Don’t worry. You’re reading this correctly.
This may sound like an asinine post coming from the owner of an online test prep company, but you need to hear the truth.
There are 3 categories of students listed below. Identify which one your son/daughter is (and be honest with yourself!)
Self-motivated: this is the student who pushes himself/herself harder than anyone else can. Give them free resources and they’re on their way. Valedictorians, college-bound athletes, academic scholarship recipients live here. Chances are putting additional pressure on them would cause burnout. A group class initially with some friends might jumpstart the process, but this type of student takes initiative and responsibility for her/her results consistently.
Lazy/Procrastinator: you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force it to drink. Test prep tutoring includes accountability, but if you choose to tune it out it may be a waste of your time. The tutor doesn’t take the test, the student does. A tutor can give you all the resources and training possible, but at the end of the day it’s the student who does (or doesn’t) do the work and lives with the results. That’s why we put such an emphasis on finding the right tutor match for your son/daughter. If they are motivated because they actually like their tutor, they’ll work harder. If not, save your money.
Everything in between: the two archetypes mentioned above tend to lie on the ends of the spectrum so chances are your son/daughter is somewhere in between. There are enough free resources out there, but the reason why test prep companies exist is the same reason why personal trainers are employed at gyms. Left unsupervised and lacking accountability usually produces poor results for high school students. Also scoring well on the SAT/ACT isn’t purely math and English comprehension, it’s about demystifying the test both by eliminating wrong answers and identifying patterns of questions immediately. The messenger matters as much as the message in this case hence why we hire mostly tutors in their 20’s and 30’s for their relational advantage.
Overall the stigma of hiring a tutor has shifted from being a luxury to a necessity for having an edge in the college admissions process. Investing a couple of thousands of dollars in test prep seems like a lot, but knowing the average 4 year public university costs $40,000 and the average 4 year private university costs $140,000 it’s only 1% – 5% of the amount.
All high school athletes have a coach, so why not hire a private tutor to boost your chances of getting into your dream school?