School is back in session, and report cards will be out before you know it. It’s important to stay proactive when it comes to your child’s academic success. If your child struggles with new curriculum, or just needs a head start with standardized testing, a tutoring service can be a valuable tool. Researching and interviewing candidates now ensures that your child is academically prepared for the upcoming year.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin wants to make sure you get the most for your money when it comes to your child’s educational needs. Nationally, BBB has received over 400 complaints from January 2013 to August 2014. Most complaints allege contract and service issues, many of which stated promises were not met and students weren’t receiving the proper assistance. Also, some claim billing and refund issues.

BBB has this advice when seeking a tutor for your child:

  • Consider your options. Private, in-home tutoring? Small group lessons? Online step-by-step instruction? There are many different avenues to explore before signing your child up for anything. Think about how they learn, and what will be most effective to help them. What works for one child may not work for another.
  • Do your research. When seeking the right tutoring service or commercial learning center for your child, check out the company’s BBB Business Review at to view its complaint history and details about the complaints. Also, read customer reviews for positive, neutral and negative feedback.
  • Get referrals. Ask for referrals from your child’s teacher. Other parents and friends can be a great resource, as well.
  • Check the tutor’s credentials. Ask for transcript copies, copies of state teaching certificates, tutor certification, or proof of other specialized training. Ask the tutor to provide a complete resume. Also, make sure he or she is qualified in the right subject area for your child’s needs.
  • Schedule a meeting. Meet with the tutor and discuss measurable, specific goals. While a tutoring program can’t necessarily guarantee higher test scores, a tutor can help identify problem areas and address any specific subjects where your child needs help.
  • Check in. If you use a personal tutor, feel free to occasionally sit in on a session and observe how the tutor and your child are working together. Ask the tutor for advice on what you can do as a parent to help your child learn more effectively.
  • Read the terms and conditions. Be sure you understand details of your payment plan and what happens if you decide to cancel. Get everything in writing.
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