As the new school year is here, the pressure to take all the tests and score in the top percentile is looming for most students who have college in their sights. In this hugely competitive age where high-schoolers are being told time and again that studying hard and keeping one’s grades up across the board, from the time they step into their school through to their senior year, just won’t cut it on its own anymore (think extra-curricular, for one), it’s important that students and parents realize it’s all really about the right mix of activities and high scores.

Is Tutoring the Right Fit for Your Child?

We’re seeing more and more students who, though top of their class already, recognize the merits of investing even more into hedging their bets come college application season, while those who might not be doing so well in certain areas are boosting their knowledge and self-confidence by using any tool at their disposal. Surfing the Internet may not be something to ground your child for over-doing anymore, as high-schoolers are now harnessing its e-power as a learning prop, rather than (or, in addition to) a socializing one. They either avail themselves of its resources to absorb more knowledge on their own or browse tutors online to build a secondary study program around their schoolwork.

With the concept of tailor-made tutoring growing momentum, it’s crucial that you familiarize yourself with its purported benefits and see how the process matches up with your child’s own study practices. So when should a parent switch from non-interfering observer to finger-wagging enforcer of tutoring? Here are “the signs” to watch out for, as you’re monitoring your high-schooler’s academic behavior.

1. If your child’s grades are slipping in certain areas, that certainly needs to be addressed. Regular checks of his or her report card will do the trick, but you should also check with his teachers, who might shed more light on any additional reasons that might lie behind their student’s under-performance. This might conceivably be an issue of testing poorly, which a tutor can help with by regularly administering practice tests, effectively re-wiring the student’s mind to shift exam-taking away from stressful, impersonal, panic-inducing testing conditions.

2. If your child looks overwhelmed by coursework and spends long hours trying to grasp the notions and theories of a certain subject, a private tutor will provide much-needed assistance, as they put in the effort to assess whatever underlying problems there might be (the curriculum, though conceived to work for most students, may prove unwieldy to some), as well as adjust the flow of information to their student’s abilities.

3. If your child is procrastinating instead of choosing, and applying to, colleges, a tutor will address this head-on, by helping him or her get a better grasp on all the steps that this process entails, by organizing his thoughts when writing the essay, as well as the papers and forms that need to be sent in along with the application. Moreover, a qualified professional who has already gone through these motions, to successful results, might motivate a pupil whose lack of confidence is holding him / her back from taking the plunge into what may look like a battle that can’t be won.

Every child’s learning patterns and habits are different, but a parent’s job is to objectively, and discreetly, keep track of them, so senior year doesn’t catch them off guard. And, while a tutor might seem like an acquired taste, reaching out to a professional is preferable to letting a child navigate the muddy waters of senior-year exams and deadlines without a reliable compass.

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