5 Tips to Finding Affordable Tutors

5 Tips to Finding Affordable Tutors

Range Govindan
Aug 23, 2011

When your child needs help with their homework, or you just want your children to go beyond the curriculum of your school, be it in creative writing, mathematics, science, or other subjects, finding the right tutor is key since this will usually be an ongoing relationship for at least a couple of weeks to a few years. Tutoring has become a serious business in the last few years, with many private companies specializing in different fields. These can be a godsend, but they can get expensive quickly. Here's how to find a more affordable tutor, that will work just as well.

The key to finding an affordable tutor is to find someone, it could be a university student or graduate student, that comes with some kind of recommendation and that doesn't work for one of the established tutoring companies. You're basically looking for a student of some kind, that specializes in the subject or topic that you want your child to tutored in.

Tutors working for medium to large companies will charge between $25 to $70 an hour to tutor your child. Most of this money goes into the pocket of the company (tutors receive $12 to $25 an hour). These tutors usually have non-compete agreements, which make them hard to hire except through the company that they work for.

Even private tutors or students tutoring others will have ground rules, like if you cancel a lesson the same day you will be charged, moving a lesson the same day and you'll get charged extra, etc. This is usually a way for the tutors to protect themselves from people always canceling at the last moment. Some tutors expect to be paid after each lesson while others work with parents purchasing block hours of tutoring in advance, usually for a whole month or so. There might even be some free tutoring services in your area.

1. Colleges and Universities: Most campuses have some tutoring services. They might be for students attending those schools and not all students, but it's usually a good way of finding at least a clue to locating a tutor for your child. You'll find employment boards and agencies integrated into most universities, where you can actually post a request or "job opening" for a tutor.

2. Private Tutors: These are usually professional self-employed teachers that are available for tutoring. As such, they can be quite organized but more expensive than the student teachers but just like teachers at your child's school, they will have clear objectives, materials, and lesson plans that might make them worthwhile, depending on your budget.

3. Other Parents in Your Nearby Friend Circles: Ask your friends, relatives, and even Facebook friends about tutors. Maybe they have a recommendation, or know someone who can help you out.

4. Ask Your Child's Teacher: Your child's teacher can be a great reference and resource in order to find a tutor or to get help. The school might already have a framework for tutoring, and it never hurts to ask. The teacher can also recommend or refer you to someone he or she knows.

5. Don't Be Afraid to Sit In: Some parents have trouble doing so, but whenever the tutor comes by your home, for the first few times, you should make a point of sitting in on the tutoring lesson. Tutors usually have no problem with this, and it allows you to see how the lesson pans out and what your child learns. Always sitting in might be problematic, especially if you tend to interject or interrupt the tutor. It's best to stay out of it and let the tutor do his or her job.

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(Images: Flickr member City Year licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member Lower Columbia College licensed for use under Creative Commons and Cindy Hopper)

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