Study Hall: Benefits of Unguided vs Guided

Many people when given the option will choose unguided study hall. But is this really the wisest choice?


Mary Sullivan

Sophomore Ashlyn Johnson works hard on geometry homework. She uses her study hall for class work.

At some point, every student in his or her high school career has to decide: unguided or guided study hall? Choose to work hard solo and risk becoming unproductive, or choose the alternative of perhaps being supervised and stifled? Both are equally daunting.

That’s where the student has to pick the lesser of two evils, basing it on their work ethic or how social they are. Guided study hall, usually taking place in the LMC, is overseen by Maria Martinez and other teachers. Unguided study hall can be a very positive experience especially when you have friends to talk to; however, this can prove distraction if you’re not diligent about staying on top of your studies. This can lead you to fall behind in other classes even though you have all the extra work time. The extra freedom is a godsend for other students, while many others find it difficult to concentrate on their own.

Doug Duran, a teacher of study hall, described his experience supervising unguided study hall this year as difficult.

 “Classes are extremely large and keeping track of passes from various locations is kind of tough, but overall it’s pretty fine.”

This is where the guided study hall can help many students. The support from teachers and the quieter, more focused workspace is often more conducive for the individual students, since the unguided study hall is often noisier, more crowded and can house as many as one hundred students.

Duran thinks that “guided study halls should be expanded.” And that it “holds kids more accountable for missing assignments.”

This atmosphere can force the student to rely on their own work ethic, which as many of us know: procrastination is a trap many of us fall into. However, many students do get work done, proving this study hall is more than just an extended lunch period.

However, some students like sophomore Mitchell Hargreaves completes, on average, two assignments per unguided study hall.

“I feel like I like unguided study hall better because I can work on whatever I want,” says Hargreaves. However, one cannot deny that others use it simply to socialize, but while this is not the purpose of study hall, it is not necessarily bad. That is, if one has all of his or her class work.

Freshman Katie Lennon believes it is up to the person whether guided or unguided is better.

“I like it,” she said. “I get to get my homework done to have more time to just hang out.” But there are people in unguided study hall may have opposing opinions, like senior Tyler Doolittle, claiming that “guided study hall is better because…you’re more concentrated on your work.” 

In the end, it’s up to your own judgment to which study hall you want. But keeping in mind the pros and cons of either study hall will enable you to optimize your productivity or maximize the time spent with your friends.