The Lowdown on Tutors

What happens when your student finds there are not enough hours in the day, shots of espresso in a latte or brain cells to hold all the information of 15 credit hours? Frustration or panic could set in. But that’s where your sage parental advice comes into play.

Once the first round of tests in the semester has come and gone, your student will have an idea about professor expectations, workload and his/her grasp on the material. If your student’s grades were subpar, this is a critical time to make some changes – and a tutor could be the key to understanding material and boosting grades. Consider the following when helping your student decide if a tutor is the answer:

Visiting Hours

If your student is having trouble in a class, the first stop should be the professor during visiting hours. By seeking extra help from the professor, your student will receive one-on-one instruction as well as form a relationship with the professor. If additional help is needed, the professor might have an upper-classman or grad student he can recommend for tutoring services.

Check Bulletin Boards

Physical and virtual bulletin boards boast student services for tutors. Facebook groups, college networks and the wall in the student union building will provide contact information for students and teachers’ assistance who provide tutoring services.

Meet with the Tutor First

If your student contacts a tutor, before committing for a semester, your student should meet with him to discuss your student’s needs and the tutor’s availability. In addition, your student should be aware of personality conflicts and teaching methods that will impact his success. Building rapport will be important for your student to trust and be committed to the tutoring process.

Tutoring is not a Substitute for Class

On average, tutoring might be one hour once a week, and during finals or midterms, the time might increase. This will supplement going to class, reading and studying throughout the week.

Have Specific Questions

Dialogue is an important part of tutoring. The tutor will not teach your student for an hour; rather, he will help your student ask questions, find answers and explore the subject material. The more prepared your student is for each session, the more he will get out of it.

Come Prepared

Your student must bring class notes, textbooks, syllabi and other materials, like a calculator, to all tutoring sessions. Remind him to turn off his cell phone, and decide on a quiet place to meet where friends won’t be stopping by to interrupt the session.

While there are private tutoring services and online tutoring, University Parent recommends working with the university resources. Many schools offer tutoring services free of charge. Others have peer tutoring, and tutors charge hourly rates. Peer tutors can be beneficial, because they’ve often taken the same class or professor and will have a clear grasp on the expectations and material. Check the university Website or your student can contact the academic advisement office for information.