Academic Enhancement Seminars

Academic Enhancement Seminars (AES) are offered as a one-credit courses through the Department of Counseling Psychology for students who want to improve their study skills and improve their grades.

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What is the structure and goal of AES?

Students meet once a week for ten-sessions. The seminar is divided into three distinct phases. The first phase focuses on helping students clarify the reasons they are in school and what they expect to achieve. The objective of this phase is to assist students to develop clear short- and long-term goals while simultaneously coming to a better understanding of their sources of internal and external motivation. The second phase extends the goals set forth in phase one, helping students to formulate strategies and improve problem-solving skills that facilitate achieving both academic and social goals. Finally, the third phase focuses on developing the types of social competence that are integral to academic and interpersonal success.

Download the current AES Syllabus

What are the objectives of AES?

  • Improve grades
  • Enhance communication skills both academically and socially
  • Develop more efficient study skills
  • Learn to manage time more effectively
  • Gain knowledge of available university resources

Who is eligible to enroll in AES?

Any student who is currently on academic probation status and has not previously enrolled in the seminar.

When does the seminar begin and end?

AES typically begins during the second or third week of each semester.

​What are the seminar meeting times and places?

The following is information for the Fall 2020 seminars, which are offered entirely online.

Seminar Day / Time Meeting Place Instructor
115-051 Tuesday 9:30-10:45am Online – CANVAS Valerie Orozco
115-052 Thursday 1:00-2:15pm Online – CANVAS Valerie Orozco
*115-053 Thursday 4:00-5:15pm Online – CANVAS Valerie Orozco
*115-054 Monday 6:00-7:15pm Online – CANVAS Zoua Lor
115-055 Monday 4:00-5:15pm Online – CANVAS Valerie Orozco
*115-056 Tuesday 930-10:45am Online – CANVAS Zoua Lor
115-057 Tuesday 4:00-5:15pm Online – CANVAS Zoua Lor

*Sections 053, 054, and 056 are open to all students who are interested in improving their study skills. To request enrollment in these sections please fill out the Study Skills Seminar Enrollment Google Form to indicate your interest and availability. 

How do I enroll?

Students on academic probation will be contacted ​by email during the first or second week of the semester with details on how to enroll in AES. If you have not received an email by that time, please contact ​the AES Teaching Team to express interest at

Can I enroll in AES during the summer?

Yes! Summer AES classes are offered during ​a three-week session of the summer.


Portrait of Zoua Lor

Zoua Lor is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Counseling Psychology. She is a proud daughter of two refugees, the third of nine children to obtain a bachelor’s degree, and the first in her family to pursue a PhD. Prior to her doctoral studies, Zoua received her BA in Psychology with a Statistics Concentration from St. Olaf College. Her research broadly focuses on the clinical applications of cultural psychology and the intersection of well-being, cultural identity, and student development. Zoua is a member of Dr. Mindi N. Thompson’s Work and Wellness Lab and is involved in several projects concerning collegiate and mental health outcomes. In her free time, she likes to listen to crime podcasts, explore skincare, and watch children’s movies. Zoua is the lead TA for AES and can be reached at

Portrait of Valerie Orozco

Valerie Orozco is currently a first-year master’s student in counseling psychology. A native of Long Beach, California, Valerie is a first-generation college student. She attended the University of California, Irvine where she double majored and obtained bachelor’s degrees in both psychology and sociology. Her research interests include investigating strength-based strategies used by women of color who have experienced intimate partner violence. Through her research she hopes to contribute to this important line of inquiry, while also being an advocate for equitable and culturally competent support systems needed by survivors of intimate partner violence. She is excited about her new journey at UW–Madison and is ready to be a resource and support the holistic academic well-being of the AES scholar community.

Who do I contact to find out more about AES?

If you have questions about AES please contact Andrea ​Burdick or the AES Teaching Team at