Do I Need Tutoring Services?

Woman providing tutoring services to law student

Are you considering tutoring services to help you next semester?  Maybe you got your grades back and you didn’t do as well as you wanted. Or perhaps you just want to do better with a little extra help. Whatever your situation, law school tutoring services can help you reach your goals.

Law School Professors

Law schools don’t provide the individualized attention you need to reach your full potential. At many law schools, professors are not available, will not discuss with you how to write law school exams, or will not review your practice exams. This is because most law schools reward professors who write law review articles. Not those who spend time helping students. Or, you may have a tenured professor who just doesn’t spend a lot of time at the law school anymore.

Academic Support Department

If you’re lucky, you’re at a law school with an academic support department. The professionals in these departments tend to have a great deal of expertise, which can help you improve. But most of these professionals are overworked, assisting more students than they can reasonably help. This means that they do triage, creating workshops on general topics like note taking and IRAC. And if you schedule a meeting with one of them, the meetings are usually short because they are booked in back-to-back meetings.

Law School Tutor

A law school tutor will spend the time you need working for you, listening to you, and figuring out where you need help. One-on-one law school tutoring is powerful because you’re not like everyone else at your law school. You came to law school with certain skills, knowledge, and abilities that are different from your classmates. Some of your classmates already have strong writing skills. Some of them were in majors, like philosophy, that emphasized the critical thinking skills needed in law school. Others went to private prep schools, which taught them how to study better.

running race so need law school tutoring

Let me use an analogy. You are in a race with your classmates. As you prepare to start the race, you all are placed on the track, but not all at the same starting place. Many of your classmates are starting the race closer to the “A” grade because of the advantages they brought with them to law school. Unfortunately, law school is not a level playing field. But you can learn how to outrun your classmates if you train the right way.

Self-Help

Now don’t get me wrong, going to your academic success department, reading some books, and watching videos on this channel will help. But most of your classmates are doing the exact same thing. For example, I recommend that you read Writing Essay Exams to Succeed in Law School, a resource I’ve assigned for years.  But you need help to run past your classmates in the law school race. And trust me, this is a race in every meaning of the word. Why? Because your professor will assign grades based on a forced curve, where there are few winners. Everyone will be ranked, highest to lowest. Those in first, second, and third place get A’s, and everyone else gets lower grades based on how they performed relative to the other students in the class.

Law Tutor Qualifications

So how do you find a good law school tutor? If you type “law school tutor” in your search engine, you’re going to find many options. Look at the qualifications of the tutors. By qualifications, I mean what have they have done during their career, not where they went to law school years ago. The law school someone attended is based on a standardized test score and undergraduate grades, not the tutor’s ability to help you succeed in law school today. Also, the grades they got in law school is not relevant. Why? Because you are not them. You do not have the same knowledge, skills, and ability that they did when they attended law school. Finally, remember that anyone can create a website and begin selling law school tutoring services. Use your critical thinking skills before you hire just anyone with a pretty ad to help you.

Ideally, you want somebody who’s taught thousands of law students. A law school professor makes the best tutor because he or she understands law students. The professor has worked with students, developing strategies to help struggling law students succeed. Also, law professors have written and graded exams, which helps them in providing their expertise to you.

Testimonials

Look for online reviews or testimonials. Has the tutor helped students throughout the country? Have they helped students at unranked law schools up to the elite law schools? What are others saying about them.

And finally, do you trust the tutor to do a good job? Sometimes you have to take a chance, so look for a free introductory session or a money-back guarantee.

Cost versus Benefit

Tutoring services are not cheap, at least from qualified tutors. You need to ask yourself: how much are better grades worth to me? Law students are coming out of law school with huge debt loads, with many now graduating with over $200,000 in debt. A tutor can help with higher grades, which can lead to law review, moot court, and other law school honors. And usually, once you’ve mastered law school exams and are getting better grades, you won’t need to continue with a tutor. But till then, you may want to weigh the cost and benefit of tutoring services.

Tip from a Law Student

I was lucky enough to go to a school that, had excellent professors, who were willing to meet with me. But occasionally I found that I needed help. In one class, for example, I needed a tutor, but I hadn’t planned for it in my budget.  I ended up earning my lowest grade in law school, and now wish I could have found a law school tutor.

So here is my advice:  set aside some money at the beginning of the semester in case you need law school tutoring services.  Place this future expense in your budget, and spend a little less money on going out.  And if you don’t end up needing a tutor, that’s a little more money in your pocket at the end of the semester!

Andrea

Editor:  Andrea is a 3L law student.

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