Academic Resource Center


One-on-one Support

Our dedicated Academic Resource Center is here to help.

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) provides a variety of services to Ringling College students, including writing assistance, test preparation and study skills instruction, help with English as a Second Language and time management. 


Academic Resource Center
Alfred R. Goldstein Library
2nd Floor - Room 211
Office: 941.359.7627
Office hours: 9 am - 4:30pm




Our Services

Study, Reading and Test Preparation Support

Make an appointment to meet with Paula Brooks Jawitz, Ph.D. for tutorials on time management, test preparation, and more effective study tips. 



Reading Study Introduction

There is a difference between reading the words on a page and reading in a manner that resonates, sticks with you, and becomes a part of your knowledge base. If you find yourself reading assignments, only to discover later that you don't remember a word, you may be interested in exploring some customized reading and study techniques that are designed for your unique learning style.

Paula Jawitz, our ARC reading-study specialist, is here to help you: 

  • Learn to use your textbook's organization.
  • Take notes (annotate) about your reading. 
  • Develop mnemonics to help you pull the information you need into the part of your brain you use most often—so it's top of mind when you need it. 
  • Improve both learning and test grades.

Reading and study are an important part of your education in art and design. Proficiency in reading and solid study skills deepen your understanding of the concepts you want to explore and make you a more informed member of the community—which will certainly be reflected in your work.

Discover tips and techniques to get the most out of your reading assignments—in addition to your film and web assignments! During a private one-hour tutorial you can learn a lot about your own learning style and techniques that will work for you. If you find the session helpful, you can come every week. 



Ideas for Effective Study

A Few Points About Memory


Web Resources


Tips from Texas: A variety of checklists for college success, study skills and habits, time management and even staying healthy. Printed copies are available from the ARC. 




Find your narrative voice and enhance your writing abilities with customized writing consultations. We provide assistance at all stages and levels of the writing process.

First Year Writing at Ringling College

Every Ringling College student must take at least one writing class. A few students receive AP or transfer credit for this requirement, but most students in every major will find themselves in a writing class during their first semester at Ringling. For studio arts and design community students, there will be a second semester of writing in the spring semester of their first year.

Special Projects and Collaborations:

ARC Writing Consultants can help with all aspects of any writing project. In recent years, we have developed close working relationships with a number of classes and projects college-wide.

NASAC: The National Student Advertising Competition: NASAC is working with this year-long studio class in the Advertising Design department to ensure the best—and most correct—possible copy for their project book.

Evidence-Based Design: Third Year Interior Designers spend a year researching and writing about a specific design problem, and the writing consultants helped them compose, format, document and proofread. Ringling writing classes use MLA Style Documentation (see link above), but EBDers use APA Style—and the differences are important! 

Fulbright Grant Applicants: Ringling College students who are interested in applying for this prestigious opportunity need to get started early and write a lot. Writing consultants will be on-hand to help with all aspects of this writing from organizing your message to ensuring sure it is clearly and accurately expressed. Follow this link for the Fulbright packet guidelines.

Make An Appointment: It's a good idea to make an appointment first—for any ARC service. Writing consultants can often accommodate drop-in writers, but you never know when a class project that requires consultation is due the next day.

Referral Form: By using this form, faculty and staff can help ARC workers know what students need and prepare for student arrival.


Writing Consultations

At the Writing Center (which exists in the ARC), writing consultants collaborate with student or staff writers to develop and improve essays, letters, stories and much more. The program's mission is to make better writers, so the student-client is not only present but active in the consultation process. We aren't a fix-it shop or a drop-off editing service. We're here to help you create better compositions.  

As we work with clients to improve their copy, we believe students will learn more about how to write–and revise–compositions on their own. Student (faculty or staff) writers may arrive with complete drafts or with nothing but ideas or a topic or assignment. Our consultants understand that different writers seek help at different stages of their writing process; some come several times because they find discussing their writing opens new possibilities or speeds them along the way from start to finish. 

During a consultation, consultants will first want to know about the task or assignment, the purpose and expectations for the finished piece and, most importantly, what the writer feels will help advance the project. What happens next depends a good deal on how far the writer has advanced. Did she bring a completed draft? Is he here to narrow a topic or get the contents organized? Is research involved? Some consultants read the work out loud or ask the writer to do so; others prefer to read to themselves and ask the writer to read along. The consultant may have suggestions for adding, deleting or simply rearranging words and ideas. Asking questions can help both the consultant and the writer progress in understanding the assignment and finding good ideas for further development. The immediate goal is an improved piece of writing that suits its intended purpose and fulfills the assignment. The larger goal is for students to learn more about writing, develop confidence in their writing, improve their thinking and editing, and recognize their unique narrative voice. 

Sometimes teachers require consultations or assign a specific exercise that involves meeting with a writing consultant to complete a component of an assignment. Writing consultants may refer students working on research to the library's research consultants and vice versa. Together, these groups of students are part of your ticket to better writing. 

When the consultation ends, students receive a one-page summary of what they accomplished during their sessions. Forms may be shown to teachers at the students' discretion. 

Student consultants are available for drop-ins or by appointment from 4pm – 10pm Mon – Thurs, and 5 pm – 10 pm Sun.





Make an Appointment


Writing Help

Ringling's topnotch staff of Writing Consultants can help with any phase of the writing process and any questions, concerns or problems related to writingfrom finding a topic to dotting those i's and crossing the t's (metaphorically speaking). If you have a long composition or anticipate needing lots of editorial and proofreading help, you may want to reserve back-to-back appointment slots. 

Plan to come two days or more ahead to have time to apply the suggestions and revisions you discuss. Writing consultants will not read or make comments on work due in less than two hours. 

Reading and Study Help can assist students with expert training for note taking in texts and in classes, reading and understanding content, remembering material for exams, and discovering the best approaches for you as an individual learner.

Book Reading and Study Help with our specialists:

Paula Jawitz

Barbara Gentry

We can start you on a path to better management of time and projects. Appointments begin with an overview of your present obligations and interests. You'll leave with a personalized, hour-by-hour and day-by-day schedule for all your activities. Follow-up appointments are available as needed. This is a popular service; if you have trouble getting an appointment, let us know. 

Book Time Management Help with our specialists:

Paula Jawitz

Barbara Gentry

Disability Services

Students with disabilities should meet with the disabilities services officerpresently Virginia DeMersevery semester. Even if they do not expect to need accommodations, an appointment is encouraged. Some students may need another appointment later in the semester to change accommodations, discuss other issues arising in or out of class and so forth. 



Disabilities Support

Rights and Responsibilities for Education Access

In addition to help with study, reading, writing, time management and other academic skills, the ARC also arranges appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities to assure them access to instruction and campus activities.  In keeping with our institutional value of diversity, community and the whole student, Ringling College of Art and Design fully supports the spirit and letter of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Disability accommodations will be approved based on adequate documentation and other information provided by the student. Because needs vary according to the situation, accommodations must be requested and renewed for any semester when students will need them. 

This section of our web site provides basic information about documentation of a disability and the processes for determining and implementing accommodations. All such accommodations are arranged through the ARC. Anyone needing further information should contact Virginia DeMers, Director of the ARC.


Additional Supports that Come in Handy


EVERY college student should have a system for keeping track of deadlines, due dates and appointments. Your system needs several components:

  • a planner or calendar you can carry everywhere: the calendar you'll receive from Ringling College at Orientation, your phone, your notebook computer with an online calendar like Google or something else that you WILL use
  • a calendar or reminder board for a prominent wall at home and a time each day when you will move information from the planner to the reminder board: We have some monthly calendars at the ARC; stop by and pick one with pictures you like. 
  • a priority reminder--like another board by the front door or the bathroom mirror (if you have your own!). Here you can post immediate deadlines, test dates and mandatory appointments like registration for classes or housing contract deadlines. This is for what you have to do NOW! 


Speech to Text Software 

Dragon Naturally Speaking (DNS) and Mac Speech Dictate: These programs, designed for Windows or Macintosh systems respectively, allow users to talk their compositions rather than handwriting or typing. Some students may qualify for these programs as disabilities accommodations, but many students may find them helpful. Doctors and lawyers as well as journalists often use dictation software for their notes (you can imagine how handy this is for physicians with their notoriously bad handwriting). Users have to train the system to recognize their voices. That takes about half an hour, with some corrections to be expected from time to time. Our software support staff can help you learn about DNS.  Watch the Ringling announcements for some scheduled demonstrations. Or contact us for a private introduction. 

If you have a disability that makes typing, spelling or other aspects of writing difficult, you should try out this kind of software in preparation for your professional life. 


Sources for Alternative Text Formats and Text to Speech Software

Like any college, Ringling College provides texts in alternate formats for students with documented print disabilities. Some of these texts come from national organizations devoted to collecting electronic texts, some come from publishers, and some articles we scan ourselves. Students who use this service should begin learning about sources such as Learning Ally (formerly RFB & D) and Bookshare, which they can join as individuals. Texts come in a variety of formats now: CDs, MP3s and others. There are also some very good, inexpensive reading programs (sometimes called text-to-speech software) such as Read Please and Easy Reader that can "voice" any digital text. Some are even available free! In fact, your Mac notebook computer has built in text to speech features that will work with printed content, and the ARC can show you how to access that feature of the system and how to create documents that it can read.. 

Kurzweil 3000 is a powerful text to speech application that students may try out and use in the ARC. It's particularly good for scanning and formatting reading ready documents

Your Kindle, Nook or other personal reading device probably has a read aloud tool. And there is now a downloadable Kindle for Mac app that will allow you to open those texts on your Mac and listen to them. 


Other Nifty Tools and Resources

Note-taking pens: Livescribe (tm) pens offer amazing digital capabilities for note taking. They are fairly inexpensive and worth checking out. We have one now that we'll be happy to demonstrate

Other Specialized software: Sonocent's Audio Notetaker is new software from Microcomputer Science Centre, Inc. They also market a remarkable spelling corrector called Ginger that goes way beyond the spell check capabilities of word processors. 

ADDitude: a monthly magazine for students and their families. Every issue offers up to date tips about organizing, meeting deadlines, getting along, and even medications. We subscribe in the ARC; come by and check it out. 

Virginia DeMers will be happy to discuss the options with students who are interested. Preparation for the world beyond college will include learning about these resources and acquiring the tools to read and write more independently. 



Audio Text Information and Updates

Learning Ally's Membership and Catalogue  

Learning Ally, which was formerly called Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic, now offers its Read / Hear software for Macintosh users. This is GREAT news for Ringling College students with print disabilities. It means that any text listed in the Learning Ally database can be downloaded to your Macintosh computer. The easiest course for students with disabilities related to print (such as low vision or learning disability) is to join the organization as individuals. Members manage their own accounts and can look up and access texts without having to consult third parties. Learning Ally's recordings are made by real, human readers; there is no more natural sounding audio anywhere. Here is a link to information about downloading the program and video demonstration.

Even if you will not use texts from this organization next semester, your need for audio texts will be life-long and adding RFB & D to your resources is a really smart step to take. So visit Learning Ally. You may want to join as an individual to make this convenient--and more or less foolproof--way to acquire textbooks available now and for the future. 

If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact Virginia DeMers



Another source for listenable texts is . This non-profit organization collects and distributes electronic books to people of all kinds with all kinds of print-related disabilities. Their collection is a repository of accessible text files submitted by universities, libraries and private users. They are instantly downloadable. Students should be registered with them. Unlike Learning Ally, they generally offer books in legible and accessible PDF or DAISY (Digital Access Information Systems) formats; thus, the voices are computer-generated. If you have not worked with these beforeor have not heard them for awhileyou may be surprised how natural some sound. 


Ringling College and Audio Text 

As no book service collection is complete, Ringling College have several other resources and, with a bit of time, can scan and convert almost any text into audio form. We have one copy of Kurzweil 3000, a premier scanning and read aloud program. Primarily this program allows the disabilities services office (at the ARC) to scan and convert textbooks and articles in formats that allow listening. Students who want these programs on their own computers should purchase them as at present the college does not provide that software. 

There are also commercial sources for audio text. offers a range of currently popular titles, and some publishers regularly include E books s options for many text books. If such versions are available, students can purchaseor download for freethe documents. 

An easy and always available option for text-to-speech is the Mac operating system. All notebook computers given to students on entering Ringling College have built-in text-to-speech capability. Any text-based file, whether document, PDF, web page or email, can be selected and listened to with adequate electronic voices. Many instructors upload PDFs of important readings for their classes to websites on or off campus. If these PDFs are not yet accessible, they can be processed through Kurzweil's OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and made readable on any Mac or other text to speech software. 



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