high_school_grad_boy_lrThis is the question I get asked most often by people when I tell them what I do… There is a HUGE spectrum of choices in the tutoring world and it can make for a difficult decision.  Of course as a private tutor, I’m a bit biased but it’s still a difficult question for me to answer…

Most likely the picture to the right represents a similar vision to what you hold for your own child someday… their graduation day!  And in some cases, getting there will take a bit of extra help and support, like tutoring.

The bottom line is that in spite of the sophistication of the internet, finding the right tutor for your child can be very confusing and complicated as well.  It seems that everywhere you look, tutoring services are offering the latest and greatest in customized programs (especially with the induction of the Common Core Standards and new state assessments) while graduate students have flooded the net looking to make a bit of extra cash to stick in their pockets.  Despite the challenge, I know that you want the absolute best for your child so  here are a few ideas and things to consider when choosing between a private tutor and a tutoring center.

I highly recommend that the very first thing you should consider doing is determine some goals for you and your child in regards to their education.  Do this first as it will help you greatly in your search for the best services.  Parents hire tutors for many different reasons…  Do you desire to help your child get a head start for the coming school year?  Is your child below grade level and struggling in a particular subject area and in need of extra support?  Are you concerned about your child’s falling grades?  Maybe you just want to provide some extra practice that gives you a break as well.  Regardless of the reason(s), be sure to talk with your child as to why you might be considering tutoring as an option for them so that you keep the lines of communication open between you.

Once you’ve considered your goals you’ll be better prepared to make the best choice… both private tutors and tutoring centers have their advantages and disadvantages so the key is to figure out how to get the most out of the advantages in order to meet your goals.  A tutoring center will most likely cost more than a private tutor (with the exception of hiring someone highly skilled and experienced). However, because tutoring centers tend to use a multitude of tutors it may be more convenient in terms of scheduling a session, there will most likely be more availability options.  With a private tutor you may get fewer options, especially if the tutor is in high demand.  A private tutor will have the means to specifically customize their tutoring to the needs of your child while tutoring centers typically use standard subject area curricula to target and improve general skills.  A private tutor will most likely request to be in touch with your child’s teacher (I do this for all of my students) in order to get specific information that will allow them to customize their tutoring to a refined level, while a tutoring center most likely will not do so since your child may be working with a different tutor each time they visit.

That being said, if you value a close working relationship/partnership you may want to consider hiring a private tutor, someone with whom you can meet and stay in close contact with in regards to questions, concerns and, most importantly, your child’s progress.  You will most likely know more about a private tutor in regards to their background, experience, and areas of expertise.  Although most tutoring centers don’t support parents speaking directly with tutors, they most often have a center director who communicates with parents in regards to their child’s progress.  This is not to say that tutoring centers don’t work with parents but it’s fair to say, and easy to see, that working with a private tutor will allow for parents to have a greater hand in their child’s education at large.

In the end, the decision is up to you and your child.  Before you make your final choice, see if it’s possible to meet your tutor or visit the center prior to your child’s first session in order to quell any fears your child may have about working with a “stranger”.  See if you think your choice will be a good fit and give your child some say in the matter because if your they aren’t happy with the situation or their tutor, you’ll have a struggle on your hands each time the tutoring session rolls around.

Best of luck and please feel free to get in touch with me anytime!