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Every week, join Sydney Waters as she helps you navigate life as a smart consumer. You'll cover everything in avoiding the latest scams, including phishing emails, medical equipment fraud, understanding layaway, hiring a reputable tax preparer, and even digital spring cleaning. Add to your toolbox and flip through your Consumer Handbook Thursdays during NPR’s Morning Edition at 6:42 a.m. and 8:42 a.m., only on KRCU.

Consumer Handbook: Hiring a Tutor

Young woman and her mature mom look at something on a laptop as the young woman studies for a college exam.
SDI Productions/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Young woman and her mature mom look at something on a laptop as the young woman studies for a college exam.

This school year, you might be planning to hire a tutor to keep your child motivated and learning. Many kids can benefit from a tutor to give them extra support in a subject that’s difficult for them or prepare them for a tough assignment.

Your student’s academic needs are unique. Luckily, there's a wide variety of tutoring options out there to meet their needs. You can hire tutors who specialize in different subjects, offer short- or long-term tutoring and can meet students virtually or in-person.

That said, it can be overwhelming to sort through all the options to make sure you hire a quality tutor for your child. BBB often receives complaints and inquiries about tutoring services – common complaints include paying for sessions that tutors didn’t attend, dissatisfaction with the quality of lessons and difficulty obtaining a refund.

How can you make sure your student is getting the best tutoring possible?

BBB’s tips for hiring a tutor:

  • Know your child’s needs. Set some guidelines before you begin your search. You’ll want to look for tutors or tutoring services that are knowledgeable in the subject your student needs support in and have experience working with children your student’s age. Some tutors are better at homework help, some focus on long-term learning and some excel at quick test preparation – ask tutors how they typically work and see if that aligns with what your child needs.
  • Ask around. Family, friends or other families at your child’s school may have had a good experience with a tutor they can recommend. You can also ask school employees or your child’s favorite teacher for a recommendation.
  • Do your research. Ask the tutor about their qualifications and job experience. Request references and call them to ask about their experience with the tutor.
  • Discuss the details. Ask the tutor about their availability, the cost and frequency of tutoring sessions, and the overall length of time you’ll need the tutor.
  • Include your child in the hiring process. Your child will learn better with a tutor they trust and like. Make sure your child is comfortable with the tutor you hire, and check in frequently after lessons begin to make sure their needs are being met.
Sydney Waters is the new Regional Director of Better Business Bureau in Cape Girardeau and responsible for outreach efforts in Southern Illinois and Eastern and Southwest Missouri.