Center for Achievement, Retention and Student Success (CARSS)

CARSS is located inside the Learning Commons suite (LI-36).

Specialized Support for UAlbany Science Majors

Improve your grades and understanding of course materials by receiving highly tailored and structured assistance from trained peers who have already taken and performed well in challenging science courses. 

The Center for Achievement, Retention & Student Success (CARSS) provides free academic assistance to students enrolled in first- and second-year biology, chemistry and physics courses.

CARSS has helped thousands of students across all demographics achieve higher pass rates in their science courses and higher graduation rates than students who didn’t participate.  


A CARSS tutor in a sweatshirt and baseball hat points to a line in a textbook as he leans over a table and two seated students look on.


Participate in CARSS Tutoring

CARSS tutoring is structured differently than other forms of campus tutoring services. 

Students register to participate in weekly supplemental instruction sessions, as well as study sessions before exams, with a trained tutor. Groups are capped at 10 students. 

Tutors have access to the course’s syllabus and Brightspace section, allowing them to review current course content with students each week and help students prepare for upcoming tests.  

Students enrolled in a class with CARSS tutoring will receive an email at the start of the semester with registration instructions.  

Registration is required and slots are available on a first come, first served basis. 

Once you’ve registered, you must arrive on time and attend each scheduled session. If you're unable to attend a session, you must notify your tutor before the session.  

If you fail to attend a session or notify your tutor of your absence, you will be dropped and required to re-register for CARSS tutoring. Open slots may no longer be available. 

Tutoring sessions are held in person at Learning Commons (University Library Room 36, or LI-36) or online, depending on the semester/term. 

Please contact the CARSS Program Coordinator with any questions or concerns. 

Spring 2024 Courses with CARSS Tutoring (Registration Instructions)

The following courses will have CARSS tutoring during the Spring 2024 semester: 

  • Chemistry 
    • CHM 115 (General Chemistry I) — Class Section 6868
    • CHM 116 (General Chemistry II) — Class Sections 6877,6878, 6879
    • CHM 220 (Organic Chemistry I) — Class Section 4134
    • CHM 221 (Organic Chemistry II) — Class Sections 3300 & 7831
  • Physics 
    • PHY 105 (General Physics I) — Class Section 4826
    • PHY 108 (General Physics II) — Class Sections 1803 & 1766
    • PHY 150 (Physics II - Electromagnetism) — Class Sections 6905 & 1809

Students in their first year at UAlbany (freshmen and transfer students) who are enrolled in the CHM 116 and PHY 150 class sections listed above will be automatically registered for CARSS tutoring.  

Students enrolled in any of the other classes listed above should follow these instructions to register for recurring CARSS sessions: 

Registration will begin Friday, January 18th for the Spring 2024 Semester. 

  1. Log into EAB Navigate.
  2. Click on the “Make an Appointment” button in the top right corner.  
  3. In the first drop-down menu, select “Tutoring.”  
  4. In the second drop-down menu, “CARSS Tutoring” 
  5. Click “Find Available Time.”  
  6. Select your course.  
What should I expect during a CARSS tutoring session?

What to Expect from a Tutor: 

  • Tutors will make recommendations to help you become a more efficient student and help you set goals. 

  • Tutors may provide hints or suggestions to help you figure out how to approach exercises, but they cannot replace your performance of good, honest hard work. 

  • Tutors may help you with challenging problems, but they will not do your homework for you. 

  • Tutors can help recommend other available on-campus resources. 

What a Tutor Expects from You: 

  • Do your best to understand the material before coming to tutoring. 

  • Do your homework before you come. 

  • Read the syllabus. Understand what is expected of you in each class. 

  • Be an active student in class. Ask questions, participate in class and take notes. 

  • Be aware of test and due dates, so you can pace yourself and avoid cramming and panicking. 

  • Bring a list of questions or problems you would like to discuss with your tutor. 

To make the Center pleasant for all, you are welcome to: 

  • Eat and drink in the CARSS study room. 

  • Get free tutoring. 

  • Meet with friends to study. 

  • Find a quiet place to read or study alone. 

Please remember to: 

  • Complete feedback forms, which help us track your attendance and improve our services.

  • Keep your food limited to tidier and minimally odorous snacks (such as crackers, chips, fruit and candy), rather than messy or odorous foods (such as chili, fries, soup, fish sandwiches, large meals etc.).

  • Be sensitive to those around you by keeping sounds and voice appropriately moderated. 

  • Silence your cell phone. If you must take phone calls, please go to the hall or outside. 

  • Clean up any messes you make, including disposing of any scratch paper and used items before you leave. 

Enjoy your time with us! We welcome you to come in often.

What should I bring to a CARSS session?
  • A list of challenging problems and/or questions you’d like to discuss 

  • Textbook, notes and syllabus 

  • Past tests and quizzes 

  • Completed homework 

  • Paper, pen, pencil and/or highlighters 

  • Calculator 

What are my rights as a student receiving CARSS services?

Both tutors and students have rights. Be sure that you afford others their rights as they seek to do the same for you. 

You have the right to be treated with courtesy and respect by the CARSS staff, tutors and students. If a problem arises, staff members will treat it with fairness. 

You have the right to participate in tutoring sessions. CARSS will provide a schedule of group sessions. You may lose your right to participate as a tutor or student if you don’t come to sessions, habitually show up late or refuse to work within our scheduling limitations. 

You have the right to an effective tutoring session. Training is required for tutors, so they may gain the ability and confidence to help people learn. Students should understand that tutors cannot be expected to possess the full realm of knowledge of a course instructor and that tutors must be regarded as peer-tutors, not as instructors. 

You have the right to complete each tutoring session without interruption. Therefore, friends of the tutor or students should not come to the tutoring session. You must turn off or silence your cell phone when you enter a session. Sessions should only be interrupted in an emergency. 

You have the right to say, “I don't know.” Tutors should feel free to seek additional information or assistance from the course’s instructor on specific, course-related topics, content and/or student learning issues. Students should expect patience from the tutor and, whenever possible, alternate explanations of concepts. 

You have the right to express grievances to CARSS professional staff members and be informed of the results. Supervisors are available throughout the semester, evaluations are completed each semester and a suggestion box is available in our office to encourage your input. If you are having problems with a student, tutor or staff member, please contact the CARSS Program Coordinator immediately. 

You have the right to make the final decision on your own work. Tutors will suggest ways to study and assist in any ethically possible way to improve a student's classwork, but the student makes the final decision regarding whether to follow the tutor's suggestions. Tutors will complete training to learn various tutoring techniques but may choose to facilitate their own sessions in the manner they find most effective. 

You have the right to confidentiality. A tutor will never discuss students or tutoring sessions with friends, family or other students. Tutors may only go to the CARSS coordinator and/or the student’s instructor with questions about a tutoring session or student. Students should respect a tutor's right to privacy and not expect a tutor to answer questions outside of scheduled sessions. Note: University employees are required to report concerns regarding sexual misconduct, discrimination, academic integrity, health and safety.

Contact CARSS
Learning Commons, University Library Room 36 (LI-36)

1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222
United States

Office Hours

Our professional staff is available in person from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and via email from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.

The Learning Commons suite is located down the stairs in front of the University Library on the Uptown Campus. 

Reach CARSS Program Coordinator Morghan Fisk at [email protected]