Is Hiring A Tutor Worth It?

As the owner of a tutoring company and a long-time tutor myself, I obviously have a bias in answering this question.  However, I do believe the answer depends on the unique situation of the student and the family. One-on-one tutoring does have numerous advantages and has been shown to improve students’ academic performance, but other options can and should be explored first before investing in private tutoring services.

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Online Lessons: Sites such as offer a huge library of lessons and drills that students can use to review concepts or go through step-by-step instructions for different types of problems.  I believe sites like this are a huge help to students who are already well organized, understand the subject and just need a review of an idea.

After School Programs: Many schools and libraries offer (usually free) tutoring services for students. This is typically done in a group setting where a teacher “floats” around answering questions as students work through homework problems. I believe these are a good resource when students have the time to attend (they are usually right after school ends) and only need a little guidance in their studies.

When to Hire a Tutor

If your student is struggling in school, having a dedicated one-on-one tutor can help for several reasons.

  1. Tutors can help organize and plan: If your student struggles to remember assignments and test dates or doesn’t know how to create a study schedule, a tutor can be helpful.
  2. Tutors can answer specific questions and provide multiple ways of teaching: The online lessons don’t give you an opportunity to ask the specific questions your student may have about a subject. Tutors can provide answers and employ multiple ways to teach your student if they do not understand what has been taught to them during the “lecture-style” teaching in school.
  3. Tutors can provide accountability and motivation: Some students need someone in their corner who will hold them accountable for completing their homework or studying for a test. A good tutor can also tap into different motivation strategies to help your student discover the benefits of what they are learning.
  4. Tutors are not their parent or teacher: Sometimes students need someone who is not their parent or teacher to work with them. Tutors can offer a more objective perspective and align with the student as they brainstorm various ways to increase motivation and complete assignments.  
  5. Tutors are subject experts: A lot of the time, tutors may actually understand subjects at a deeper level than high school or middle school teachers. Tutors at Universal Achievement have studied that specific subject in college, work in that particular field of study, and/or apply that knowledge on a daily basis.