Unfavorable impressions of some chain SAT/ACT tutoring centers

I had a tutoring client, who went to a tutoring center to take a free practice SAT. I warned her that the test would be hard so as to sell tutoring and/or classes. She got a 1200 on it, which was about what she got on her PSAT. I had done 22 hours of tutoring with her plus homework. Based on practice tests and other information, I thought she was at least at 1300. She told them her goal was to reach 1400. They gave her and her parents a computer printout saying she needed 280 hours of tutoring to meet her goal. With a Presidents Day weekend discount, that would be $5,100. The rate seemed very reasonable, about $18/hour, 1/5 of what I am charging.

This places tutors students 3 at a time. So they pay their tutors like $20/hour, and take in about $54/hour. I didn’t see how she could do 280 hours of tutoring in time, as she is a junior now. Also, I often get a 10 point increase for an hour of tutoring plus an hour of homework. They were assuming 14 hours for a 10 point increase. Maybe that is realistic with the quality of their materials and tutoring and the 3-1 student/tutor ratio.

I had another student who had gone to a different chain tutoring place, and had not improved at all after 60 hours of ACT tutoring. I had talked to them earlier and they told me they paid tutors $20/hour and they required the tutors score 650 on whatever SAT section they were tutoring. That student told me the tutors would just read the book explanations aloud for whatever problems she missed.

Not a major thing, but it’s not at all odd for a 1300-ish kid to throw up a 1200. Kids in that range almost invariably have 4-8 “50/50” questions, and on a bad day that could easily swing 100 points. In fact, when I hear “I thought she was at least at 1300,” I can’t help but think of the standard 100-120-point range, as in a kid who has a good shot at 1300 might have a 1200-1320 range. @sattut .

Who would subject a child to 280 hours of SAT tutoring? Wow.

It seemed kind of bizarre. Of course, with a 3-1 student to tutor ratio, most of the time is probably spent doing problems. Also, it might convince some people to do 100 hours, and then they can only expect a 70 point increase. It also seems difficult to get decent SAT tutors at like $18/hour. Sort of a McDonalds approach to tutoring. However, their rates are way lower than most other services or independent tutors, like $18/hour.

The company requires the same number of tutoring hours for point increases in all three areas? You should be able to get a 70 point increase in writing with just a few hours of tutoring.

I can usually get 70 points in Writing quickly. Not sure what their formula is, but they obviously don’t want to promise much.

Yep, for all but the most polished students, +70 in W is quick work.

Honestly, it is dependent on the place you go to. I recommend going to more low-key based tutoring places (that are not as established). I have found those places to be a lot better in quality instruction (of course this is not guaranteed by any means).

Yeh, my comments were just in regard to some of these big chain places that seem to take a McDonalds approach. In general, most local tutoring centers provide reasonable quality.