9 Steps to Finding the Right Tutor

by Amy McCarthy

Determine how much time and money you can devote to a tutor. Your budget will really determine the type, not the quality, of tutor that you should look for. 

2. Talk to your child's teacher about what kind of help your child needs and what kind of arrangement would be the best for him: an individual tutor, a learning center or an online tutor.

3. Ask the teacher or school counselor to recommend a tutor or tutoring service. You can also visit your local university or community college - many students offer their tutoring services, especially those seeking careers in education. 

4. Check trusted local resources - parenting magazines and websites -  for tutors advertising their services, and ask around for word-of-mouth suggestions from other parents. Also look for tutoring services or referrals through your local public library and community volunteer organizations. Word-of-mouth is the best form of advertising for tutors, so good marks from a friend or family member is a great thing. 

5. Once you've lined up some possible tutors, ask for references from past students and parents. These references will prove invaluable. 

6. Interview more than one tutor, and have your child accompany you. It's important to find a tutor that she is comfortable with.

7. Ask the tutor if you can sit in on a session, to see how the tutor works with your child. If your child and the tutor click - great! If they don't, politely explain to the tutor that you thought she did a great job, but that you didn't feel that her personality matched up with your child's. Pay her for her time, and give a little tip - that can help soften the blow of losing business. 

8. Request that the tutor contact your child's teacher to coordinate studies and efforts, or stay on top of it yourself. You should be in contact with your child's teacher via e-mail, so you can update her on your child's progress with the tutor. 

9. Keep track of your child's progress. If there's no improvement after several sessions, or if your child seems negative about his tutor, you may want to find a different tutor or service. Your child also may be the problem - if he isn't able to sit down and focus, or is giving the tutor behavioral problems, it might be time to sit down with your child and lay down the law. 

Updated August 2012