When Push Comes to Shove: When and Why Baltimore Parents Hire Tutors

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SPONSORED POST – Tutoring relationships often start out something like this: it’s late in the grading period, and your freshman or sophomore is struggling in Algebra II. He barely passed the class last semester and swore he would try harder, but he’s still floundering. So you decide he needs extra help and seek out a tutor.


Or, perhaps you have a bright junior who took the SAT for the first time last month. She does nowhere near as well as she thought she would, so you enroll her in a SAT class with all of her friends. But the class turns out to be a waste: the strategies she learns are vague, she receives little individual attention, and her score hardly improves. So you scramble to find a personal tutor who can rectify the situation by May or June — the last two months of SAT test dates before fall of senior year.

In these cases as in most, the impetus for hiring a tutor is an ardent hope to fix an immediate problem, immediately. The issue with this approach isn’t just that the time constraints make the prospect of success more of a gamble; rather, it undermines a tutor’s potential to make a significant impact on your child’s academic trajectory.

In other words, even if your son ends up with an ‘A’ in Algebra II or your daughter improves her SAT score by 200-300 points, the tutor who made each feat possible is only addressing one specific, albeit important, area of academic concern. A great tutor, in my opinion, views this success as one facet of the bigger academic picture for your child.

To illustrate this point, I’ll examine each case individually. In my experience, your Algebra II student is not just struggling because of the new, difficult concepts in class. Rather, he likely lacks a strong foundation in Algebra. Or, perhaps he excelled in Algebra last year but is finally confronting a level of difficulty that necessitates the effective study habits and time management strategies that seemed unnecessary before. A stellar tutor recognizes these underlying issues and implements a long-term plan to address them.

For many, the bigger picture becomes a study of all the small details that add up to influence a college admissions decision. This reality is certainly the case for that bright junior who needed help preparing for the SAT. She probably has a few very selective colleges at the top of her list, and improving her SAT score is a fantastic way of boosting her chances. In such a competitive college admissions environment, however, a strong SAT score is just one of many factors that impact an admissions decision. In terms of standardized testing, SAT Subject Tests and AP (or IB) tests are also very important. So are questions like who will write her recommendation letters? Will her recommenders characterize her as intellectually curious or simply a hard worker? Does she have an academic passion, if so, how has she pursued it outside of class? Is her course load challenging enough for her? And what extracurricular activities help her stand out among her peers? The list goes on.

In this sense, the hard work your daughter put into improving her SAT score will be far less valuable if she ignores everything else that influences the admission decision. This is also true for your Algebra II student, who has more time to impact his college prospects.

If you are in the market for simple homework help, well, that’s a different story. On the other hand, if you consider tutoring a real investment in your child’s future, now is the time to search for a tutor who has the experience and expertise to guide your child through high school. Maybe your student doesn’t need tutoring at the moment, but a conversation with someone who can advise you about what’s ahead will undoubtedly help.

For more information about how to navigate standardized testing, contact director of Streamline Tutors, Ian Siegel who specializes in college counseling, test prep, and academic coaching. You can visit his website at StreamlineTutors.com, or contact him directly at [email protected]


Office: 410-200-1896

Email: [email protected]


Ian Siegel
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  1. This is a helpful reminder that short term fixes may not be the answer. It’s also a prod to remember to put my energy towards the things I truly value – like my children’s future. Sometimes life moves so fast, many of us can miss good opportunities. Thanks for the wake up call.

  2. Fishbowl, I am disappointed.

    These “sponsored posts” (read, ‘advertising posing as a real article’) should be more clearly identified AT THE TOP. For half the essay, I am thinking this is just an overly idealistic youngster who expects far more from a tutor than most parents expect or are willing to pay for. Then, in the final grafs, the true motivation is revealed: profit! It is not an opinion piece, nor an informed essay, but a blatant bit of commercial writing. I felt hoodwinked, and mislead.
    Please identify advertising for what it is.

    • Chemjim – I am responsible for this. This has come up before and I made a mental note to mark “sponsored post” more clearly in the body of the content rather than in the category tag. I was away on a personal emergency when this posted with only one eye on the website. I should have been more meticulous. We have no reason to hide anything from our readers and certainly do not want you or anyone to feel mislead.

      You are one of our most active commenters and we appreciate your candid remarks.

    • Hi ChemJim, I know our publisher already responded to you, but I actually posted the article & wanted to apologize if you felt mislead in any way. I also wanted to chime in though for the young man that writes the posts. Yes, he is an advertiser, but he was first & foremost someone who wrote very passionately about education. I had spoken with him extensively prior to bringing him on board as a client. If you look at the site, we do utilize sponsored content, however the author is usually indicated as ‘sponsored post staff’. I wanted to use Ian’s name because he’s well rooted in his research, and I have also spoken with people who have used his services & speak highly of him & what he does. Promise, this isn’t a shameless plug for an advertiser, but I just wanted you to know where we were coming from. Thanks for your viewership & taking the time to comment. It’s truly appreciated. Chris

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