Support Systems Help Students Through College

by Rae McKee, Public Relations Writer

Struggling in a class can be humiliating. Being sick, hundreds of miles from home, can seem paralyzing. Experiencing a difficult situation alone can be painful. Yet, these can be common occurrences in the lives of college students, which is why Cedarville University’s Academic Division and Student Life and Christian Ministries division partner to provide resources to support students in these areas. 

Support systems include academic support, medical services for health needs and counseling for any student difficulties. 

Jon Wood, Ph.D., vice president for student life and Christian ministries, wants to help students in every circumstance possible.   

“We want to be available for the intense counseling moments, but also when the student just needs some direction or guidance,” said Wood. “We are working to create a culture where young people can seek help openly.”

For academic support, Cedarville offers “The Cove,” a unique place on campus located on the second floor of the Center for Biblical and Theological Studies (BTS). The Cove offers Academic Peer Coaches (APC), tutoring labs, study groups, individual and online tutoring, learning specialists, disability services and more. 

Students can apply for a tutor with any class Cedarville offers, so they are never without support. 

For harder classes, such as biology and accounting, review sessions are available. The wide array of options allows students to find help in the way that is most convenient and effective for them. 

Kim Ahlgrim, M.S., director of The Cove, explained that The Cove was designed so students would have the most inspiring learning environment possible. Everything from furniture to lighting and all the décor was hand-picked to create the most relaxing environment for students. 

“We want this to be a safe place for students to seek help,” said Ahlgrim. “We love being able to watch them transform as they start to understand a problem for the first time. They are able to walk out with reinforced confidence of their capabilities.”  

For assistance with health issues, Cedarville offers University Medical Services (UMS), located near the Doden Field House. UMS is an ambulatory student health care facility that makes health care services available on Cedarville’s campus. 

UMS works closely with local physicians and specialists so it can perform regular checkups, physicals, prescribe medications and provide immunizations for students. 
 
Debra McDonald, director of UMS, believes that UMS is a helpful stepping stone for students as they begin their lives away from home. 

“Our goal at UMS is to provide quality medical care within the context of biblical love and compassion,” said McDonald. “Our team strives to welcome students and help them navigate the medical system, since many have not done so independently before.” 

Sometimes struggles and setbacks are not caused by academics or health, but by relationships and life outside of school. Every student comes with his or her own background, complete with unique joys and stresses. That is where Mindy May, director for student development, and her team comes in. 

Counseling Services, located in the lower level of the Stevens Student Center, provides one-on-one counseling and a mentoring program. Students can request a one-on-one appointment for help with personal problems or for general guidance by signing up through Tami Jacobs, administrative assistant for counseling services, at jacobst@cedarville.edu.


This year, counseling services has developed a stronger support program for resident directors (RD) and resident assistants (RA), so that they can support the student in more common matters and develop relationships fostered by daily interactions. They offer more training and support to RDs and RAs on how to handle difficult situations, allowing them to lead and disciple the men and women in their residence hall. 

“Often students do not come until the bottom falls out; they are reactionary to their situation,” May said. “But, at counseling services, we are a proactive, discipleship-oriented program that meets students where they’re at, including the dorms.”  

No student should ever have to walk alone and at Cedarville, they won’t have to.  

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,711 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings.