Getting the Best Help for Your High Schooler (page 2)

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Updated on Jul 14, 2008

When it comes to identifying ethical and truly beneficial support, there are a number of concrete steps that can be taken. Search for professionals with nationally-recognized credentials and affiliations. “Word-of-mouth is often the most reliable,” Plescia notes. “Ask the parents of your child's classmates and teammates (or those who have gone on ahead to college) who they used and if the experience was positive.” But, even if a professional comes highly recommended, it is worth asking for, and then consulting, their references. “Ask [the reference] pointed questions about the things that are important to you,” Plescia suggests, mentioning methods of communication, results, style, credentials, and rapport with the student as possible values. To get an even better feel for these values, Plescia recommends interviewing the person in-person, not just over the phone.

Although all of these measures can help increase the probability of finding a good match, there is really no way to perfectly anticipate the fit. Thus, last, but certainly not least, Plescia advises, “Don’t be afraid to ask for someone new, particularly if you are employing a tutor through a large organization. Rapport with the student is very important when it comes to one-on-one tutoring; if the first tutor that comes through the door doesn’t hit it off with your child, call the company and ask for someone new!” At the end of the day, getting good outside help is truly about building an empowering learning relationship between helper and student – a priceless entity that will yield positive returns for years to come.

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