How to Become THE Academic Weapon (A Tutorial on the Kortschak Center)

Written by Solana Espino | July 10, 2024

As we gear up for the fall semester, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Two words: Kortschak Center. 

The time during summer break is essentially the death of all academic motivation… So when I say you’re going to want to use all the academic resources available to you, as students, I mean it! I went over to the Kortschak Center for you and asked about the resources and space they had available to students:

The Kortschak Center (KCLC) is a center dedicated to providing academic assistance to students throughout the year. Located centrally on campus in the Student Union in room 311, the center has study spaces available to students – their Creativity room has space for studying with personal laptops and a quiet study room for those who work better with minimal distractions. Each study space is equipped with Wi-fi, standing desks and access to charging for electronics. 

If you are already the organized sort, that’s great! The KCLC offers weekly academic coaching at the scheduled time(s) and day(s) you choose. By the 4th session, the coach will check in with students to either continue meeting or end their weekly meetings. 

If you’re not there yet, that’s exactly what the center is for…From 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every Monday through Friday, the KCLC is open to students for all their studying needs. Their resources are tailored to accommodate the busy schedule (and probably less organized) of your typical college student. They offer drop-in hours just for these folks – whether it’s in the office or via Zoom, a Kortschak coach will spend a half hour with you to discuss your best way to success (no reservation needed!). 

Say you have a paper due next week, a drop-in meeting will be used to get you organized and divide the work you will have to do throughout the week. Even when you’re in a bigger pinch: an upcoming quiz, two tests and a group project, the coach will review this hectic schedule and make it more digestible with strategies for studying and making a study plan.

What is a study plan you may ask… well that’s all up to the student. It’s important to remember that each student is different and studying is not one size fits all. Every student has varying energy levels and learning preferences that individual study plans take into consideration. The KCLC emphasizes studying in smaller chunks, like a 25-45 minute active study session followed by a short 5-10 minute break for example. Though it seems counterintuitive, the coaches affirm that the shorter times of focus allow for deeper concentration. 

But again, different assignments need different types of studying so the KCLC outlines other studying methods like test-taking strategies, reading methods, note-taking techniques, and writing strategies. They encourage students to explore study methods that suit them best to enhance their learning efficiency.

With all these new skills, it is important to make time to use them. Coaches can help students with time management through numerous tools: semester calendars, action plans, and time management quadrants to name a few. Students will get a handle on prioritization, scheduling, and organization to combat good ol’ procrastination. We are on our way to productivity!

Study, study, study, what’s a girl gotta do to catch a break… Well, look no further than the KCLC! The center promotes balance for all students. Coaches recognize the importance of developing self-care habits and can offer students tips for stress management. 

If coaching is not for you or you want additional information on topics like time and stress management or study skills, the KCLC offers 40-minute workshops to overview these items. 

While still on this study break, be sure to check out the Creativity space in more depth. It has puzzles, games, and other relaxation activities to decompress and take a break. The creative juices that are sure to be flowing through these games, artistic expressions, divergent thinking, challenges, sensory enrichment, and healthy practices that the space has available. 

It can be hard to find your way back from a study break (what do you mean it’s been three hours?!), but that doesn’t mean the KCLC coaches will let you slip. In learning with Kortschak coaches, students have now set learning goals and can begin reflecting on the value of learning to motivate themselves. Yay, school!

Not able to make it in that 8:30 to 5 window? Do you really just not want to get out of the house, or bed for that matter? The KCLC has lots of resources online at On-demand workshops are available on their website so students can watch any of the three to seven-minute short videos at any time. Other handouts and learning videos can also be found there for students to learn how to develop calendars, time management and self-care on their own. 

As USC students, there are so many resources available to you and should definitely be utilized during your time here. All it takes is that first step: you can advocate, get support and take control of your academic success… you got this, Trojans!