Wednesday, April 9

Confessions of A College Student's Mom: Tips To Finding the Best College Tutor

I am the mother of a college student. Having been through this process before, I know how to let go. I know how to furnish a dorm room. I know to expect the phone call notifying me of the fender-bender. I know how to embrace the texts informing me money is needed. 

However, I was not expecting THIS particular college student/child to give up so easily. Mr.P and I have been completely blindsided with our daughter's surrender to defeat. It is SO not our daughter. She was the child that would pester us over the smallest of details, not just during high school, but her entire life. Yes, it was nerve racking. 

The cracks in her 'college student-I'm an adult-I can do it on my own' amour began to appear last Fall. We would ask about grades, she would clam up. We encouraged her to study, she became defensive. And on a few occasions, she just broke down and cried. And for a Mom, that's heartbreaking. But what doesn't break my heart is the clear fact that now she has settled into a warm and comfortable apathetic easy chair. Completely given up, I can't even sort that out in my brain! 

So what's a Mom to do? How are parents to cope with this kind of problem? We certainly can't swoop in and fix this. Wouldn't that be lovely? No, it's got to come from her. But as parents, we can definitely be helpful. We pray for her daily, encourage, love and support her, hopefully helping her to keep the goal in view, and we are at the ready to send assistance in any form that's needed. 

Mr.P and I have  been tossing around the idea of a college tutor. Someone that's been sitting right where she is, understands, and has come out victorious on the other side. They could be a tremendous asset to E, giving her that boost to get over this slump she finds herself in. I've thought a lot about this and finding the right college tutor can be challenging. This is what I've come up with so far; three practical steps to hiring the best tutor:

Only hire tutors that have been vetted by others and experienced. This can mean your school has approved them to tutor and/or they have testimonials reviewing their effectiveness. Always ask tutors for references and then make sure to follow up to get unedited testimonials from students and parents. Don't waste your students time or your money with a tutor that has a lack luster track record.

Only hire tutors that received an A or A- in the exact class your student is taking. For challenging subjects and classes, E is struggling with Micro-Bio and Lab, it’s important the tutor has taken that class, with the same professor teaching the class, and received a high grade themselves to be the most effective at tutoring your student. Don’t be afraid to ask the tutor to provide proof he/she has taken the class and done well. You may have to pay a premium for the best tutors in a given class/subject, but good tutors not only help students understand material in less time, they can save money in the long term by teaching good study skills and helping a student avoid having to re-take a class. 

Establish clear goals, methods of payment and expectations - for both student and tutor, and refund policies at the onset so everyone is clear. Ensure you can get a refund after the first hour if your student doesn’t click with their tutor. Sometimes tutor-student interactions never get off on the right foot. Students have different learning styles and tutors have different teaching styles.

My college student looking slightly bewildered above and in less stressful times below. 

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  1. Some great tips here that will be very helpful to college students and their parents! You bring up some excellent points, especially about ensuring the tutor has taken the same class from the same professor, and about different teaching and learning styles. As a teacher myself, I can definitely vouch for the importance of that "click" between tutor and student.
    Blessings to you and your daughter as you navigate this college journey!

    1. Amber, you being a teacher, your comment really encourages me! Thanks for the pick me up!

  2. Excellent tips. College is such a change, on so many levels. It's hard to admit you need the help sometimes, when you've never needed it before. Best wishes to her as she works on figuring it all out- it's a fun ride, and I hope she can enjoy it!

  3. Great advice! My husband was a tutor in college. Sort of makes me wonder...>LOL :-)

    1. Thanks Meeghan! She's already back at school and we've got the tutors lined up and ready when needed!

  4. Great advice! Thanks so much for sharing - posting on my Pinterest page!