• Brian Ricks

Choosing the Right Tutor

Updated: Apr 17


Hiring a private tutor is a great decision that will give you a boost as you work towards academic success. Here is a list of common questions that come up about choosing a tutor.


Where Can I Find Tutoring Near Me?


The most obvious answer is to do an internet search and see what tutoring options are available in your area, both in person or online tutoring. Google, Bing, or other general search engines are always a good option. One of the best platforms is Yelp, which is a searchable business directory with a local focus that lists many tutors with reviews. The advantage of searching for tutors on the internet is that you can do more research into what different tutors’ strengths and specialties are before contacting them.


In some places like New York City, advertisement posters for tutors with tear-off tabs on the bottom are very common in coffee shops, grocery stores, laundromats, etc. This serves as a local advantage because you can usually be sure that this tutor serves this specific area. The disadvantage is that you may not have as much information about them readily available other than what’s on the poster (unless they have a website). Also the majority of tutors who advertise this way do it as a part-time side gig and non as a full-time profession.


If you're a college student then your school may have a tutoring center which is often included in your tuition. These tutoring centers are a convenient resource; however, the tutors are typically other college students instead of experienced professionals. For many students this is a great option, but if you’re struggling significantly with a class then it may not be enough. Keep in mind that as your courses become more advanced, the number of qualified tutors drops pretty quickly as well. College tutoring centers are definitely a good option to check out if one is available to you, just understand they have their limitations.


What Should I Research and Ask of a Private Tutor?


You'll want to find a tutor who has experience with the course(s) you are taking. Some things to look out for include:


  • Academic background

  • Tutoring and teaching experience

  • How recent they took the course material (if part-time tutor)

  • Full-time tutors usually don’t have a problem with these aspects. For some part-time tutors though, they may not be as fluent as you need them to be when looking for help and guidance through a tough course.


Are All Tutors the Same?


All tutors are definitely not the same. For younger kids in elementary or middle schools, a single tutor could cover every subject they study. As classes get more advanced, the knowledge and experience needed to effectively tutor a student gets more specialized. Most tutors who work with high school and college level students will specialize in some areas. Some tutors only work with writing, while others work with history.

My specialties in particular are math and science. I keep a comprehensive list of the courses and subjects I specifically tutor in on my website.


What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Full-Time Professional Tutor?


A full-time professional tutor will have more experience with different types of students. This allows the tutor to explain difficult topics or problem solving strategies in a variety of ways until they figure out how to best reach the student. Less experienced tutors have a harder time explaining ideas in multiple ways if the student isn’t able to comprehend. Some courses such as physics, chemistry, and calculus often require a student to develop new ways of thinking about problems, and an experienced professional tutor can more reliably guide a student along the way.


That’s it for now, and I hope this helped clear up some things for you about choosing a tutor. If you have any followup questions for me, please contact me and I’d be happy to help. My tutoring services are available throughout NYC, Brooklyn and Queens. I can meet in a coffee shop, at your home, on campus, or wherever you like.

Call (619) 880-0133 to learn more or schedule your first session.

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