Do students organise study groups or online discussion forums?
Because the students all live together and take the same classes for the first year of their education, group study is very common. However, it is less often facilitated study groups, and more frequently students taking the same classes arranging times to study together and help one another with their work. As a result, students from the same seminar might just arrange to meet up outside of class to work on a problem together.
On some occasions, professors encourage support between classmates by asking students to peer review one another’s essay drafts. Of course, many students regularly engage in peer review on their own initiative, as it is a useful way to gain a different perspective on your work and pick out errors that you might have overlooked yourself. It also often helps to bounce ideas off your classmates when you’re just starting out on a paper or trying to come up with a solid thesis.
Some professors will also ask students to write discussion posts online asking questions about the text being covered or presenting a particular point or perspective they might have. This is pretty useful, because you get a taste of a lot of different approaches to the same readings. Moreover, since they are all available online, you can refer back to them for inspiration later on. Unlike seminar discussion, there is a written record to go back to and reflect on, for example when you are out of ideas for an essay.
Study groups are also used by students when exam times are approaching! It is always helpful to be in a studious and supportive environment around this time, especially if you’ve got to stay up late. Students can help one another understand particular concepts or even quiz each other on content. I highly recommend taking advantage of all the opportunities for collaborative work available at YNC.