Do I Need a College Math Tutor?
College math is one of those things that you probably will not be prepared for - unless you are that genius from high school that everyone wished they could cheat off of.
This was definitely true for me...the part about being unprepared.
Throughout high school I felt like I could pass for one of the “smart kids”. I went to class, took honors courses, got good grades, etc. Senior year, I took AP (advanced placement) Calculus in hopes of testing out of a few math classes in college. However, this class was not easy, to say the least. I was constantly asking questions from my teacher, my friends, and my sister (who at this point, was well past her math sequence in college). It was a challenge, but I had the resources to help.
That was the great thing about high school. Help was so accessible. I could walk into my teachers class at lunch, get help with homework, and then be set to finish it myself at home. I took advantage of this completely. So much so that I became friends with a lot of my teachers. I would find myself doing my math homework in my history teacher’s classroom just to catch up while getting things done.
The AP test rolled around and I decided not to take it. My motivation, or lack thereof, to pay $100 for a test I thought I would not pass, did not sound too appealing. So, I walked away with a B in the class and zero college credit for math. Great.
THE NEXT STEP
The thing about college is that you’re basically starting over. A newfound sense of freedom, new friends, new campus, new classes, new everything. Every aspect of this transition is both overwhelming and liberating. I remember registering for classes fall term of freshman year as if it were just another set of high school classes. I probably took the hardest collection of classes a naive 18 year old could take. I’m talking intro to business, business calculus, psychology, and writing. Ouch. First few weeks into college and that “smart kid” I once knew was second guessing her knowledge entirely.
I rounded out my first term of college with a 2.82 GPA. To put it into perspective, I graduated high school with a 3.9, so I felt a bit discouraged. This minor shock really opened my eyes to the reality of college. I was in classes with 100+ random students, I barely had any friends, I didn’t know any professors - I was quite literally on my own. I felt lost and felt that I couldn’t ask for help, nor did I even know where to find it.
Winter term I decided to put myself through a very similar schedule - not exactly sure why. This time, taking the second business calculus course. Trying to bounce back from my previous term, I had much more motivation to do well.
All my life leading up to this point I relied on myself and my network of support to do well in school and that was enough. But not anymore. I didn’t have the same access to help as I did in high school and I couldn’t do it alone. I was truly struggling. This is when I decided I needed a math tutor.
THE REALITY OF COLLEGE TUTORING
Through word of mouth, I was told to go to the fourth floor of the library to the “teaching and learning center” to get help with my very specific, very complicated, online math homework. The dreaded “WeBwork” - as it’s called at some universities. I showed up and saw a few tables packed with students and about 5 tutors floating around giving students help with one question at a time. I thought to myself, “I am going to be here for hours”. I was right.
I started coming here every time I had homework due and would ask my question just to wait my turn to ask another. I can honestly say I would spend 3+ hours here at a time and only receive help with about half of my homework problems. Although, it was hard for me to complain about it because I was finally getting help.
Weeks went by and I was getting drained. I was tired of spending hours at the library after hours of class just to fight for help. I finally got the courage to ask one of the tutors there if he did private sessions.
Up until this point, I never had a personal tutor. There had always been a stigma of failure/unintelligence around tutoring that I didn’t want to succumb to. I thought I was better than that. I didn’t think I needed it. But tutoring is so much more than that.
TUTORING IS NORMAL
College students have this premeditated idea that tutoring is a sign of weakness or unintelligence, but it’s actually quite the opposite. It’s about understanding yourself and putting yourself first. It’s making sure you don’t beat yourself up over not understanding college level business calculus. I mean…who really understands that? Oh by the way, the challenge of understanding math is compounded by the fact that if you don’t understand calc A you’re NOT going to understand calc B...
Private tutoring is worth more than just quick, one on one help. It’s an investment in your mental health, your success, and your well-being. It’s about preventing those late night breakdowns where you doubt yourself, your ability to succeed and possibly letting this self doubt creep into other areas of your life. College students already have enough to deal with, don’t wait too long to get the help you need and deserve.
For me, the stress and judgement of finding a tutor made me overlook the idea entirely.
Luckily, we have the solution that I needed.
TutorTree came to life because of students’ problems like mine. I needed help and the solutions that were available to me were not always enough. I chose to struggle and hit my breaking point before going out of my way to find a private tutor - and that’s not how it should be. Thankfully a motivated student and passionate tutor teamed up to solve this issue.
TutorTree is a digitally and financially accessible platform for college students to find prescreened peer tutors on their campus. Basically, it’s an app where you can pick a tutor for your specific course, choose a time that works for you, and pay over the phone…what a concept.
Take care of yourself. Students don’t realize that asking for help shows self understanding and courage, not that you’re dumb or “just not a math person”. If you feel overwhelmed with school or just want to be the best version of yourself, then utilize your resources. You should never feel embarrassed to do something that is good for you. Also, know that there are mental health resources available for you in an app or through your university if you’re having a tough time.
Download the app and get on track.