A friend of mine has been a lecturer at Cambridge for many years. His biggest gripe? The fact that students arrive there in their first year not ready for the jump from A-levels to degree level. The first few months at university are basically spent trying to plug the gap between the two and teaching undergraduates how to learn while bringing them up to speed so that lessons can start in earnest. This is probably the prime reason for the increase in university students seeking private tutors, especially here in London where there is a student population of around 400,000 students. There are definite benefits to taking advantage of the private tuition available when you go to university.
It Can Be Part of the Support Mechanism
Moving from school to university is a massive leap. It often involves moving house, leaving family and friends, and being in an unknown environment while getting to know new routines and people. Some cope better with this than others, and it is always wise to have as much support around you as possible when making such big changes. Friends are good to have, and keeping in touch with family is important, but having a private tutor means that you have a constant and regular period of time with someone who is independent yet understands all of the problems that a new student faces – not just academically, but on a personal and social level, too. Sometimes, having someone you can talk to about problems that you are having with university work who is not a lecturer or fellow student makes things easier.
It Is a Confidence Booster
A report by the Sutton Trust last year showed that 40% of 11-16 year olds in London have had private tuition, compared to 24% elsewhere in Britain. It is a booming industry, because it works and provides its pupils with the ability to move forward in their academic lives. When I was looking for West London tutors for my son, I was surprised by the wide range of choices that I had. Fortunately, I knew people who could give me good recommendations. With the huge proportion of younger students here who receive private tuition, it is hardly a surprise that many of these students are now employing a private tutor for their university life. Many new university students struggle and fall behind in those first few months of a course because of the gap between A-levels and degree level. If that gap is not tackled, the student may become disengaged and want to give up. Having a tutor from places like Hounslow Academy to help them catch up and understand the course material can provide a huge confidence boost, which, in turn, increases their ability to do well with the rest of the course.
It Provides Motivation and a Challenge
It is easy for students to lose focus and become fed up with the constant pressures of academia, and even consider giving up when times are bad. A specialised university-level private tutor can provide the motivation that is needed to keep them going. A regular meeting with a tutor means that there is a frequent engagement with the work that is on a different level than that experienced within the university. Having a one-to-one basis to work on provides much more of a stimulus and challenge than being in a lecture hall with many students. The provision for extra thinking and understanding provided by this can give a student with private tuition that extra edge.
So never think that private tutors are just for the children. This is no longer the case, and times are changing. Everyone needs that extra bit of support once in a while, and for a struggling university student, it can make all the difference.