Finding a tutor to help you through your high school years is always a great choice. Many people seem to think that tutors are only appropriate for struggling students, but this is far from the case. Tutors can help with test prep, study skills, and college essays, among other things. While a tutor is always a great choice for students who need extra help, they're also a good option for anyone who just needs to reinforce some skills or develop good study habits.
Choosing the right tutor for your student can sometimes be difficult, though. There are many factors you'll need to weigh in your decision, and prioritizing them is a personal choice that only you can make. To learn more about the five factors you should consider when hiring a high school tutor, check out our list below.
1. Area of Expertise
One of the first and most important factors to consider when choosing a high school tutor is what that person's area of expertise is and how it suits your unique needs. It wouldn't make sense to hire a computer science expert to help you perfect your essay writing skills for English class. Start with subject area expertise to refine your list.
If you are a high school student who needs help developing study skills across all subject areas, you'll want to choose someone who has broad experience in this area and expertise in things like memory and executive functioning. If, on the other hand, you need a subject specific tutor for help in trigonometry or Spanish, you'll of course search for a tutor with a strong background in those subject areas.
Sometimes your needs may be even more unique. For example, you might need to prepare for the SAT essay section, brush up on pre-calculus before you take an AP class next year, or learn new content before you tackle the GED. It might seem difficult to find a tutor whose expertise fits these particular niches, but if you broaden your search with options like virtual tutoring, you may be able to find someone who suits your needs exactly.
2. Tutoring Experience
When selecting a high school tutor, you will also want to consider this person's experience as a tutor. Knowing how to do something well and knowing how to teach others to do it are two separate skills. You need someone who has both, so simply selecting a tutor who aced the SAT doesn't guarantee that he or she will be a great SAT tutor.
Instead, ask about this person's past experiences acting as a tutor. You can request references from past students, read reviews if they're available online, and ask for a copy of each tutor's resume to see how many years of experience he or she has.
Sometimes, results are even quantifiable. This is the case if you're hiring a tutor for test prep. Ask about average score increases or average test scores from past students to get a clearer idea of how effective the tutor's instruction has been in the past. If the tutor consistently helps students to achieve their target SAT scores, you're probably on the right track.
Also, when asking about someone's tutoring experience, you'll want to make sure it aligns with your needs. If a tutor is really good at teaching math but has only tutored for elementary school math skills, he or she probably isn't the best match for a high school level student who needs extra help at the high school math level.
3. Learning Style
Learning styles are not universal. You may learn best through spaced repetition, using things like flashcards or skill and drill exercises. Other students really benefit from putting new knowledge into context in tactile or visual ways. No matter your personal learning style, you'll need to find an experienced tutor familiar with teaching students with similar profiles.
The first step to making sure you find the best match for your individual needs is to get to know your learning style. Pay attention to how you learn best in the classroom and through your own studying. If you're still feeling stuck, you can find quizzes or learning style inventories online to get started. Then, ask a tutor to tell you about his or her experience working with students who have a similar learning style to yours.
Working around your schedule can be difficult, but add in the schedule of another person, and it can be really challenging to find common time to schedule tutoring sessions. If your tutor is a college student or a classroom teacher, he or she probably has only limited flexibility.
Many tutors work only part-time as tutors and hold another full-time job on the side. In this case, you'll likely have little opportunity to reschedule missed sessions. If you need after school tutoring, college students may not be an option if they have their own homework to do, or if they participate in sports or extracurriculars.
Find a tutor whose availability is either very flexible or can reasonably be expected to align with your schedule on a regular basis. This is sometimes easier said than done, but it's a very important consideration if you want to have access to consistent tutoring services.
Budget is always a consideration when you're weighing choices with a wide price range. In general, tutors can charge anywhere from $25 to $100 per hour, or more depending on your unique needs. Sometimes, there are also fees for cancellations or requirements to buy certain supplies or subscribe to particular programs.
Know your budget ahead of time so that you don't get stuck paying more than you can afford. Once you know your budget, search within it to find the best tutors available. Though you sometimes get what you pay for, when you cast your net wide enough, you can certainly find a reasonably priced and highly skilled tutor.
Comparing costs between tutors can be a hassle if you're looking for an in-person tutor. In this case, you'll need to contact each person individually and have a conversation about rates and policies. Compare them all before making your final decision.
Why Online Tutoring Platforms Are a Great Place to Find High School Tutors
Many of the hassles involved in finding and selecting the right tutor for you can be resolved when you consider virtual tutoring options.
Virtual tutoring gives you access to a much larger pool of tutors from across the country, representing a multitude of strengths and subject area expertise. A broad variety of time zones can also mean variety in scheduling options.
Online tutoring platforms like TutorMe allow you to compare available tutors in real time. You can filter by experience, subject area, test prep, or cost. This simplifies your tutor search by allowing you to compare available tutors across multiple areas at the same time. Then, you can choose the tutor who seems like the best fit for you.
TutorMe provides tutoring and tech support 24/7 on demand, so you never have to worry about availability or what to do if your screen freezes. With the state of our world in limbo due to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual tutoring provides a simple and safe way to connect with experts from across the country.