The Trend Towards “A Little Extra Help” And Why Even Advanced Students Need Tutors
“Everybody’s Doing It”
In recent years, it seems like tutoring has become less of a failsafe and more of a standard educational tool. It’s not just kids scared by their first “D” who are seeking out additional instruction. Students of all levels, even those with the most impressive report cards, are seeing tutors every single week.
In fact, it seems that advanced students nationwide are clocking more hours with tutors than struggling students are. Perhaps it’s because underfunded schools divert resources from advanced classes or perhaps it’s because many of those advanced classes move at light speed. Either way, more and more top students are seeking assistance.
And we think they should.
There are at least three main benefits for advanced students to work with a tutor, even when they’re acing all of their regular and AP courses.
Head Starts Simplify Future Learning
Students who are not being challenged may put up good marks on their report cards, but they are often not receiving the maximum benefit from their time in the classroom. Giving them a glimpse forward can pique their interest and stimulate their minds.
Unlike the rigid curriculum taught in school, tutors can bounce from subject to subject and work at the pace of an individual student. Tutors can also start working on subject matter that’s a semester – or even a whole school year – ahead of the material being taught at school. These head starts can preemptively answer questions and make the transition into college smoother.
The Air is Thin at The Top
The increased expectations of the workforce are steadily leeching into the classroom. Advanced education is so highly valued in the marketplace that jobs which used to require only basic literacy are now requiring college degrees. In just the past five years, nearly one-third of all employers have increased their education requirements.
This focus on education has increased competition at colleges and high schools. Many exceptional students feel like every final exam is a fight for their life. In order to stay at the top and remain attractive to potential colleges, even the strongest students will seek out tutoring as a way to stay ahead.
It’s not all about keeping up with the Joneses, though. Students who double down on tutoring often have a deeper understanding of the subject matter than students who don’t. That understanding lasts into college and beyond.
Tutoring Strengthens Intangibles
Most of think about tutoring as a way to boost understanding of a very specific subject matter. In reality, there are many other benefits, including higher self-esteem, extra practice, improved attitudes about schooling, and intangible skills that are particularly useful for certain types of advanced students.
The 3 Types of Advanced Students
Among those who are a bit advanced, there are normally three types of student.
The first is the natural, a student who succeeds effortlessly. He doesn’t study or struggle, but aces everything nonetheless. The second is the procrastinator. The procrastinator is smart, sometimes even rivaling the natural for raw ability, but she just doesn’t care. She’s clearly intelligent, but you might not know it from the report card alone. Finally, there’s the worker. The worker may or may not have natural abilities, but receives impressive grades through sheer force of will. The worker completes every assignment, studies every night, and attempts every form of extra credit.
How Each Student Benefits
Of these three student types, tutoring seems best suited for the procrastinator. What’s surprising to many students, parents, and teachers is that there is often much to be learned by the natural and the worker too!
In many ways, the benefits for the procrastinator and the natural are the same. The reason is that neither of these students have the worker’s intangible skills. Whether by lack of necessity or lack of interest, the natural and the procrastinator fall behind their peers with important secondary skills, such as time management and organization. Workers cut their teeth preparing, researching, outlining, revising, reviewing, and otherwise handling day to day assignments as well as big projects.
They know exactly how long a particular task will take, which steps to complete first, and when to panic. Naturals and procrastinators may have a sense of these things, but they don’t have the finely tuned routines you’ll find with a worker.
Building new skills
When offered to students less with self-management experience, tutoring sessions can be incredibly valuable. For one thing, they immediately establish a routine.
Instead of working when it is convenient (if at all), students begin to learn that studying, homework, and learning happen at a specific time of day. Good tutors reinforce those useful skills to students who have had no need of them previously.
Equipping the Worker
Where the worker sometimes falls short is with regard to understanding. For the natural, things just click. The worker, on the other hand, succeeds in difficult and advanced placement classes with hard work and persistence. They can sometimes pass tests through raw memorization or by beating a subject into submission through hours of studying.
Tutoring helps make better use of their time.
The worker doesn’t need instruction on organization, preparation, or dedication. What he needs is technical instruction. New ways to process information. Efficient methods for practicing what he’s learned. Specialized attention that can harness already existing skills in a new way. Tutors open up a toolbox full of time-saving and comprehension-boosting techniques that the worker would implement flawlessly if he only knew how.
Calling All Advanced Students!
Are you an advanced student who benefitted from working with a tutor? We’d love to hear about it. Tweet your experience to us at @FergusonTutor and we might share it on Twitter and on our website!