5 Tips for Finding the Perfect Tutor

Finding a good tutor to help you study for the ACT (or even an upcoming math test) can be an invaluable step towards academic success. Today our friends at Noodle are here to offer tips for finding the right tutor for you.

These days, it doesn’t matter whether you’re in grade school, high school, college or even graduate school, the competition is fierce. When it comes to simply staying on top of schoolwork or even progressing ahead of the curve, enlisting a tutor may just be the best option for you. But how do you pick? Who do you hire? Where do you even begin?

To answer some of the toughest questions, here are five tips for tracking down your perfect tutor.

  • 1. Research, research, research

    Once you decide that a tutor is right for you, the next step should be finding a firm or individual with a strong reputation. The tutor you pick should have at least three years of experience (bonus points if they specialize in the subject area you need help in). Additionally, TutorHub says, “Ideally they should have a demonstrable track record and can produce references on request.”
  • 2. Know your goals.

    Before getting started with a new tutor, you first need to self-reflect on what you specifically want to accomplish. Agreeing to a set of achievable goals with your tutor from the start keeps everyone on the same page and reduces the chances for confrontation in the future (if you feel your goals aren’t being met).

    Not sure what objectives you have? If you’re applying to graduate school, your goal might be passing a required exam. If you’re learning a new language, attempt to reach conversational level. Whatever your goal is, just make sure it’s tailored to your specific needs and abilities—and communicated with your tutor from the start.
  • 3. Don’t commit prematurely.

    Once you think you’ve found the right tutor for you, don’t sign on the dotted line too soon. Before committing to anything, have a practice round with an introduction lesson or two. After all, you can’t fully evaluate how a tutor’s communication and teaching ability will work for you, until you actually experience them in action.
  • 4. Consider a peer tutor.

    Especially for high school and college students, sometimes having someone your own age explain a difficult concept just “clicks” better. Reinforcing key subject material with someone who’s already had the same professor or aced the class freshmen year can offer sage wisdom that an older person can’t. According to an article on Parents.com, Resa Fogel Ph.D., a child psychologist, says that some students are also, “…more comfortable working with a peer. Simply having someone to study with can be beneficial.”
  • 5. Never settle.

    This is perhaps the most important tip of all. When it comes to something as important as your education, don’t feel pressured to compromise on working with a tutor who leaves something to be desired. If you don’t click with somebody’s communication or teaching style right away, don’t give up on the process.

The perfect tutor for you is out there! Sometimes it just takes a little trial and error (and patience).

Emily Grier is a senior in the Master’s of Accounting Program at Penn State University. She previously served as Managing Editor for VALLEY magazine, Penn State’s life and style magazine, and was a 2011 USA Today Collegiate Correspondent.

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