Do You Need a Tutor, pt. 2

Part 2 of this article relates to professionals, “non – traditional” college students, and military candidates who are making the tutoring decision. (Part 1gives advice and tips to parents and college students.)


Professionals have different tutoring needs. Sometimes, employees are contractually obligated to earn college credits every few years. Some employers withhold pay raises if education and training requirements aren’t met. Most employers also list a minimum grade requirement for courses.

Once you have gone to class the first time, review your course materials and syllabus. If some of it looks like it was written in French - and you’re not in a foreign language class - consider hiring a tutor right away! Your tutor can help you get off to a good start. Once you are back in the swing of things, you may not need the tutor’s help.

I have a “5 – year rule of thumb” for returning/ adult students: if you took your last college class 5 years ago or more, you should seek tutoring assistance when your classes begin. Visit the learning center and schedule a few appointments the first week of classes. Your tutor can answer general campus questions and help you complete your first assignments. This guarantees you have a tutor before their schedules fill up.

One exception to this rule is for professionals taking classes for personal enjoyment, or if those considering a career change. If you are considering a career change and have no time constraints, you may not need a tutor’s immediate help. Instead, wait a few weeks to see how things are going. If you’re struggling at week 3 or 4, visit the learning center to see if their free tutoring services meet your scheduling and subject needs. Look for an outside tutor’s help if your schedule prevents you from using learning center tutors or if you need more help than they can provide.

Military Candidates

Adults 18 and over who are considering military enlistment are a separate group with different academic needs. In the early 1990’s, the United States military changed their educational requirements. Now, all military candidates (i.e. potential enlistees) must have a valid GED certificate or high school diploma before they will be accepted. Prior to this, enlistment requirements were much more lenient.

First, give yourself 3 or 4 months to prepare if you need to take the GED test. Don’t let recruiters rush your enlistment process! Use those months to study and prepare for the test. If you struggled with Math, English, and Science in high school, you should hire a tutor to help you prepare. These are the main subjects you’ll be tested on in both the GED and ASVAB. Find a tutor who can help with all your difficult subjects. Then, you’ll be ready to take and pass your GED and move on to the ASVAB.

The ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) test is another mandatory pre - enlistment exam. Subjects like Arithmetic Reasoning, Mathematics Knowledge, Word Knowledge, and General Science are tested as well as vocational subjects like Mechanical Comprehension and Electronics Information. (You can find a comprehensive list of all 11 ASVAB sections plus study tips here: If you have little to no knowledge in these areas, look for a tutor with professional experience in engineering, electronics, or automobile mechanics. You can also find a veteran who (obviously!) had to take and pass the test!

So, what do I do now?

Make a decision and stick with it! If you are a parent whose young child is struggling with reading and writing, try to help them a little more yourself if at all possible. Prepare them for tutoring if they continue to struggle after a couple of weeks. After working with you, they’ll be ready to give tutoring a try. Find a tutor who fits your child’s needs and learning differences as well as your schedule.

College students struggling in classes with very few tests and assignments during the semester should consider a combination of free, on - campus and outside tutoring at the first sign of trouble. Working adults should weigh employer requirements with personal career goals.

Professionals with employer - mandated educational requirements should find a tutor in the first week of classes if it has been 5 or more years since they attended college. Career changers can afford to wait a few weeks into the semester before deciding on an outside tutor.

Military candidates who need to take the GED test should consider the subjects that they struggled with in high school. Candidates with difficulties in Math, English, and Science should get help from former teachers, parents, or other tutors starting several months before their test. The ASVAB test requires electrical and mechanical knowledge. Take an online practice test and use your score to help you make the tutoring decision. Look for a tutor with professional mechanical or electrical experience, or a veteran who has already successfully passed the test.

I hope these articles have been helpful. Please take a minute to leave a comment, Like this post on Facebook, or Tweet the post via Twitter using the buttons below. If you have questions about whether a tutor is right for you, or if you would like advice for your unique situation, feel free to E-mail me using the “E-mail Jeff S.” button on my Wyzant tutor home page. (Use this link to find my page: I’m happy to help!

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