Each year, we are given a wonderful opportunity to take a break and start fresh with renewed enthusiasm and vigor. Whether your child is preparing for final exams or is hoping to start second semester strong, they will benefit from some focused academic support in the form of tutoring, says Andrew Ferguson, director of client services at Academic Approach, the Lincoln Park-based organization dedicated to supporting students’ academic success.
“Some students truly thrive in a one-on-one environment, and this is something we have provided since we started,” Ferguson says. “Students who are in AP, honors or accelerated courses really benefit from added support because they are learning at such a high level, but tutoring is also great for those students who want a basic level of complete content coverage for their coursework.”
Why academic tutoring?
Each student is different and academic tutoring at Academic Approach is fully customized to be the best fit for each student.
“Some seek tutoring because they are in crisis mode. They are not happy with their understanding of the material and need immediate intervention,” explains Carla Pedersen, regional director at Academic Approach. “In this situation, it’s really important to help a student with an immediate issue in front of them so they can move on to the next lesson with confidence.”
Other students might do well in school, with a solid B average, but want to take a deeper dive. “This student might want to have the material presented with as much clarity as possible, or they want to pursue additional rigor,” Pedersen says. “Maybe this student knows they can be an A student and wants to be better set up for success.”
During a pandemic year, when most students are working at least part of the time in a virtual learning environment, it’s easy for even the most motivated students to slip into a path of least resistance, Pedersen says. “It’s a unique year where everyone is doing the best they can, but one-on-one academic tutoring can really help create a successful learning situation.”
How to get started on the path to academic success
When families contact Academic Approach, they start by working with an instructional director to determine exactly what the student wants to achieve through academic tutoring. “We ask a lot of questions to learn about the student’s needs,” Pedersen explains. “Is the student struggling or not engaging with schoolwork? Is this a persistent issue or just a moment in time that requires a little more support? Ideally, we hear from both the student and parent to understand what isn’t working in the classroom so we can provide supplemental instruction and support.”
Once immediate and long-term goals have been set, the Academic Approach director will work with the family to pursue avenues to best support the student’s learning. This begins with an instructor that is the right fit for the student.
“We have amazing instructors who come to us from a variety of areas which can provide a lot of opportunities for students,” says Ferguson. “They might work with an engineer who has strong skills in math and science or a Ph.D. student at Northwestern who can help a student take a deep dive into history or literature. We have a wide variety of personalities that will fit well with the student so they can be comfortable asking questions and really engaging.”
Perhaps most importantly, Academic Approach instructors can provide students with a bigger picture of how the subject matter fits into future academic and professional goals. “They can give students an idea of why they are taking this class and how it fits into an end game,” Ferguson says. “For some students, academic tutoring is about surviving a particular topic, but once a student understands that solidifying their understanding of this immediate material will make next year that much easier, it can all fit into place and provide extra motivation for the student.”
Package pricing available now
To get the 2021 semester off to the best start, Academic Approach is making one-on-one tutoring more accessible to students and families with special pricing for packages of 12, 18 and 24 hours of academic tutoring. “We know that tutoring on top of school is a time and financial investment, and not something that families foresaw,” Ferguson says. “This year, COVID was not part of the plan for anyone, and we are helping families cope by offering special pricing.”
Families can take advantage of a 10%, 15% or 20% discount on packages of 12, 18 or 24 hours of tutoring — a great option for students who need help starting second semester on a new foot, Ferguson says. “There are a lot of families who have realized that academic support was really helpful for the first semester and now they want to continue once each week until finals in June, and they can really benefit financially from package pricing.”