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A Partnership for Academic Success
Written by Jim Meany April 25th 2017
Private tutoring, an ancient profession, has become a multi-billion dollar industry today with an incredible proliferation recently in the numbers and types of tutors available.  An equally dizzying array of price points, access mechanisms, and business models exists as well.  So with all that variety, what exactly characterizes a good tutor-client relationship?

We at Insight Tutors LLC believe that the relationship is first and foremost a partnership, not necessarily between equals but between those who possess complementary needs and resources. 

You, the client, are either in a remedial situation in which you have fallen behind or are having difficulty making sense of material, or you are seeking enrichment so that you can take your academic, intellectual, and personal development to the next level.  You might need strategies to prep for a standardized test or guidance applying to college or graduate school, a task that might quite literally define your future.  You also possess the resources, including time, energy, commitment, and dollars, to benefit from the value exchange we, or any competent coach, can offer. 

We, the tutor, possess content knowledge, empathy, and especially understanding of the learning process and how each student approaches it differently.  We have the ability to simplify, distill, and communicate challenging subjects in an accessible and understandable way.  Not only are we able to interpret for you, we also show you how to apply subject matter in often unique situations.  A competent tutor combines “know-how” with “show-how.”  We exist to serve you.  We are not here to show you how smart we are or how “easy” the material is.  Neither approach is productive.

As members of a partnership, we both carry certain responsibilities.  You have the responsibility to make your best effort at performing, to utilize fully the resources (including textbooks, classroom lecture and notes, study packets, teacher office hours, returned exams, review sessions, your study time and energy, etc.) available to you; to be honest with us regarding your needs, performance, and willingness to do the work; to show up; and at least to try the recommendations we make. 

We have the responsibility to provide outstanding customer service by being prepared for our engagement, knowing the subject, and communicating understanding.  We should be able to adjust to the reality everyone learns differently and is on a unique path, showing you the mechanics of learning (along with the content), and being brutally honest with you in terms of what you have to do to achieve your goals.  Additionally, if the partnership is not working for either party, it is not working for both, and each has the obligation to address the difficulty and then to dissolve the relationship if a fix is not feasible.

When considering a tutor, you should first look to services already provided within your school or school system, on the Internet, or at the library or other similar facility without additional cost.  Do not be afraid to ask for help, and do not wait until you are failing to do so.  Lest you think there is shame in asking for academic assistance, consider that professional management consulting generated $54.7 billion in revenue in 2015 (https://blogs.wsj.com/cfo/2016/06/09/u-s-spending-on-management-consulting-climbs-to-54-7-billion-in-2015/) alone.  How many Fortune 500 companies do you suppose use the likes of McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, or Bain & Company (hint: more than a couple!)?

Next, if you decide to work with a private tutor, you should look for fit, just as you would with a college, graduate school, job, or even study group.  Tutoring often results in a very close relationship under often trying conditions.  If mutual rapport, trust, and respect do not exist, the engagement will likely fail.

Finally, you must accept that the relationship involves the previously mentioned value exchange.  You offer time, commitment, and money.  We offer time, commitment, expertise and guidance on how you can raise your game, and opportunity cost to make ourselves available to you. 

With a successful partnership, the potential for advancement is virtually unbounded and will carry the client far beyond the engagement and short-term goal into a life full of attractive options.  In this way, effective tutoring pays dividends far into the future, especially since one’s education builds on previous lessons.  With our decades of experience and strategic approach, we at Insight Tutors LLC are prepared to help you create those options.  Please contact us today and unlock your potential.


About the Author: Jim Meany

Jim is an award-winning educator and admissions consultant who helps clients realize their highest personal and academic potential. He is founder and director of Insight Tutors LLC of Greenwich, Connecticut. Founded in 2001, Insight Tutors, LLC has been helping students excel at subject matter, master standardized tests, and gain admission to the most competitive undergraduate and graduate schools. He holds an MBA in finance and entrepreneurship from USC and MS and BS degrees in biology from Stanford University and has also taught at both schools.
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