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Give Your Grades a Boost: How to Find the Right Tutor for You

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If you feel more comfortable meeting a tutor live and in-person, there are reputable companies that provide offline tutors. Check out the top sites below to find reputable and dependable college-level tutors. The fees and the tutors' expertise vary for each site so make sure you properly research and do your homework first (see #5 below).

Some sites offer free minutes for signing up. Remember to read all the fine print before you agree to their terms of service. Many of the sites have tutors available around the clock. If you attend college in the United States and need writing assistance, make sure that your tutor is a native American English speaker and writer. British English has variations in its grammar and spelling.
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5. Ask specific questions before hiring a tutor. Before hiring a tutor to help you, it's important to first talk to them. Ask questions such as, how many students have you tutored? Were you able to help them improve their grade? It's important to review their resume/CV and ask for professional references. Make sure they have expertise in your class subject, are good communicators, and can effectively explain concepts to you.

Tutors don't necessarily need to be teachers. However, if you feel more comfortable working with a teacher, seek out an experienced teacher with the proper credentials. Remember that an experienced teacher may charge more money for their fees. As mentioned above, teachers and professors sometimes tutor on the weekends and evenings. When hiring an online tutor, look at their reviews and testimonials from other students. Seek out tutors with high ratings and positive reviews.

When I work with new students, I set up an initial tutoring session (with an agreed upon fee) for one hour. This allows us to see if we're a good fit and if we work well together. If the session does not go well and/or if you don't care for the tutor's personality, then you can politely thank him or her and seek out another tutor who is a better match.

Additional Tips: You don't need to feel embarrassed about hiring a tutor. As a re-entry student, you may just need a push in the right direction. Be patient when working with your tutor. Depending on how much you struggle with the class, you may need only one or two tutoring sessions or you may need to consistently work with a tutor a few days a week. It's better to be proactive and hire a tutor rather than fail and have to repeat the class.

Don't be afraid to approach your professor for assistance. Sometimes professors offer extra credit assignments to help improve students' grades. Remember that a tutor is meant to help and guide you with homework assignments, but they will not do your homework for you. Ethically, it is considered plagiarism for a tutor to complete homework on your behalf so keep that in mind when working with a tutor.

If you find yourself struggling with your classes, working with a reputable, experienced tutor can be a win-win situation and can help you boost a failing grade.

Therese Pope is a professional copywriter with a B.A. in Journalism. She moonlights as a tutor for college students and assists them with writing classes. Therese is also an online community teaching assistant for the University of Pennsylvania's Modern & Contemporary American Poetry online course.

Tutoring at a Glance

1. Many believe tutoring should be used for remedial purposes, helping underperforming students raise grades to a passing level. However, all students can benefit from tutoring, and enjoy increased levels of academic success.

2. Having a tutor does not show that you're not intelligent enough to master the material alone. It could probably be said that students who know how to utilize a tutor to raise their GPA are actually "smarter" than those who struggle through without assistance.

3. If you are taking an introductory college-level course in a complex discipline (i.e. biology, chemistry, mathematics, or physics), working with a tutor can assist with questions and provide effective strategies to move forward with difficult parts of the material.

4. General skills tutoring services address include:

  • Computer proficiency and knowledgeability. Strong computer skills are becoming increasingly required in college and at the workplace, and many schools provide tutoring to help students become comfortable with ever-changing technology.
  • Library skills. Information literacy is necessary for academic research, and universities may offer special workshops to help students efficiently browse catalogs and search online databases.
  • English, mathematics and writing.  Most schools have a writing center or math lab available for students to brush-up on or increase abilities. English or ESL courses are also offered.
  • College success.  If you are returning to college after some time in the workforce, introductory courses on achieving success in college are often available to help jump start your return to learning.


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