Math made me feel like a student who had just moved to a new country and barely understood the language. After a while, I became exhausted with struggling in my math courses. I knew that I was going to need a little extra help if I wanted to receive a passing grade. So, I reluctantly scheduled a time to meet with a mathematics tutor at Herzing.
I lethargically walked in and sat next to her. Finally, my nervous eyes met hers. “What exactly do you struggle with?” she asked genuinely. Somewhat embarrassed, I told her how much I loathe numbers and how I struggle to make sense of complicated formulas and equations. She understood, and we began to work through some of the assignments and concepts that were giving me the most trouble.
During the coaching session, I realized I was actually pretty good at math. I merely lacked confidence and I had neglected to dedicate the necessary time to my studies and my math homework. Perhaps I had underestimated the amount of time and discipline needed to be a math elite, I thought. After a few tutoring sessions, I realized that there are a lot of valuable reasons to seek tutoring.
1. Higher level of understanding
Instructors begin with a knowledge assessment to gauge your level of understanding. Once you and your tutor identify the gaps in your knowledge, they can set manageable goals and objectives for each session to help you achieve a higher level of academic success.
“One of the strategies that I use when I’m tutoring is to try to simplify the issue for the student,” says Dr. Eric J. Harmon of Herzing University’s Tutoring and Writing Center (TWC).
“I know I was feeling overwhelmed when I started my undergrad, and everything seemed more difficult than it actually was, so I always think about that.”
“I then strive to give my students the tools they need in order to be knowledgeable and independent, so I look for tutorials regarding their specific challenges so they can further educate themselves.”
2. More personal sessions
In a one-on-one tutoring session, students get the space they need to ask more questions. They might be more comfortable talking about their concerns and academic struggles away from classroom distractions and the eyes and ears of their peers.
Tutors, in turn, can ask more challenging and specific questions to help students better understand the material. They can also give detailed feedback and help students overcome barriers in their understanding – something that instructors cannot always take the time to do when they are teaching a class full of students.
“I always review the information with the student after the session to ensure we are on the same page. Sometimes, what I think they might have an issue with and what the actual issue is are two different things. So, it is important to recap the issues,” says Harmon. “Finally, I follow up with the students to check their status to see if they are still experiencing issues.”
3. Long-term relationships with professionals
A tutor can also become long-term mentor or friend. It’s not a bad career move to network and build relationships with professionals and experts in your field. This kind of contact could open up future opportunities, as well as further resources and connections. Also, if you ask your tutor, they may show you valuable research strategies used by professionals so that you can access powerful information on your own.
The last time I consulted an academic tutor was around three months ago; I am a technology student and I constantly seek wise counsel in all things tech. As a result, I have built great relationships with many academic coaches and tutors, and some have grown to what I might even consider friendships.