DSS created the 248 model to proactively help incoming students transition to college life. The purpose of this model is to provide a student in transition with the support and skills that will lead to college success and beyond. In this model, all first year students  who are registered with DSS will meet individually with a Learning Specialist during weeks 2,4, and 8 of their first semester. 

Through 248, each student meets one-on-one with a DSS staff member (typically a Learning Specialist). Meetings last for approximately 30 minutes and have a semi-structured format. 

In 248, the DSS staff member will work to:

  • ensure each student has the tools necessary for success
  • assess areas in which the student is having difficulty and develop ways the student can make improvements using his/her strengths and abilities
  • improve academic skills such as time management, organization, study skills, test-taking, note-taking, and stress management
  • confirm that the student is utilizing accommodations and supports
  • build relationships with students and provide support through one-on-one meetings with the goal of helping students feel comfortable seeking help from the Learning Specialist and services from the Catholic U community.
  • refer students to other support offices as needed. Other support offices on campus include the Writing Center, tutoring/Center for Academic and Career Success, Counseling Center, advising/Center for Academic and Career Success, and Campus Ministry. 

These meetings serve as check-ins to answer questions about accommodation utilization, ensure students are on track for success, and determine if other supports are needed. 

Learning Specialists

Learning specialists are part-time graduate students who have training and experience in working with students with disabilities. Learning specialists meet individually with students on a weekly or as-needed basis. They work with students to improve their learning and general academic skills to achieve better success both in and out of the classroom. Meetings focus on such skills as:

  • Time management
  • Organization skills
  • Reading comprehension 
  • Study skills
  • Test-taking skills
  • Writing skills 
  • Self-Advocacy
  • Scheduling
  • Professor Communication

Learning specialists are supplements to tutors, math tutors, and writing center consultants, not replacements. A learning specialist will work with a student on how to study for an upcoming test not help them study for the test. Their main goal is to meet students where they are and strengthen academic weaknesses. 

While learning specialists work with students on crucial academic skills, they do not work on course content. For example, a learning specialist will work a plan to study for an upcoming test and a tutor will review course content with the student.