Tutoring First Year College Students

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Tutoring First Year College Students

New trends in student success courses provide unique opportunities for tutors.

Standardized test prep, trigonometry, organic chemistry, molecular biology…tutors save the day! What about all the struggles of freshman year — new schedule, new campus, independent learning, and increased personal freedom? Universities are increasingly recognizing how important the first year transitional phase is. Over 52% of four-year institutions require first-year students to take a “student success” class (National Resource Center for First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, 2012).

Here’s an opportunity for tutors to step in as advisors for academic self-management. You can add value by helping your students navigate the challenges of acclimating to a completely different learning environment. Specific topics you can include in your tutoring lessons include:

  • Learning style identification and its impact on study habits
  • Time management and planning
  • Note-taking and how to write study guides
  • Connecting major elections with career options
  • Communication skills in class and with peers
  • Stress management techniques

The trend for colleges to offer “student success” courses provides tutors with opportunities to focus on:

  1. High school seniors preparing to take this course
    They’ll be keen on familiarizing themselves what specific skills are going to be covered. For your tutoring engagement, start by researching their school’s course syllabus as the university will generally have a copy of it online from the previous academic year. Here’s an example from Purdue University (this course may also have a title related to “First Year Experience”).

  2. Students coming back to school from a gap year
    After a break from school, these students may particularly need focus during tutoring sessions on time management, and effective note taking techniques. Those are key tools for academic success.

  3. Students changing both living and learning environments
    Imagine you’re transitioning from a small town to an urban public campus. There’s a myriad of differences these types of students will encounter, but as a tutor, you can build on what their core competencies are. Identify their learning style to empower clients to choose courses and professors that play to their strengths and teach learning strategies that are relevant to them. See this link for ideas on techniques based on learning style.


Thinking about expanding to your tutoring offerings to include college student readiness? Let Clark help you with the rest of your tutoring business. Join us today.