When building a tutoring center from scratch you need to consider a lot of things. First, what population are you serving? Who is your audience? How will you market this tutoring center to students and teachers(yes, you need to market to teachers.)? What is your space? What records should be kept? What forms need to be created? What metrics should be tracked? What curriculum needs will the students need? What social activities should we promote? The list can go on and on...
I’ve been hired to develop a tutoring center for a two-year college. Two year colleges have much different needs than four year colleges and universities. In this post I'd like to discuss 5 things you need to consider when starting a tutoring center.
1. Design Your Space
I like open tutoring spaces because they can save you money, they increase security(and keep down shenanagins!), and as director, I can get around and perform multiple job functions at once.
The space I was given was old and cluttered with outdated technology and cubicles. I’m talking floppy discs, desktop computers that weigh as much as I do etc.
I've opened up the space by taking down the cubicles. This will save money because I can hire less tutors to serve a larger area. I also intend to foster an atmosphere of peer tutoring. I will moderate this, but it is so helpful.
Security is increased because students don't have anything to hide behind to cheat, look at inappropriate websites, etc without me catching them!
I am also available to see what students are coming and going. From my vantage point I can see who is present, who is working on science, who is acting suspicious, who is struggling with a problem, etc.
2. Identify Your Audience
Who are you targeting? First time college students? Students who come from low income families or first generation college students? STEM Students? The list can go for miles!
We are targeting campus residents in the core subject areas of math and English. Our campus statistcs have indicated that this is where we lose a lot of our students and we want to reinforce their learning experiences so that they continue in their college career.
3. Target Your Advertising
You need to advertise in a place that your audience will be in. You can do all the advertising you want, but if your target audience doesn't see it, it is a waste of time and money.
We are going to advertise in the resident halls with fliers, mass student emails, personal visits to classrooms during the first week of class, and fliers in restrooms.
No one likes paperwork, but it must be done! You need to have a complaint form, a student log sheet(or program that tracks student use.), a tutor login sheet(or software), a suggestions form, an extended hours request form, a tutor application, an end of the semester survey, a faculty/staff referral form, an authorization to release information form, a code of ethics, and I could go on, but I think those are the main ones I use.
5. Curriculum Needs For Students
I like to keep calculators on hand. I allow students to check these out from me by giving me their student ID, a shoe, and anything else they are willing to part with for an hour. I also keep Scantrons available for students to purchase for $0.25 each. I buy pencils with our logo on them because students lose those and it is an easy advertising purchase that has a dual purpose. I keep textbooks on hand for students to borrow like the calculators. I do end up having one stolen a semester or so, but it is worth it. How do I get these books on a tight budget? I stand by the book buy back at the end of every semester and once the buyback as reached their quota, students will happily give their book to you.
I've probably overwhelmed you with information, but it takes a lot to start a tutoring center from scratch! I'll address some of the other things you need in another post.
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Hi! I'm CoScine Creative. I have developed and run a tutoring center at a small college. I also teach some of their algebra and chemistry courses. And I will neither confirm nor deny pranking my students by pretending to be one.