​Tutoring for Everybody

I'm going to say something, but don't think you're in trouble. You need tutoring.

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I'm going to say something, but don't think you're in trouble. You need tutoring.

I know, this is what you hear when you're struggling or when your teacher feels like you're not keeping up with the rest of the class, but this is college. This is different.

Let's go ahead and knock out some preconceived ideas. Tutoring is not just for slow learners. Tutoring is not just for people who get bad grades. Tutoring is not just for those who don't have any friends for a study group. It's not a sign that you can't do it. It's not a sign that you've given up. Tutoring is a tool.

I go to tutoring regularly. I meet with my professors, I meet with on-campus tutors, I have constant email communication with people who I think can help me. Yes, I still study with friends and most of what I do on my own, but I have seen the other side! There's no reason to not take advantage of the resources that will make your life quite a bit easier.

Have you ever found yourself trying to complete an assignment on new material and you're just stumped? How frustrating, right? No matter how many times you read the same paragraph or work the same problem, you can't seem to get it to come together. So what do you do now? Put it away and I hope it's not on the test? Give your closest guess? Yeah, these are all bad options.

The way I see it, college is fundamentally different than high school. In high school, your building and building on material you've learned from year to year. In college, they're exposing you to brand-new topics in classes that become increasingly specialized according to your degree. This is not stuff you've seen before. And take it from me, you're probably going to need a little help. Even the best of us do!

So what do you do? How does this work? There are at least two ways to go about this. At smaller schools, professors are usually really good about spending time after class to give students more personalized attention. Check the syllabus for their office hours. If you're in a larger school, of course that's going to be more difficult just due to the volume of students that need help. In this scenario, your best bet is to reach out to your college tutoring program. A little googling should find you just what you need. A lot of schools have a tutoring center in the library, or each academic department has their own tutor for those specific classes in the department. They can hook you up with a graduate student or someone who has already taken the class.

One thing I definitely want to encourage you to do, though, is make sure that you've done your part. You can't go in to a tutor and ask them to teach you from the ground up. Go in with specific questions and a good understanding of the rest of the material. They can't just re-teach the entire chapter to you. That would be a lot of wasted time for both of you. It's like if you went to the doctor and told him you were sick but you didn't narrow it down with any symptoms. First of all, your doc is going to think you're a weirdo. Second of all, going to take all eternity to figure out what's really wrong with you.

And if I haven't convinced you that the benefits outweigh the stereotypes yet, here are a few more reasons that tutoring is good stuff:

Tutoring can give you a lot of confidence. Your questions have been answered, therefore you're more prepared for your assignments and exams. You have reassurance from a second opinion, and not just your roommate or your dad over the phone, you have the second opinion from someone highly qualified.

If you are meeting with your professor, they know you are invested in their class. This can help you form a really great relationship with someone who might potentially write you a letter of recommendation later or be helpful to you professionally. It may also impact their decision if you are sitting at an 89.45 at the end of the semester and you'd really love to have that A.

And you know what else? Good grades! Especially in the freshman year, you want to start with good grades. As you move forward in your degree, those good grades can be harder to come by. But with a tutor, you can pretty much guarantee your grade point average will be higher than if you kept your fingers crossed the tough stuff wasn't on the test or gave it your best guess.

This is one of those things I wish I would've known when I first started college. Just saying that makes me feel really old, but I'm doing it for you. Give it a try – see how it makes you feel and what it does to your grades. I think you'll be impressed!

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