One part social science, one part mathematics, economics can stretch any student’s abilities. Add to that the many subtopics — game theory, political economy, corporate finance, econometrics, and so on — and navigating your economics courses can require you to fumble through a labyrinth of niche subject matter.
With the right economics tutor, however, you can master this complex subject and use it to do anything from developing a business to solving a social problem.
But finding the right econ tutor is key. The right tutor can ignite your enthusiasm for the subject while the wrong one can leave you snoozing into your textbook. So, here's what to consider before signing up for your first tutoring session.
How To Choose an Econ Tutor
Different students have different needs. So before you sign up for econ tutoring, do three things to set yourself and your future econ tutor up for success: Identify your learning style, assess your weaknesses, and set your goals.
1. Identify Your Learning Style
Many otherwise intelligent students struggle with their school work because their instructor’s teaching style doesn't match their learning style.
If you're a hands-on learner, a class where you're expected to memorize pages from a textbook won't help you grasp the subject matter. Instead, you'll need to work through real-life problem sets to improve your understanding. Make sure your tutor is prepared to bring additional problems to each session.
If you're a visual learner, then it will help to find a tutor who can create graphs, charts, and diagrams to explain key concepts. If you're unsure of your learning style, take a learning style assessment before you hire a tutor. Then, ask your potential tutor what resources they can provide for someone with your learning style.
2. Assess Your Weaknesses
As we mentioned, economics pulls concepts from both social science and mathematics. Many students understand one of these fields better than the other. Ask yourself, "Do I understand the formulas, but not the practical application, or is it the other way around?" Let your answer guide your choice of tutor.
If you have no trouble understanding psychology and economics, but you're struggling to grasp the mathematical formulas used to calculate supply and demand, you need a tutor who specializes in econometrics or who has experience tutoring students in pre-calculus and mathematics.
If, on the other hand, you can breeze through formulas but don't understand how they can apply to political policies and regulations, you'll need an economics tutor with a focus on social science.
3. Set Your Goals
Your current level of study and your future goals should dictate the qualifications you look for in a tutor. If you just want to pass your high school econ course, then you can seek tutoring from an undergraduate student or even a high school classmate who's doing well in the subject.
However, if you want to be the economics advisor to the next president, you'll need a tutor with a PhD or professional-level experience. As a general rule, look for a tutor who excels at your level of economics or higher.
A graduate student should seek tutoring from another grad student, a PhD student, or an economics professional. A PhD student, on the other hand, should only hire another PhD student or a professional because a less advanced student won't be familiar with the advanced concepts covered in a PhD program.
Where To Find Your Tutor
Now that you've identified your learning style, assessed your weaknesses, and set your goals, you're ready to find a tutor. For that, you have three options.
1. University Tutoring Centers
Many universities have a tutoring center for current students. If you're enrolled in a university economics course, talk to the department of economics to see what extra help they can provide. In addition to the campus tutoring lab, your professor will typically hold office hours so you can get one-on-one help and ask any specific questions you have about your class.
University tutoring services are usually free. However, because there will be set hours when your professor or the tutoring center is available, you'll have less control over when you meet with them than you would with a private tutor.
You will also have less control over which tutor you work with. If you already have trouble understanding your economics course, it could be because you don't understand your professor's teaching style. In this case, seeking more help from the same professor won't give you the new perspective you need.
Working with the tutors in your university's tutoring center can give you a helpful perspective, but they tend to have limited availability. So if you find a tutor you like, it may be difficult to schedule repeat tutoring sessions with them.
Additionally, university tutoring centers tend to be better equipped to help undergraduate students. Many of the tutors will be undergrad or grad students. So, it will be easy to find a tutor who can help with an undergrad Intro to Microeconomics course, but it will be much harder to find a tutor who can answer questions about a PhD Seminar in Advanced Macroeconomics and Money.
2. Local Private Tutors
If you're a high school student or are looking for a more flexible option than your university's economics tutoring lab, you will have to hire a private tutor — either locally or online. Hiring a local tutor limits your options to the people who live in your area, but it used to offer one advantage: in-person meetings.
However, in the wake of COVID-19, even local tutors are conducting their classes online over Skype, Zoom, or Google Meet. These platforms don't have as many learning tools as an online platform specifically designed for learning. For example, TutorMe's lesson space includes a whiteboard, calculator, text editor, and file sharing, making online tutoring more accessible to hands-on and visual learners.
3. Online Tutoring Services
When you hire your econ tutor online, you'll be able to choose from an international pool of talent. And you'll have access to a more flexible schedule: You can book your lessons when it's convenient for you and your tutor or get on-demand tutoring through an online tutoring platform.
When you work with an online platform, you'll have access to even more benefits, like a dedicated lesson space, bundled pricing options, and a tutor satisfaction guarantee. An online tutoring service will also vet your tutor to ensure they’re qualified to teach a student at your level.
An Econ Tutor Can Help You Master This Complex Topic
An econ tutor can help you understand economics from theory to analysis. They can provide the additional support you need to pass your high school, undergrad, grad, or PhD economics courses.
To find the right econ tutor for you, identify your learning style and take an honest look at where you need economics help. You should also keep in mind your general goals in the subject.