Whether or not to hire a tutor is a decision that many parents face. However, tutoring can often be misunderstood. Here are some misconceptions:
1. Tutoring is used for remedial reasons. Traditionally, it is thought that parents turn to tutoring when a child is failing a class, performing poorly, or falling behind in school. While this is often the case, a significant number of parents and students also elect to work with a tutor for enrichment. This can include extra math problems, vocabulary building, or further exploration of a subject your child is passionate about. Don't forget about these potential benefits!
2. Tutoring is unaffordable. While college application consulting and test prep tutoring, in particular, can be expensive, it isn't always out of reach. If you find an independent educator or a tutoring company that you'd like to work with, try to see what other options they might have available. If one of your friends is also interested in tutoring for their child, see if the tutor would agree to work with two children at once. Sometimes, tutors require more for two children, but splitting the cost will still result in significant savings. Also, inquire whether the rate would be lower if you were to drive your child to the tutor's location. These approaches could make a great tutor accessible for you and your child.
3. It's hard to find a qualified tutor. In the advent of social media, there is a multitude of resources available to you for educational services. A quick Google search will turn up tutoring databases, whereupon you can search through profiles to find the right local tutor for your child. Background checks are often available on these profiles, ensuring that safe individuals will be working with your child. Also, consider inquiring at you child's guidance department for independent educators that have a relationship with the school system; for college students, check out your schools' academic support center for recommendations.
4. We don't need a tutor because most school districts work on the college application in English. The college essay is one of the most important essays a child will write. While there are often exercises in English class during college essay season, remember: there is only one teacher reviewing these submissions. That means that niggling grammar errors can pass through--something you don't want to have on a college application! Working with a tutor can be low-pressure and can ensure that your child submits a polished piece of writing.
5. Tutors are only for kids. Whether you are a professional looking to ramp up your writing skills or an adult going back to school, consider private, one-on-one tutoring to help you achieve your goals at an accelerated pace. Often, when adults consider enrichment, they seek out community education programs. For some, these classes are a good choice. However, private tutoring can help you to move at the pace you, and only you, desire.
Most importantly: remember to seek out a tutor that is flexible, knowledgeable, and experienced as a tutor, specifically. Classroom teaching and tutoring are quite different in approach, so be sure your potential tutor has worked one-on-one with students in the past.