Find a Tutor
With the increasingly competitive drive to get into private schools and colleges, children of varying ages and education levels can benefit from tutoring. While online tutoring is often a cost-effective and convenient option, private tutors are a better fit for some students. However, finding the right tutor can seem like an impossible task. To make it easier for parents, we’ve broken the process down into manageable steps that can keep kids on the right educational track.
Determine the Child’s Needs and Find Out How Tutors Can Help
The first step is to determine the child’s needs by having a conversation with them. Some kids are more willing than others to discuss their school difficulties, and it may take some creativity on the parent’s part. Ask the child about their favorite and least favorite subjects, and find out what they’d change about school if they had the ability. Listen to the child’s underlying concerns, as there may be red flags hidden there. Next, set up a conference with the child’s teachers, tell them about the tutoring plan, and ask them where the child can make improvements.
Then, the parent should make a list of the educational areas and school subjects where the child could use a bit of help. Note the topics that came up during the conversation with the child, as well as the suggestions made by his or her teachers. Evaluate past report cards with a focus on teachers’ comments to learn where the child could benefit from a tutor’s expertise. Use the list to find a tutor who can meet the child’s educational needs.
Start the Search for a Tutor
During the search for a tutor, a child’s teachers and a tutor’s personal references are great resources, but they may not be enough in every case. Many experts believe that an online search is the ideal starting point in a parent’s search for a reliable tutor. While many tutoring services and private tutors post ads on various websites, there are other ways to find a tutor online. Check the classifieds sections of college newspapers; these schools are filled with grad and undergrad students offering tutoring on various subjects and educational levels. Interested parents can also find local agencies and tutors via search engines, review sites, and by visiting our site. Here, parents can search by ZIP code, educational specialty, and other criteria.
Contact Local Nonprofits
Parents can call the nearest Junior Achievement or YMCA branch to see which tutoring and mentoring programs are on offer. Many nonprofit organizations have programs that match high school and college students with younger kids who need tutoring. Because these students often specialize in certain subjects, and because some are looking for career experience, they can be a great source of help when a child is only behind in one area. If a child’s needs are special, look for a local group that offers specialized tutoring.
Get the Word Out
Along with online searches, parents can find tutors by mentioning their needs to coworkers, neighbors, family, and friends. Finding tutors this way can give the child the benefit of receiving knowledge from a known and trusted source. Furthermore, hiring a tutor based on a past client’s recommendation can give parents an idea on the benefits and disadvantages of that tutor’s methods. It’s important for parents to find different perspectives, and asking friends for suggestions can give the parent valuable insights into a tutor’s skills, methods, teaching style, and personality. Finally, parents may find unadvertised discounts and availability.
Evaluate the Options
Many of today’s most qualified, reliable tutors work with agencies, and it’s important for parents to check whether their top candidates have the right credentials and belong to a tutoring network. While there are several well-known and often-used national services, there are also many local, small ones that can provide quality tutoring. The best tutor for a child is the one who can meet their needs and the family’s budget and schedule.
Research different types of tutors to see which needs they can fulfill. It’s also a good idea to read online reviews, colleges’ message boards, social media posts, and ask local teachers and parents for their opinions. Be sure to make an appointment with the tutor to discuss his or her skill level, training, and the child’s educational requirements. Lastly, set up an in-person meeting with the tutor to oversee a tutoring session. Another thing for parents to consider is whether they want in-home or onsite tutoring. Teachers and developmental psychology experts say that home tutoring is the ideal fit for many students, but it comes with a price tag that puts it out of some families’ reach.
Whether a professional tutor works privately or as part of a larger program, their training and content knowledge make the most substantial difference. It’s important for parents to gather proof of the tutor’s effectiveness, whether it’s from test results or reviews from local parents. Some centers offer on- and off-site tutoring, and parents should carefully decide which option is best for the child based on their needs. Discuss the child’s educational strengths, weaknesses, and progress with each potential tutor to find out what they believe is the optimal strategy.
Check the Tutor’s References and Qualifications
While a parent may find an affordable tutor who seems to have the right credentials, it’s important for them to ensure that the person is qualified to meet the child’s educational needs. It’s equally vital to ensure that the child’s needs are a close match for the tutor’s skill set. Ask whether the tutor is approved by local schools, and read their agency reviews if applicable.
Parents should always verify a tutor’s references. Regardless of the source used to find the names of prospective tutors, the parent should always ask for recommendations from past clients. Most agencies pre-screen tutors, including background checks, which can greatly simplify the screening process on the parent’s end.
Finding and retaining a reliable tutor involves hard work and sacrifice on the parent’s part, but it can pay enormous dividends in terms of a child’s educational development. By following the tips given in this guide, parents can find the right tutor regardless of the child’s needs.