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  • Writer's pictureMonique Abbett, Academic Coach

Academic coaching vs. tutoring - how do you choose?

There's no 'right' answer, but I get this question all the time - often following, "Academic coach? You mean tutor?" It's a little like choosing the right pet - they're all adorable, they all will make your lives richer and more fun, but the 'right' pet depends on your needs and desires. Do you like to hike with your buddy at your side? Do you like to cuddle on the bed with a good book and a sleepy kitty? Do you need a sweet pet with a scary bark, to keep the bad guys away? Or perhaps you need an independent sort of friend - who doesn't mind that you sometimes leave for a whole day as long as there's food & water out (and a clean litter box!). And most importantly, do you want your pet to throw you a party every time you walk in the door? (choose the dog!) Or do you crave the silent, subtle kind of appreciation only a regal cat can give? (choose the kitty!) Below are some of the things to consider when deciding whether you need a tutor or an academic coach:


* Provides content area support and homework/assignment support

* May be an expert in the field (ie: tutoring in Spanish from a native Spanish-speaker)

* May target specific test-prep or another high stakes academic goal

* May be a peer, a college student, a family friend, or an educator

Academic Coach:

* Provides study strategies and effective techniques for academic success across the curriculum

* Works with student to organize, plan, and manage time for effective habit change

* Has years of experience (and most likely an advanced degree) as an educator

* Addressed executive function challenges, learning differences, and other barriers to academic success

* Communicates with student's team, including school learning specialists, teachers, etc.

* Goal is self-sufficiency for the client - and a lifetime of academic success

So if you are trying to figure out quadrilaterals or perhaps you just need an extra boost to pass those French verb quizzes, you should consider a tutor. However, if you are in need of support in strategic study, planning, time management and organization, and anti-anxiety test preparation (including final exam planning!), an academic life coach will provide help for the tools, strategies, and habit change needed for a lifetime of academic success.

As for me, I don't want to choose - I'll take the kitty and the pup!

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