Familiarizing Yourself with Stats Again—or for the First Time

One of the benefits of attending Walden University is the ability to take courses online. This feature is especially important for returning-adult students who typically balance work, life, and family. As we get through each semester, we figure out how to find a nice work-life-school balance. As we work through each class, we learn to be better students and feel more comfortable with our decision to return to school. Things are going along nicely until it hits: you’re registered for a statistics class!

Like many of you, terror arose when I logged into my student portal and saw that I was registered for my first real statistics course, Quantitative Reasoning (RSCH 8210). While I did well in math courses when I was younger, that was then. This is now. As an adult student, I have not had to think about math in years (no, I won’t tell you how long!). Questions and doubt immediately filled my mind. Despite my success in all other classes taken at Walden, how was I going to handle taking statistics? Better yet, how was I going to handle taking statistics ONLINE while working 40 hours a week and taking care of my family?

Take a deep breath. Rest assured: you are more prepared for your statistics course than you think!

Your first step is to get past the fear associated with the word ‘statistics’. Statistics is defined as the process of collection, analysis, visualization, and interpretation of data to help make informed decisions. This doesn’t sound too bad, right? You don’t have to be a math major to understand the importance of using data to make informed decisions. In this data-age, all professions use data to make informed decision. Your statistics course will provide you with the foundation of skills to help you become a better critical thinker. Therefore, statistics is going to HELP you become a better professional, which is why we went back to school in the first place.

Secondly on the first day of class read through your course syllabus, paying careful attention to your course calendar and what will be taught each week. For me, a lot of my statistics apprehension was centered around finding time to learn such a difficult topic. Personally, I am a planner, so I like to schedule time to work on my courses, including study time. I found that my apprehension was reduced when I had a solid schedule to follow.  As you study each week be sure to remember to define terms that you don’t understand. For example, if you don’t know what the term ‘correlation’ means, then look it up before you move on. And remember, it’s better to over-estimate your study time than under-estimate your study time.

Lastly, attend tutoring the first week of your course. You might think that there’s no need to attend tutoring at the beginning, but why wait until it gets hard? If you wait to attend tutoring until you’re having difficulty, you’ll likely feel overwhelmed. Walden University offers both group and individual tutoring sessions each week of your course that cover both statistics concepts as well as SPSS.

In group tutoring sessions we will cover your weekly topics and reinforce the learning taking place in your classes. We’ll break down your topics into bite-sized chunks, showing you the relevant calculations as well as walk you through the procedures in SPSS. We’ll show you how to interpret the output and answer any questions you have. In addition, make a few appointments for individual tutoring each week. During our one-one-one tutoring sessions we will focus on the topics YOU want to cover and work through each statistics concept. We’ll practice each test or calculation so that you feel comfortable performing them on your own. Also, remember that practice makes perfect. So, be sure and practice each calculation and SPSS procedure after your tutoring session before your weekly discussion question or assignment are due.

So, statistics isn’t that bad! You’ve already accomplished a lot in your educational journey at Walden, and statistics is simply one more topic you’ll tackle. Even if you have or haven’t taken a math class before (or, in a really long time), you’ll find that Walden University has a lot of resources to help you succeed. All you have to do is ask.

Holly Myers is a Peer Tutor in SPSS and Statistics in Walden University’s Academic Skills Center. Holly’s current program is a PhD in Public Health Education, with a concentration in Epidemiology. Read Holly’s full bio.

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