To Get A Tutor Or Not? That’s A Question


It is an increasingly complicated question for high school and college students (and their parents) across the country. Getting into a top college is tough. Like, really tough. Some top schools have acceptance rates as ridiculously low as 5%. The high school senior ranked fifth in a class of more than 600 might get in to say, Stanford and the sixth-placed student might not. The senior on the school newspaper staff might get in but the speech and debate team member might not. Or perhaps it is the senior with the right AP courses that gets into Harvard. The competitiveness is unreal.

What is that sixth ranked, speech and debate team member to do? Tutoring, perhaps. Tutoring for classes. Tutoring for exams. Tutoring for essays. Whatever. The tutoring business has and continues to be gargantuan. WyzAnt, an online tutoring service, has more than two million students seeking tutors and around 75 thousand tutors. What’s more, it is estimated to be around a $7 billion industry. Students are paying anywhere from $30 to $700 an hour for tutors. And that might be a steal. Private tutor, Anthony Green tutors kids of Fortune 500 CEOs for about $1,000 an hour. $1,000!

Author Barbara Dianis

Author Barbara Dianis

Let’s go out on a limb and say one of your parents isn’t a big-time CEO and $1,000 an hour for ACT prep isn’t realistic. Then what? Are you forced into a life altering decision to attend the state school? Not necessarily, says author and educator, Barbara Dianis. The educator of more than two decades is in the process of releasing a couple of books called, Grade Transformer for the Modern Student, and says private tutors might not be necessary at all.


Scholastic success from raising GPAs to taking exams to writing essays at the high school or collegiate level boil down to one broad idea, according to Dianis. It is being a self-sufficient and active learning student. This can come from tutors. Or it can come from student ability and motivation. Regardless, Dianis says the key to reaching high scholastic achievements have less to do with the amount of money (if any) spent or the name of the tutoring service and more to do with the ability of the student to create a sustainable, self-sufficient learning style.

Below are seven of the most important points from a conversation with Dianis for high school students wanting to boost GPA and class rank this year and freshmen college students wanting to have success in the first year but do not want to invest in a private tutor.

  1. Having a visual calendar of marked study times and exams. And then stick to the calendar to avoid procrastination and cramming.
  2. Learn the vocabulary and key concepts before class. Spending just five to 10 minutes to review key concepts before class can help students feel more involved in the lecture or discussion.
  3. Spend five to 10 minutes after classes reading over notes.
  4. Learn Greek and Latin roots, stems and prefixes. This can help students figure out word meanings when they don’t have a dictionary or Internet. Read: during exams.
  5. Practicing exams, essays and problem solving are all ways to increase test scores and comfort during exams.
  6. Take classes with other freshmen in college. Taking classes with upper classmen can be tough. Competing with students who have spent at least a year figuring out the “game of college” can but freshmen at a disadvantage.
  7. Ask questions before class. This gets students in the right mindset and actively engaged.

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