Athletic Academic Support Services
The Office of Athletic Academics reports to the Office of the Provost. However, the staff works very closely with all coaches and the athletic administration in serving the specific needs of over 400 student-athletes enrolled at Mississippi State University.
Athletic Academic Counselors
Athletic Academic Counselors provide student-athletes with a variety of essential services and serve as a liaison between student-athletes and other university staff. The counselors monitor each student-athlete’s academic status with regard to MSU, SEC and NCAA rules and regulations. All information collected through physical class checks, academic progress contacts and study hall is assimilated into reports and given to the coaching staff of each student-athlete. The counselors work closely with the coaching staff to monitor student-athlete academic progress. Counselors also attempt to coordinate class and practice schedules in an effort to minimize conflicts. In addition to academic support, counselors also provide personal support since they are well acquainted with time pressures and competitive stress under which collegiate athletes must exist.
Learning Specialists provide necessary support and resources to students with learning concerns to overcome educational difficulties by working with students to build the academic skills necessary to foster independent learning and thinking. Learning Specialists work in one-on-one and group settings to provide students with learning strategy instruction, intrinsic motivation tools, and study methods. They also work with tutors and counselors to design, implement, and manage individualized academic support plans for students.
Athletic Academic Support Services employs tutors and proctors to assist student-athletes as they work towards accomplishing their academic goals. Tutors are available for scheduled sessions or for drop-in sessions and can assist student-athletes taking a wide variety of courses. Proctors assist the Tutorial Coordinator, Learning Specialist, and Counselors in the supervision of all study hall and tutoring activities.
The Graduate Assistant program is designed to prepare individuals for a career in the field of Athletic Academics. Graduate Assistants gain valuable experience by working directly with Academic Counselors and Learning Specialists to ensure student-athlete success. Responsibilities throughout the Assistantship program include:
- Directly interacting with student-athletes in an effort to assist counselors in providing immediate academic guidance
- Physically checking classes to ensure student-athlete attendance
- Performing class calls to obtain information regarding student-athlete academic progress
- Supervising study hall/tutoring
- Assisting in the distribution/return of textbooks to student-athletes
- Running the technology equipment check-in/out program
- Managing counselor’s administrative files pertaining to student-athlete schedules and assignments
The ultimate goal is for Graduate Assistants to leave Mississippi State University with the knowledge and skill set necessary to succeed in a full-time role in an Athletic Academic program.
Academic Monitoring and Advising Services
New Student-Athlete Orientation
Incoming athletes are given an orientation by the staff that reviews services provided by the Academic Office and how to be successful at MSU.
At the start of each semester student-athletes pick up their schedules and textbooks, ask their counselors questions, sign records release authorization and receive tutoring assignments. This day typically occurs the business day prior to the first day of school. All student-athletes, returning, new, fifth year, and managers, are required to attend this day.
Prep Day Activities
- Meeting with athletic academic counselor for their class schedules, completing some mandatory forms, and receiving their study hall/tutoring assignments if applicable.
- Those student-athletes on textbook scholarship will pick up a textbook voucher from their academic counselor and take it to Barnes & Noble Bookstore.
- At Barnes & Noble they will turn in their book voucher to academic counselor and pick up their textbooks.
- Each student-athlete's books will be boxed and grouped by his/her sport. The student-athlete must show a picture I.D. in order to receive his/her textbook
Physical Class Checks
The staff performs daily physical classroom checks. These checks help assure counselors and coaches that the student-athletes are present and on time.
Progress Grade Reports
The staff contacts faculty to receive information on the progress of the student-athletes and to learn of any problems the student may be having in the class.
Loan of Course-Related Books
Student-athletes on book scholarship must follow the procedures listed below as well as those outlined in the Prep Day activities listed above:
- At the beginning of each semester, textbooks will be issued for courses listed on the student-athlete’s schedule of classes.
- Additional materials needed as a result of course changes, add/drop changes, or individual class requirements can be obtained by providing a course syllabus detailing the materials to the Textbook Coordinator.
- The student-athlete will be given a textbook voucher to be taken to the Barnes & Noble bookstore on campus.
- If for any reason Barnes & Noble does not have the materials needed for a course, the student-athlete can purchase the materials from another location. If the student-athlete is on book scholarship they can be reimbursed for their purchase by providing a receipt as well as a class syllabus to the Textbook Coordinator.
- All materials issued to the student-athlete during the given semester including textbooks, study guides, laptops, calculators, etc. must be returned at the end of the semester to the Athletic Academics office. Failure to do so will result in the student-athlete being placed on University hold which can prevent the scheduling of classes for the next semester as well as the withholding of scholarship funds.
- Any materials received by the student-athlete are NOT for resale or other methods of individual monetary gain.
Keeping a Textbook
If a student-athlete on textbook scholarship feels that a particular textbook will be helpful in the advancement of their education and/or chosen career he/she may request to keep a textbook by filling out a Request to Keep Textbook form. A copy of the form may be obtained from the Athletic Academic Textbook Coordinator.
Loan of Laptops, Calculators, Cameras, Clickers, and Translator Pens
Athletic Academic Support Services has laptops, calculators, cameras, and other materials available for student-athlete check-out during a given semester. All materials are to be used for academic purposes only and are not intended for recreational use. In order to check out any of these materials the student-athlete must first visit with their Athletic Academic Counselor to discuss their need for the item(s). The student-athlete is responsible for all items checked out from Athletic Academics if they are lost, damaged or stolen. All materials must be returned to the Athletic Academic office by the end of the semester in which they were checked out.
A program for freshmen designed to provide an academic review in core classes and aid in the transition from high school to college. The Summer Bridge program enables student-athletes to make a smooth transition between high school and college. They participate in supplemental reading, math, technology, and English academic labs, as well as, a Learning Skills course and monitored study hall over the summer prior to their first fall semester. It gives them a strong background in core subjects such as English, reading, mathematics, and technology and strong study habits which are skills they need in order to be successful during their stint at Mississippi State University.
Directed Study provides freshman student-athletes with the necessary tools and support to transition from their high school career into the demanding collegiate athletic academic schedule. Freshmen participating in this program take core classes and are required to spend 8 hours of monitored study hall time in the Templeton Athletic Academic Center with personal tutors. They work in small groups and receive individualized tutoring depending upon their classes. During this time, they learn valuable time management, organizational, and study skills that they will use throughout their time at MSU.
All incoming freshman student-athletes are given academic screeners during their first semester. The screener assesses math, reading, and writing skills to formulate individualized academic plans. This assessment also aids in the diagnosis of learning disabilities. Theses screeners enable Learning Specialists and Counselors to provide effective services and resources to all students.
Tutorial and Study Hall Services
All scholarship student-athletes will be required to complete study hall and/or tutoring hours during their first semester enrolled at Mississippi State University. The requirements are determined by the student-athlete’s Athletic Academic counselor based upon individual needs. Returning student-athletes may also be required to complete study hall and/or tutoring requirements based upon GPA, past academic performance, the course(s) being taken, or other individual needs. Athletic Academic Counselors will make recommendations that will be discussed with the student-athlete’s coach for approval.
Types of Tutoring and Study Hall Available
All tutoring and study hall hours are to be completed in the Templeton Athletic Academic Center:
- Open Study Hall – Student-athletes work independently on assignments, preparing for tests, and other tasks required by an instructor.
- Subject Tutoring – Subject tutors are available to work with student-athletes in specific subject areas.
- Personal Tutoring – Personal tutors work with student-athletes on a one-to-one basis in all subject areas in which the student is taking classes. The personal tutor assists the student in developing study skills, time-management skills, as well as planning weekly academic goals.
Things to Know Regarding Study Hall and Tutoring Sessions
- Each student-athlete is responsible for completing their required number of hours for study hall and/or tutoring each week as determined by their Athletic Academic Counselor.
- Accumulating more time in one week than is required is certainly encouraged and will serve the student-athlete well. However, the additional time will not “roll over” for use during any other week.
- Failure to dedicate time in tutoring/study hall to appropriate studies will result in the loss of all time accumulated during that study session.
- The status of hours completed may be obtained from the proctor on duty, the Tutorial Coordinator, or by accessing the student-athlete’s GradesFirst account.