January is a time of new beginnings. Whether you’ve made resolutions for yourself, for your family, or for your student, it’s always important to consider how goals will be achieved. Most students begin their second semester with the best of intentions, but without a plan or additional resources, old habits can take hold by the time the snow melts.
Academic tutoring can help students meet their academic goals and, most importantly, ensure that critical skills are being mastered and retained, which will not only benefit them later in life but also on standardized tests such as the ACT and SAT.
Let’s be honest: students these days have a lot to contend with. Rates of depression and anxiety among students have surged. Even if individual students are doing well academically, their class may still be behind in reaching pre-pandemic educational benchmarks. Learning loss, particularly in mathematics, may be slow to reveal itself as students progress to advanced math courses that build on skills that students are assumed to have mastered.
The benefits of academic tutoring are numerous. However, the personalization of a program to a specific student’s needs may be the most profound. Academic tutoring provides a space for students to ask questions they may not have wanted to ask in class. It gives students valuable one-on-one time with an educator, who accesses the student’s critical thinking processes in addition to their final answers.
For your student, the benefit of academic tutoring may be simpler. It carves out time to dedicate to their schoolwork. According to a 2021 Teacher Survey by the Inverness Institute, 41% report that students are struggling to conduct independent learning, 44% report a decline in student motivation, and 60% report a decrease in students’ attention span. Through academic coaching, students don’t have to struggle on their own. They have an educator there to help guide them through their work, keep them on task, and help break up overwhelming concepts into smaller, attainable steps.
Signs Your Student May Benefit from Academic Tutoring Services
It’s important to note that good grades do not necessarily equate to good learning practices, and to remember that even high-achieving students may be struggling in ways that aren’t immediately obvious. Some subtle signs that indicate your student could benefit from academic tutoring include:
- High rates of stress or anxiety
- Memorizing content just to “get through a test”
- Spending excessive time on homework or studying
- Rarely doing homework or studying
- Changes to their sleeping habits
- Is defensive or easily angered by questions or discussions about school
- Becomes easily frustrated by tasks or is easily distracted
- Often makes careless errors or typos in schoolwork
If you’ve noticed these behaviors in your student, it is important to get them additional help with their schoolwork. That may mean talking with a teacher or school guidance counselor. It may mean having regular check-ins with your student and asking them questions such as:
- Which class are you struggling the most with right now? Why?
- Would you like me to edit your paper?
- I know you’re stressed about X upcoming test. How can I help you with that stress?
- Do you feel like you’re scrambling before a test? Do you often rely on memorization?
- Do you often have to re-learn material?
- Are you comfortable asking questions in class?
- Do your teachers offer office hours?
Your student may or may not be open to discussing their learning with you. Remember to be patient, focus on listening, and not be discouraged if your student doesn’t share much.
No matter how much your student has shared with you about their academic experience, Academic Approach can help. Since its founding in 2001, Academic Approach has helped thousands of students improve their grades and skill sets. We offer a range of academic tutoring services, from middle school support to help with AP courses and exams.
Although we do offer finals support, we recommend signing your student up for academic tutoring early in the semester. Why? Firstly, it’s much easier to ensure long-term retention and mastery of skills as they are being taught to your student, rather than trying to cram dozens of concepts, many of which often have be completely re-learned, in the span of a few weeks.
The Benefits of Academic Tutoring Services
Academic tutoring fights natural memory loss by forcing students to review the material, often in ways that are different from how their teacher originally taught the material, providing students with a multidimensional understanding of concepts and cognitive flexibility that benefits them on test day.
Secondly, spring semester tends to fly by and students’ attention spans (understandably) fade as the weather warms and exciting end-of-the-year events like proms, sport championships, school plays or concerts occur. Scheduling your student for academic tutoring may prove more challenging as the end of the school year approaches.
The best news about scheduling academic tutoring at the beginning of the semester? You can always adjust the frequency and duration of sessions to find the right balance for your student as the semester progresses and workloads and schedules ebb and flow.
What if Your Student is Against Tutoring?
Worried that your student might be resistant to academic tutoring? You might be surprised. A recent study has found that 1 in 4 US students is currently using TikTok for educational purposes, especially homework help. While TikTok use among students opens the door for misinformation, it is also popularizing the idea of students publicly asking for help and engaging with educators or experts.
Another way to reframe academic tutoring is to think of it like a personal trainer. Tutoring is simply individualized, one-on-one time with an expert who will help you strengthen your mind instead of strengthening your triceps.
If your student is dead-set against academic tutoring this semester, try again in fall 2023. Due in large part to pandemic learning loss, academic tutoring is gaining more popularity among students and families and is becoming a major focus for school districts and policymakers. Some districts and states have passed legislation that automatically triggers tutoring for students who don’t meet certain benchmarks on standardized tests, and by 2025, the Biden administration had pledged to bring in 250,000 tutors to K-12 schools. By next semester, there’s a good chance that a majority of your student’s friends will be engaging in some kind of tutoring program.
When pitching academic tutoring to your student, you will have the most success if you lead with specifics. A Brown University study about online tutoring found a 120% increase in participation when tutoring services were offered to students directly, rather than hearing that tutoring was available at their schools.