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The pressures of applying to university - including writing a personal statement and dealing with interviews - coupled with the pressures of doing coursework and sitting exams in sixth form or college can make Year 13 extremely stressful for students.
Whilst most students will manage to get through the process without any issues, some may really struggle. So it might be worth considering a private tutor to help your child during this all-important year.
A private tutor can help students to navigate this stressful period, providing expert advice on how to manage stress and ensuring that students are equipped with all the skills, specialist knowledge and understanding that they need to get the best results possible.
Whatuni spoke to Tutor House, who provide expert tutors for hire, to find out some of the ways a tutor could help your child...
1. Help Them Prepare for their Exams
Perhaps one of the most obvious ways in which a tutor can help your child get into university is to ensure that they have mastered the subjects they are studying so that they can excel in their exams and/or coursework.
Private tutors are experts in their field and will have extensive experience helping students to develop the depth and breadth of understanding that they will be expected to demonstrate in their A-Level exams. Level 3 exams like A-Levels (or their equivalents) are a considerable step up from GCSE level and many students find the transition hard and find it challenging to stay on top of their studies.
Private tutors will devise personalised learning programmes for each and every student, taking into account their learning style and personality in addition to their strengths and weaknesses to ensure their unique needs are being met.
Alongside ensuring students have fostered the knowledge that they need to excel in their exams, a private tutor will also be able to help students to create an in-depth revision timetable so that they are hitting every part of the syllabus, and assist them with their exam and essay writing techniques.
It is a good idea to invest in a private tutor as early as possible during their time sixth form or college, in order to avoid any serious gaps in their knowledge which could be more challenging to redress the longer they are left unattended to.
2. Help Them Write a Great Personal Statement
Personal statements are a vital part of the university application process as they give students the opportunity to really sell themselves to their prospective university choices. Many students find writing their personal statement to be extremely taxing, especially if they have never written anything similar before.
A private tutor will help students to write the perfect personal statement, offering expert advice and guidance on how to craft a statement that perfectly reflects their personality and potential, showcasing their abilities, achievements and successes whilst maintaining the right tone of voice.
Having been through the process themselves, private tutors will be able to provide a unique insight on how to write a personal statement that is authentic, but that will also stand out from the crowd.
University places are challenging to achieve, especially if a student is applying for a position at one of the top Universities, and as the first real opportunity to demonstrate their individuality the personal statement is a vital piece of the application process.
3. Help Them Prepare for Interviews
Whilst not all universities or courses will ask students to come in for an interview as part of the application process, there are many that do - and this is another area where a private tutor could make all the difference to helping you secure that all-important university spot.
Interviews can seem super nerve-wracking, especially as most applicants will be new to the experience, and they are designed to assess a student’s subject-specific understanding as well as their awareness, skill set and critical ability.
The interviewer will also be able to get a real feel for a student’s passion for the subject at this stage of the application process, so it is imperative that students are fully prepared.
Interviews can be incredibly taxing, and it is not uncommon for students to really struggle to demonstrate the extent of their abilities or articulate themselves clearly in their interviews due to nerves.
A private tutor will be able to ensure students have everything they need to excel in their interviews. They will be able to help by creating a mock interview setting, making sure that they feel comfortable and know what to expect, and practice asking them challenging questions that will help them to think outside the box and take the initiative when formulating answers.
It is almost guaranteed that your tutor will have attended one, if not several, interviews themselves - so they will know all the ins and outs of the process and be able to help you feel confident that you can perform to your best.
4. Help Them Develop Independent Learning Abilities
One of the key skills students will be expected to develop and demonstrate throughout their time at university is independent learning. Whilst A-Levels do provide for slightly more freedom and students will undertake an increased amount of independent work, university study is a whole other level, with many courses offering less than 10 hours of contact time per week.
Private tutors are able to help students develop impressive independent learning skills, ensuring that they are fully prepared for life at university. They will set tasks for students that encourage them to spend time researching a particular subject in great detail, boosting their analytical and critical thinking abilities, as well as their written communication skills and their ability to reference properly.
This will help students enormously when they embark upon their degree, and will help make the transition from school to university far smoother.
5. Help Them Develop Their Confidence
Starting university can be incredibly nerve wracking, and it can be especially difficult for students who struggle with confidence. In addition to assisting them with their academic progression, private tutors can also enhance student’s self-belief. T
Through working with a student in a one-to-one setting, tutors will quickly be able to identify where their insecurities or self-doubt is stemming from and mitigate these issues through implementing a learning plan that is targeted directly at redressing these problem areas.
Moreover, through providing a productive and safe space for students to work in, they have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have without being hindered by the thought of being judged by their fellow peers.
Top Tips for Finding a Tutor
If you do decide to get a tutor for your child, how do you go about finding the right one? Here are some tips...
1. Know What You Want From Your Tutor
Does your child need help with a specific subject or do they have a learning disability that needs to be managed? By knowing exactly what support your child needs, you can search for tutors who have experience and knowledge in those specific fields.
2. Always Conduct an Interview
At the interview you can test whether the tutor is the right fit for you. Good questions to ask are: "How do you motivate students"; "How to you measure students' needs and progress"; "What methods do you use".
You should also do a separate interview or trial lesson where you can monitor how they interact with your child and get feedback from your child before you commit to hiring someone.
3. Always Ask for References
Don't hire a tutor without checking their references first so you know they have been truthful on their CV. You should also make sure any tutor has a full DBS check.
Where to Find a Tutor
There are many places you can use to find a tutor: you can look online at companies such as Tutor House, work with the best A-Level tutors in the country. Or you could ask at your child's school or fellow parents for recommendations.