The Value of Academic Reinforcement

April 16th, 2014

The Value of Academic Reinforcement

 

In almost two full years of working at the Study Hut, I’ve been able to see just how important supplemental education (in many forms) is for today’s young students. It’s nuanced at times, but there are myriad ways that seemingly inconsequential aspects of learning can change everything. Some of these things are just natural aspects of putting college students and grads in a room together and telling them to talk about academics, but in my tenure here I’ve watched the company grow and I’ve grown as a tutor and a person along with it. A particular session comes to mind here, and not because of how unique it was, but because it was extremely typical.

 

One of my weekly students, who we’ll call John Conner, came to me earlier this year to study for a history final. We hadn’t worked much together on history to this point, and John needed to catch up on almost everything covered on this test–we had our work cut out for us.

 

The first thing he asked me was: “Wait, so do you have this all memorized?” It was an honest question, and legitimate. Intuitively speaking, one would probably need to know a lot about US History to prepare someone study for a final exam nearly from scratch, but because of the way we work at the Hut, the way the Hut taught me to teach, and the very nature of supplemental academia, the session wasn’t about what I knew. It was about what John needed to know. We spent that hour combing through the text and his in-class notes to piece together what we agreed were the areas of importance. We spent the time looking for the questions, not the answers.

 

What I mean by all of this is that knowing is never part of my job. It’s about finding out, whether that means learning the material along with the students or just learning about the students themselves. The achilles-heel of today’s schools is the inability of schools to teach on a more personal level with each student. Of course, it’s a numbers game and it would be impossible for even the greatest instructors to personally teach lessons to all of their kids. But that’s the point. Because we’re in a unique position to help bridge the gap between teacher and student, concept and practice, we can always provide an invaluable set of tools for students of all kinds.

 

My knee-jerk reaction to John’s opening question was to say, “No, but you will soon.” This, to me, was the job in a nutshell. We don’t have the answers to the test your student will take, but we might know where to look.

Finding Your Dream College

March 18th, 2014
Finding Your Dream College
As your junior year winds down, it’s time to start coming up with the list of colleges that you will be applying to. Maybe you’ve had a dream school in mind since you were a little kid, or maybe you haven’t even started thinking about it, but you’ll need to come up with a mix of reach schools, safety schools, and a few in the middle of the road. There are around 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States, so trying to narrow them down can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula for choosing your mixture of schools, but here are some criteria you can use to find schools that would be a good fit for you.
  • Kind of college- Are you looking for a two year or four year school? Public or private?
  • Location- Do you want to be able to do your laundry and eat dinner at home, or only fly home for winter break from a whole new environment?
  • Size/Setting- How do you feel about being at a school where everyone knows your name? Or would you rather find your niche in a large, diverse student population?
  • Life Outside the Classroom- Do you see yourself in a fraternity or sorority? How important is school spirit to you? Do you want to be able to go to “the big game” every weekend? What about volunteering, or an active student government? What kind of balance are you looking for between being academically challenged and having a fun-filled social life?
  • Major- If you’re not sure what you want to do with the rest of your life, or want a lot of variety before you work on a major, don’t worry! That’s totally normal. If you want a specialized degree, such as engineering, it’s important to find schools that have the right program for you.
  • Cost- This is one of the most important factors in choosing a college. Talk with your parents about college costs, look into applying for financial aid, and research different scholarships.
Once you’ve come up with a manageable list of schools, go on some campus visits to get a feel for the school’s unique vibe. Each school has its own “X-factor” where even if it sounds perfect on paper, it might not feel right in person, or you might fall in love with a school you didn’t think you would. To make your search easier, the College Board website has a school search, information about schools, and background on the application process. Visit https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/find-colleges/how-find-your-college-fit to start searching for the school that’s right for you!

STAR Testing!

April 16th, 2013

Let us help your student put the “Star” in STAR Testing!!! 

Each spring, students in grades two through eleven take a STAR test. The STAR Program looks at how well schools and students are performing. Students take tests in math, reading, writing, science, and history. Teachers and parents can use test results to improve student learning.

The STAR Program includes four tests: the California Standards Tests, the California Modified Assessment, the California Alternate Performance Assessment, and the Standards-based Tests in Spanish.

The STAR Program for 2010–11 has four components:

  • California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA)—The CAPA is an alternate performance assessment to the CSTs in English-language arts (ELA), mathematics, and science. It is an individually administered assessment for pupils with significant cognitive disabilities who have an individualized education program (IEP).
  • California Modified Assessment (CMA)—The CMA is an alternate assessment to the CSTs in ELA, mathematics, and science for eligible pupils who have an IEP and meet the CMA eligibility criteria adopted by the SBE.
  • California Standards Tests (CST)—The CSTs are criterion-referenced tests that assess the California content standards in ELA, mathematics, science, and history-social science.
  • Standards-based Tests in Spanish (STS)—The STS are criterion-referenced tests aligned to the California content standards for reading/language arts and mathematics.

STAR Testing is just around the corner with test being given between April 17th and May 3rd, depending on your school.

STAR Testing is important because:

– Helps place kids in the appropriate class each year

– Used to appropriate funds in the district

– Can identify subject weaknesses in a student

– Colleges are starting to look at them to help determine admittance

– Some teachers give extra credit for doing well. 

We have access to past tests and can help your student prepare to do their best and knock it out of the park. 

Don’t wait… book your appointment today (7 days a week)! 

Contact samantha@studyhut.com or call 1-310-546-2408

Going away to college

April 11th, 2013

Yesterday, our RB Office Manager had a meeting with a student named Claire and her dad Jeff!! She is a Junior in High School and about to be a senior… and JUST now decided that she wanted to take the ACT.

The girl does well in Science and scored a 27 on her ACT Diagnostic test. Claire told our RB Office Manager that she had taken the SATS but about a year and a half ago, so not very recently.

The problem the student had was that she has been so focused on her grades and pin pointing exactly what she wants to major in, instead of focusing on what school she wanted to go or the area she want to live in.

Claire was focused more on her future and where her major was going to take her, that she did not stop to think about what location she wanted to go to college at, or the area she wanted to surround her self by.

When going to college, you have to think about not only what school you want to go, but also the area you want to live in. From LA to New York, there are so many schools across the United States, and each city is so different and unique, and each offer different things.

Make sure to spend time at the colleges of your choice, because it’s not only about the education, the classes, and the majors a school may offer, but the city it’s it or the surrounding area can also make a huge impact on your college life in either a positive or negative way.

College can last anywhere from 3 – 6 or more years and you want to make sure you choose a college where you are going to get a great education, but you have to make sure you can feel at home and feel safe and secure in the area that you want to live in.

Finals Season coming to an end…

January 29th, 2013

We did it! We made it through finals season!! Last week was a long week here at the Study Hut.

Last week we went to different schools and helped them study after school for a few hours.

We went to  Peninsula High for 3 hours and at Palos Verdes High for 5 hours and the weekend of  the 19th/20th – we went to West on Friday afternoon, West again on Saturday morning and  then to South on Sunday for free Finals Tutoring in the library.

We had such a great turn out at  each session.

I tutored in Spanish on Friday afternoon from 3 to 6 in the library at West. There were over 100 students who came and another 100+ on the waiting list to participate in the free tutoring.

When the students came into the library, there were signs hung up on both the 1st and 2nd floor of the library, with the names of all the different subjects that we helped tutor in. The High School also sent some of their students to help tutor as well with us which was greatly appreciated.

We tutored in multiple subjects – Algebra 1 & 2, Trig, Calculus, Biology, Chemistry, Spanish – just to name a few.

Each student chose to either be tutored in one subject for all three hours – or be tutored in three subjects, one subject per hour.

For my first hour I had about 6 students – 2 in Spanish 1, 2 in Spanish 2, and 2 in Spanish 3. Then for my 2nd hour – 5 of the 6 students went to a different subject so I tutored a student one-on-one. Lastly, for my final hour, a few more students showed up and I finished with 5 kids. My subject was one of the smallest groups. I enjoyed having a small group since I was able to help each student individually.

Both the Science and Math subjects had about 30+ students in their group.

We always enjoy going to other schools before finals to help them study and we also helped many AVID classes study for their finals – including Newport and PV High.

This finals season went really well and we are proud of all the students!!

Starting The College Essay: A letter to future college kids of America

November 9th, 2012

Dear High School Seniors:

The time has come to reap the benefits of all these years of classes, extra curricular activities, and sacrificing TV hours for extra study time. This time next year, many of you will be in your first semester of college … but where?

October and November are the crunch months for college applications. The UC Application, which opened October 1st, is due November 30th – a mere month away. Many of you are applying to multiple schools around the country, and you are currently in the midst of answering several open-ended prompts along the lines of, “What characteristics define you?” and, “Name an event that shaped your life.” Or, maybe you’re tackling something like the infamous University of Chicago prompt: “How do you feel about Wednesday?”

How do you even start to answer a prompt like that?

The best way to start is with a brainstorm. Spend a couple days just thinking before you even open a Word document and start to type. If the prompt asks you to reflect on an event in your life, or a quality that you possess, think honestly about who you are. Ask your friends and family what they think your best characteristics are, and ask for examples of how you embody those qualities. Look through photo albums, listen to your favorite music, think of events in your life that changed you and helped to build the person that you are today.

Next, narrow down your top options. Think: Does this story portray me in a good light? Does it make me seem smart and introspective? Do my actions embody attributes that would make me a good college student?

Remember that college admissions officers read thousands of essays each day during admissions season. They are looking for potential students who will thrive at their university, excelling in courses while adding insight and individuality. They want students who will enhance the university’s community by volunteering and becoming involved. Most of all, they want to see that you are a well-rounded person who is serious about education, but also has interests that extend beyond the classroom and can enrich the lives of other students. They’re building a community, not just a class.

So, just be you. Or – even better – be the most insightful and interesting version of you. Tell the truth, but tell it in an interesting way that will stand out from the other essays. The best way to do this is to try to show the readers who you are, rather than just telling them. Try telling a story that shows your best characteristics, or an example of how a Wednesday changed your life. Be unique, be concise, and be articulate.

And if you get stuck, be at The Study Hut. We’ll help you get inspired.

Valerie’s First Day

April 6th, 2012

I walked into Study Hut in Manhattan Beach not knowing what to expect as a new tutor going from private in-home tutoring to this local tutoring center. What I found was a team of outgoing, energetic, friendly, and intelligent tutors who loved what they do and did it very well! This was inspiring and exciting because they instantly accepted me into their Study Hut family and made a comfortable environment with all the resources I needed to tutor my students well. I was also welcomed by the home-like setting with comfortable chairs, big tables, art on the walls, and beach-y décor. I found that all the tutors have the same strive and determination to help and see their students grow to achieve their academic goals. It is as important to us tutors that all of our students pass their classes, stay organized, and reach their maximum potential. The one student to one tutor ratio really helped me connect with my students and learn a lot about what their hobbies, likes/dislikes, learning style, and most importantly what their goals are. I met many students from schools across the Manhattan School District and found that they all enjoyed their time spent here. I can tell that they really feel comfortable here as some students reach for candy in the drawer, pop a bag of popcorn in the microwave, and chat with other tutors and students. The tutors can really relate to the students because sometimes the tutors had the same high school teachers as the students have now. It’s interesting hearing how through the years the teacher is still doing the same assignments and field trips. Study Hut really provides an amazing learning experience for their students and we love to cheer our students on as they continue to succeed.