks of specific assignments. While they do not "correct" papers for you, they can help you with the rules of grammar and with the use and citation of sources. Overall, their emphasis is on your continuing development as a writer. You may work with a tutor in a single appointment or in repeated visits; you may also take a one-credit course, WP112, offered through the Writers' Center, that allows you to work with same tutor throughout the semester. The Writers’ Center is located on the second floor of Miller Library, Room 206. It is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to midnight, and on Sunday evenings from 6 to midnight. To make an appointment or to learn more, go to You may also call the tutoring office at ext. 5290 or the Center's director, Paula Harrington, at ext. 5296.
Counseling Services

Our psychological counselors are available to help you with problems that may be adversely affecting your academic performance.  They can help you learn how to structure your time better and not procrastinate.  Test anxiety, which can dramatically interfere with academic performance and confidence, is another problem for which you can receive help.  Remember that being nervous because you haven’t studied or been to class for three weeks is not test anxiety––that is realistic worry resulting from not being prepared.  However, if you clam up and freeze although you are well prepared, that is test anxiety.

Additionally, there are times when personal problems such as family situations or stress in social relationships can interfere with your ability to concentrate.  Talking with one of our therapists in a confidential setting can help get things off your chest and refocus on school and academics.

The counseling services offices are located in the Garrison-Foster Health Center.  Call 207-859-4460 or talk to the secretary at the second floor desk to schedule an appointment.

Learning Difference Support

Colby has no formal program for students with learning differences and does not treat such students differently from other students in the admissions process. However, those students with learning differences who are admitted to Colby have available to them several forms of support, including the attention of Assistant Dean of Students Joseph Atkins (Eustis 210D, 207-859-4253).

In accordance with the recommendations of a qualified diagnostician, students with learning differences may be allowed several adjustments to academic procedures, including additional time on examinations, extensions on written assignments, and other variations in examinations procedures. These students may petition to take less than a normal course load each semester. Other forms of support are available and may be discussed with Dean Atkins. These include special consideration for private study carrels available in Miller Library, note takers, and the tape recording of lectures. More information on Learning Differences support and the procedures for requesting accommodations can be found at

It is the policy of Colby College to provide academic support for all students. The procedures for students with learning differences are consistent with this policy.

Private Study Rooms and Lockers in Miller Library

Students who have need for a private study space may apply to be granted use of one of three study rooms. The study rooms are designated quiet spaces furnished with ten to twelve individual study carrel desks and access to a personal locker to store materials. Students will be assigned to one of three rooms.

There are a limited number of study carrel desks available in Miller Library for students who demonstrate the need for a private study area.  Students with special circumstances such as honors programs, documented learning differences, independent study projects or senior scholar work are encouraged to apply. Priority will be given to seniors.

If students are interested in applying for a private study room, they can download this application and return it to Barbara Moore, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Senior Associate Dean of Students, Eustis 203. Completed applications are due by the second week in September. Students will be notified by mid September as to whether they have been granted a study carrel.


Individual tutoring is available at no cost to any student having difficulty in any course.  If you are in need of help, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Consult your professor.
  2. If it is decided that you should have a tutor, get the name of a tutor (usually an upperclass student who majors in the relevant subject) from your professor.
  3. Make an appointment with the tutor and set up a regular schedule. Two to three hours a week is the norm.
  4. Prepare for your tutoring session.  Do as much work as you can beforehand so that the tutoring time can be spent on specific problem areas.
  5. Keep your appointments. If you must make a change, have the courtesy to notify the tutor in advance.
  6. If you have any problems, speak with your professor or the tutoring coordinator (Dean Moore) in the Office of the Dean of Students.
For more information, please contact:

Barbara Moore, Associate VP for Student Affairs/Senior Associate Dean of Students

Office of the Dean of Students
Colby College
Waterville, ME 04901
Telephone: 207-859-4255
Fax: 207-859-4264

Contact Information

During the academic year, feel free to contact directly:

The Farnham Writers' Center

Director Paula Harrington
Miller Library, Room 9

Counseling Services

Dr. Eric S. Johnson, Director
Garrison-Foster Health Center

Services for Learning
Differences / Study Skills

Dean Joseph Atkins
Office of the Dean of Students