Finding the Right Tutor

How do I find the right tutor for my student?

A successful tutor will need the right expertise to work with your student, but it’s even more important that they are the right personality fit. Working one-on-one, even for only an hour at a time, requires intense personal attention. If your student doesn’t like the way someone explains things, or finds them “too easy,” or doesn’t get along with them in some way, then whatever knowledge there is to impart will be poorly received.

The “best” tutor and the best-for-your-student tutor are not always the same. To find the right tutor for you, you should define your student’s needs, do your research, and test out tutors.

Photo by  Jerry Wang  on  Unsplash

Photo by Jerry Wang on Unsplash

1)    Defining your student’s needs. Make sure you know what you are trying to get out of tutoring. Tutors and tutoring companies usually specialize in subject areas or grade-levels, so knowing what you need will narrow the pool.

Here are some key questions to ask before you research tutors:

  • Why are you seeking a tutor?

  • Does your student need support in a single subject area or do they need general study skills help?

  • Do you have a child with a learning disability, anxiety, or other barriers to their success?

  • Is your student open to being tutored?   

2)    Research tutors and companies in your area. Many companies and tutors offer online lessons, but if you can find someone in your area, I highly recommend face-to-face tutoring sessions. Asking your neighbors for recommendations is a good way to start, but a Google search with subject area key words can be helpful. You can also search on Care.com, Noodle Pros, or post an ad on a college job site. Many undergraduates are looking for tutoring work and may be just starting out, so their rates will be lower.

3)    Speak to potential tutors and have 2 or 3 come to work with your student. Always talk to possible tutors on the phone to get a sense of their experience and to make sure they are clear on what you expect for your student. The number of companies out there makes the process seem daunting, but a quick phone call with any of them will give you plenty of information.

  • Always ask their rate. Don’t hire someone you can’t afford.

  • Tell them what you need. Be clear about your expectations and the challenges your child is having.

  • Ask about their experience. Tutors should be comfortable telling you about their expertise.

Once you have them come to do an initial session, you may want to speak them briefly to get a sense of their experience working with your student. After you have 2 or 3 tutors come, ask your student if they had a preference. Then, make a decision!