Why Pay for Tutoring?
Yes, working with me - a professional organic chemistry tutor - is not free. It took me literally thousands of hours to develop the skills and supplemental materials I have today that enable me to help you like a rock-star. And you better believe that when it comes to being an expert at all this class involves and in how to communicate it to students of all different levels so they can turn it around, there is no substitute for experience and know-how.
You have very little margin for error regarding taking effective action to ensure things don't spiral out of control irreversibly. This course is unforgiving to students who get off to a poor, slipshod start regarding how to effectively learn and apply the material.
In most cases, the reason the student does poorly is not because they didn't study enough; it is because they don't recognize that they don't know an effective way to approach this class. Students brand new to academic struggle typically expect their past academic excellence to provide them the skills to figure it out and turn things around on their own. Unfortunately for most students in this situation, things continue to get worse without intervention because organic chemistry is unlike any other course they have likely taken.
"I'll study harder" rarely solves the problem because the student isn't fixing how they're approaching the course.
What makes things even more insidious is students may get through exam 1 with a score that seems strong only to then get destroyed on exam 2. Most exam 1's feature lots of stuff that does not require critical thinking, so it becomes easy to be lulled into a false sense of security that learning organic chemistry is not much different from courses they have taken before. However, exam 2 then features many concepts that may seemingly make sense in "small, bite-size pieces", but the actual test is knowing how these all work together in unison in a larger-picture application.
Who you turn to for guidance will be a critical decision on your part.
I cannot count the number of students who came to me after things didn't work out so well with peer tutors, inexperienced tutors, or their roommate who took the class last year and got an A. The problem with this is by the time the student figures out that the less experienced classmate hasn't been the answer, the student is now in even bigger trouble and the rescue becomes a lot more difficult.
In fact, I have learned my lesson over the years that there comes a point in the semester (or summer) where it doesn't make sense for me to take on a new student. There needs to be enough time to undo the damage, so coming to me a week before your final and expecting that we can do marathon sessions to turn you from zero to hero is not realistic.
I cannot overemphasize the importance of this simple concept: with me in your corner, you can ask questions and get authoritiative answers.
Online videos and websites are loaded with information, but you are still going to have specific questions that will need to be answered by somebody who knows what they are doing. Classroom resources like teaching assistants and helproom have a wide range of variability when it comes to how helpful they are, and they have their own host of issues that are outlined in the next drop-down toggle.
Even if your TA's are sensational and accessable, I will probably still have more experience and resources to provide you with that will help accelerate your skill building and ability to solve problems with authority.
There is literally no substitute for having an expert available to answer YOUR specific questions that come up as you're going through the course.
Every student taking organic chemistry will encounter some or all of the following situations:
- confusion about concepts and lack of clarity regarding logic
- needing help understanding a mechanism
- needing guidance on homework
- needing explanations for how to approach a problem
All of these are situations that will require seeking help.
Working with me and having me as your resource is one solution, and I would like to think it is an efficient and productive solution. Other solutions include the internet, classmates, and getting help from classroom-provided resources. I'm not going to claim I'm the only answer for everyone's needs, but I will point out some of the common problems that arise from going the usual routes:
Common student complaints:
- I went to office hours, but it was overloaded with students. I couldn’t get my questions answered.
- At office hours, I have to wait forever, then get to ask one question, then need to wait forever again to ask my next question.
- I spent hours online trying to find an answer.
- The TA couldn’t answer my questions.
- The TA never responded to my email.
- The help room is filled with anxiety. Premeds are not fun to be around, it's a bad energy.
- Studying with premeds is a bizarre dynamic – they all want answers from you, but they don’t want to give you answers because ultimately, you’re their competition.
- My teacher/TA makes me feel stupid for asking questions.
- I didn’t want to ask my question in front of the other students.
- I had a question on my homework, but the TA’s are not allowed to help us.
- I can’t find answers to my specific question online.
- I don’t even know how to look for the answer online.
- I don’t really even know what my question is, I just know I don’t understand what I’m doing.
- It takes too long to find answers.
- It took me 3 hours to find the 10 seconds on a video that kind of answered my question.
Your time is valuable. Don't waste your most precious resource.
The internet is loaded with all kinds of instructional videos and other resources, and this makes it seem like answers are all right there at our fingertips. But organic chemistry doesn't always lend itself to easily finding the answers to our problems, and too often, the stuff showing answers is still not really teaching you how to understand the WHY of what is happening.
This means you are at risk that the next time you see the same concept being tested, you still will not recognize it and will continue being unable to solve the problem.
When you’re working with me, I’m going to be responding to your needs and understandings. I will be seeing your notes, and the what your teacher is testing, and I will be explaining to you the things you need to learn and understand. We will be able to discuss whether it is becoming clear so you're not leaving the sessions without the knowledge you need.
One of my biggest goals is that you are learning how to weave together all the important information of the class so you are not trying to solve problems with a fragmented, disjointed approach where there is not understanding of repeating trends.
The majority of my students come to me after they painfully discover that free online organic chemistry tutorial videos, books like "Organic Chemistry as a Second Language", and peer tutors / inexperienced tutors were perhaps somewhat helpful, but not the complete answer to doing well on exams.
Not all tutors are the same. We can say this about any profession. We hear stories all the time about people flying across the world to have surgery with a specific specialist; Olympic athletes are very selective about whom they seek coaching with; and when legal problems arise, people are extremely discerning about whom they seek for legal counsel.
What do all of the above examples have in common? Awareness that when the stakes are high, you want the best looking out for you.
If you have never worked with a professional tutor, you likely don’t know the true benefit and value. I'm not making this up when I tell you that many of my past students who had worked previously with professional tutors in other subjects and understood the tutoring market have often told me they were shocked I wasn't charging more.
Believe me, I work with a lot of straight-A students . . . there’s a reason why most students struggle with this class, and part of it has to do with the fact that organic chemistry is not a “do-it-yourself” type of subject for learning in one or two semesters. It may seem like the simplest reason for working with a tutor is to get better grades, but there are many more advantages that I have outlined in the next section.