ASK Center provides academic support

Haley Mulder-Staff Writer

The Dordt College ASK Center, located in the lower level of the library, regularly serves over 600 students in different academic areas. The service continues throughout the year and both students and professors are seeing the benefits.

“I love watching a student gain confidence,” said Pam De Jong, head coordinator of academic student services. “I’ve worked here for 27 years and the most rewarding part of it all is seeing students learn that they can learn. This helps them become who God truly created them to be.”

The ASK Center provides academic support for Dordt students who are struggling in any subject area. Their most popular services are chemistry, biology, and math tutoring, as well as drop in proof-reading.

They also offer help to students with learning disabilities, and all services are free to students.

“We will work with a student’s specific needs by connecting with their professor to find them a tutor for the more specialized courses,” De Jong said.

The tutors are students who have been recommended by their professors. One of them is Nate Ritschard, who tutors students in Core 180, 120, 145, and also does proofreading.

This will be his third year working in the ASK Center.

“I love getting to see people overcome the difficulties they are having with a particular subject,” Ritschard said. “It’s awesome to be a part of the process of someone’s self-discovery; to be able to help someone do something they didn’t think themselves capable of and to see the effect that has on people is tremendous.”

“This process can also help the actual tutors as well because it helps them get creative to find a way to help their student learn their subject matter better,” De Jong said.

Ritschard says that being a tutor has helped him grow as both a person and a student.

“My writing and my study habits have benefited from working here, and I have learned so many great things about working with other people,” he said. “I have learned a great deal about patience and servanthood, and I have gotten great insights into how other people think and look at the world by helping them with their studies.”

De Jong said that there were only six tutors when the ASK Center was first established. Last year, they served over 600 students in over 6,000 visits to the center.

Many students are extremely thankful for what the ASK Center has done for them. Many have earned better scores on papers and tests. 

Sophomore Taylor Leach used the ASK Center to help her with her essays, and said it helped her improve.

“Don’t be afraid to go and get academic help at the ASK Center,” Leach said. “It’s not just for people who are really struggling with their grades; it can be helpful to everyone in some way.”

“The tutors are generous for giving up their time to help other students succeed,” said freshman Morgan Meendering, who uses the center for help in a theology class.

The ASK Center strives to encourage every student to learn and grow to their full potential.

“It’s a wonderful service that everyone should take advantage of,” Ritschard said. “It’s a great way to sharpen your skills, to get help with classes, or to just make sure a paper looks good.”

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