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Difficult numerical problems, multifaceted scientific projects, classroom presentations and outside reading form part of every elementary student’s daily studies. Meanwhile, advanced placement classes, international baccalaureate curriculums and college preparatory opportunities are becoming the norm for many high school scholars. While some students feel hyper-motivated to make good grades, though, others just try to survive the day-to-day pressures of academic life.

In years past, private tutoring often aided only struggling students. Children as young as 4 or 5 years would seek academic support to learn basic concepts, while older students often employed tutors to assist with a specific subject area. Although this remains the case, the educational industry is now registering a new trend – of outside professionals being hired to help students boost their GPA, assist with complex subject matter and prepare for admission tests like the SAT and ACT.

Although most students still work with a tutor for traditional help, more and more teenagers are getting assistance to advance their studies. Even before a semester begins, many adolescents realize they’ll face an extremely challenging teacher or a particularly difficult class. In such situations, many students proactively and preemptively engage professional help to ensure they understand material, minimize stress and earn good grades.

Tutoring can also help busy students achieve school/life balance. Many who pursue sports, enjoy artistic endeavors or have a unique, time-consuming extracurricular life struggle to fit everything in. An organizational tutor can help prioritize work and structure study schedules that allow talented youths to maximize homework time so they can pursue their passions while still maintaining their grades.

Another rapidly growing area of assistance involves test prep specialists. Although most schools offer classes to help students with standardized test-taking strategies, these exams overwhelm many families. Parents are hiring specific specialists who assist their children to prepare. By adapting their curriculum and teaching pace to match a student’s strengths and weaknesses, these instructors create a customized learning experience focused on test performance. In addition to providing academic assistance, such experts build student confidence by teaching about test format, penalties for guessing and exam-specific strategies.

Tutors, it bears nothing, aren’t babysitters or homework-doers. A competent professional will understand the unique needs of each client and succeed in building a trusting relationship. Do your research, though, before hiring a tutor – especially if seeking specialized assistance. Hourly fees can range from $15 for a college student to more than $85 for a specially trained teacher. A good tutor, however, constitutes a valuable commodity that can relieve student stress and deliver valuable results. 

Prior to going into private practice as a psychotherapist and learning-disabilities specialist, Russell Hyken, Ph.D., Ed.S., M.A., LPC, NCC, worked for more than 15 years as an English teacher, school counselor and school administrator. Visit him online at ed-psy.com.

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