Personal Tutoring Session

May 27th, 2014

Working at the Study Hut affords us tutors the freedom to delve deep into the student’s subjects beyond that what they do in class. I recently had a student who didn’t have much work in her high school biology and Spanish classes (what we normally work on) so I improvised and pulled out some knowledge from my university psychology classes. She was learning about the brain in her biology class, but the class only touched on the basics of the brain’s anatomy. After we covered the material from her textbook, we spent the rest of the lesson going in depth on the structure of neurons and synapses, the anatomy of the brain and nervous system, and a brief overview of neurotransmitters.

Since she grasped all the necessary information quickly and effortlessly, we also previewed a couple of interesting neurological disorders that highlighted how the brain works, and how it sometimes fails to work. Specifically, we talked about a neuropsychological disorder known as ‘hemispatial neglect’. It primarily affects patients of strokes and causes them to neglect one side of their bodies. They aren’t blind, and they have sensations in those areas, but they they do not recognize or are not aware of one side of their body. For instance, if you were to punch one of these people on their neglected side they wouldn’t see the punch coming, but they would feel the pain. This lack of awareness leads the sufferers of this unusual and startling neuropsychological disorder to do things like apply makeup to one half of their face or only put on one sleeve or pant leg.

I loved teaching this student about a subject that I was passionate about, and it was something that went beyond the scope and focus of an average high school class. Here at the Study Hut we have the flexibility to delve deep into subjects that students may not be exposed to in school but that may pique their interests.

My tutoring sessions from this week!

March 15th, 2013

Here at the Study Hut we have a unique teaching method that seems to work very well. At the Study Hut we hope to empower students. Here’s what it says on our website:

“Our tutors are young, local, and experienced.  We offer one-on-one subject tutoring, SAT test prep, and a variety of other services.  Students love coming to Study Hut because it’s cool and they see results. There are many large, impersonal tutoring companies out there. Study Hut is proud to say that we’re not one of them.

Instead of using a “one-size-fits-all” method, we focus on each student’s unique learning style and teach to his or her strengths. Our tutors emphasize progress and growth for all students at all levels—no matter how unmotivated or defeated they may start out feeling.

Our highly trained tutors have all graduated from local high schools and universities. Study Hut tutors have experience teaching every subject you can think of, from elementary school through AP high school courses, we have done and seen it all.”

I am one of the tutors here at the Study Hut and proud to work for such a great company. I normally tutor elementary and middle school students and truly enjoying working with each of my students! Here’s a story about one of my personal tutoring sessions!

I tutor a little girl whose a 1st grader and together we work on her homework packet. Each week she has a different number of packets… each for a different subject including but not limited to – Math, Social Science, Literature, and English. She mostly struggles with math (subtraction)… and refers to the numbers as “big numbers” – which make her nervous. During tutoring we work on the homework packet and if she gets it done early we play Word Bingo since Bingo is her favorite game.

Some of the assignments in the packet include coloring different pictures and words – which the little girl certainly enjoys! We work on pronunciation of words, spelling words, definitions, and other fun assignments.

The little girl also has started to learn Spanish, so we work on Spanish vocabulary as well and basic phrases every week. I write the words down for her in English with the Spanish translation and she always highlights the English words with a highlighter. She studies them at home and does a great job!

Every student you tutor is different and they each work well in their own ways.

Free AP Diagnostic Test

March 14th, 2013

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! THE MANHATTAN BEACH STUDY HUT IS OFFERING FREE AP DIAGNOSTIC TESTS!!

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to get a 5 on an AP test? Well now is your chance!! We are offering free AP Diagnostic Tests and the first one is only 10 DAYS AWAY!

March 24th (Sunday) and April 20th (Saturday) are the two times that we will be offering the exams for all subjects.

If you would like to sign up please contact samantha@studyhut.com or call 1-310-546-2408.

For those of you that don’t know, AP stands for Advanced Placement – a program in the United States created by the College Board offering college-level curriculum and examinations to high school students. American colleges often grant placement and course credit to students who obtain high scores above a certain number on the examinations. The AP curriculum for the various subjects is created for the College Board by a panel of experts and college-level educators in each subject. For a high school course to have the AP designation, the course must be audited by the College Board to ascertain it satisfies the AP curriculum.

Some colleges use AP test scores to exempt students from introductory coursework. Each college’s policy is different, but most require a minimum score of 3 or 4 to receive college credit. Typically this appears as a “CR” grade on the college transcript, although some colleges and universities will award an A grade for a 5 score.

Grading the AP exam is a long and complicated process. The multiple choice component of the exam is scored by computer, while the free response and essay portions are scored by trained Readers at the AP Reading each June. The scores on various components are weighted and combined into a raw Composite Score. The Chief Reader for each exam then decides on the grade cutoffs for that year’s exam, which determine how the Composite Scores are converted into the final grades. During the process a number of reviews and statistical analyses are performed to ensure that the grading is reliable. The overall goal is for the grades to reflect an absolute scale of performance which can be compared from year to year.

How to pick a major?

January 12th, 2013

When it comes to picking a major, it may not always be an easy choice. For certain students, they grow up knowing exactly what they want to be in life…. a fireman, a police officer, a doctor, a lawyer… the list goes on and on. However, for other students picking a major may be like getting teeth pulled… frustrating and painful.

During those 4 years of high school, some students begin to realize where they want to go to college and/or what they want to major in once they get there. The list of majors to choose from will differentiate depending on the University you attend. Usually, the larger the university, the more options of majors the University will offer. Many times, students will come across majors that they’ve never heard of.

So, how to pick a major you ask? Here are a few tips to help pick a major that you both enjoy and that will either impact your career or help you in the future.

1. Take as many lower-division classes as you can so that you experience a variety of classes that you might not have thought to major in.

2. Make a list of activities that you are interested/passionate about, that way you may be able to find a major that coincides with things in life that you enjoy.

3. Try to find a major that you could see becoming a career for you in the future. Therefore, you can study a major you enjoy learning about and hopefully your major will help you find a career that one day you will get paid to do. Sometimes, students choose majors that they are interested in, but then struggle to find a job after college when they can’t find a job that’s related to their major.

4. Pick a major that gives you a variety of different work to do. You don’t always want to be writing long essays. Hopefully your major offers you internships, hands on work, and first hand experience within your field. You want to have a variety of knowledge and experience when creating a resume and trying to find a job/career once you graduate.

Picking a major can be difficult but once you find the right major for you, hopefully you will enjoy going to class and learning new things about that major.

Whether you have known for a long time what you want to do in life, or just started thinking about it… college is a place to grow and learn a lot about yourself. College is a great learning experience and if you pick the right major… it can make going to make your college experience that much better!!

My Experience at a Small Public University

December 12th, 2012

As an alumnus of a small Cal State, in particular, California State University, Channel Islands, my experience was much different than that of my friends. First of all, it is a particularly new institution in Camarillo, CA. At this university, I had the experience of a private education but at the price of a state level institution. My largest class size was around 40 students and that was in a lecture hall. The small class sizes allowed for everyone to become well acquainted with one another which made study sessions, as well as casual gatherings easy to organize. For one project, we had to develop a presentation that would immerse the class in discussion and really break down boundaries. My group all gathered together and rehearsed our proposal to the class. As we arrived to class, all the seats were in a circle (with room to spare) and we began our presentation. Everyone in the class became immediately engaged. Since the faces around the room already had a familiarity to them, we were able to completely let loose and hold firm to our opinions. People laughed and even cried.

I have a hard time envisioning this happening at a much larger institution. Some of my friends have told me about their classes being either 300 strong and over impacted; others have exclaimed that they simply cannot even enroll in the classes they need. These issues really help me to appreciate that I attended a small college. All my professors knew the entirety of the class by first name, were very successful, and were regularly available for help outside of the classroom. The success of my professors, which greatly reflected their teaching abilities, went from an accounting professor that was CEO of a firm that maintained the entire Verizon accounting department to an entrepreneurial professor that served as Commissioner of Small Businesses to President Bill Clinton. Their inspirational stories and different teaching styles made each class uniquely different. We, as a class, enjoyed talking with the professors to gain insight to their success and their approach to obtaining it. In all, my education at CSUCI was incredible and the chances to have memorable experiences were ubiquitous.

Should I Choose a Major Before Submitting My Application?

December 4th, 2012

Most colleges are looking for particular students with particular sets of skills, but not all them.  It is important to research what your top choices are looking for.  Stanford is looking for different types of students than is Berkeley, for example.   Many universities are eager to accept students that fit within a narrow range of strengths and weaknesses which means that often times, they want to see your strengths articulated into the major that you’ll be studying.  If you are quite strong in a particular area, you will be showing your potential university that you are committed to that strength and show a particular passion in that field of study.  At the end of the day, universities want to see dedication, diligence, and passion based on your strengths in high school.  Choosing a major upon applying to a university is just one more way to “brand” yourself as a unique student with a real drive for the subject matter.

However, some statistics show that around 80% of college students change their majors, and on average, a college student will change their major THREE TIMES during the course of their college education.  While this may be “normal” it is one of the main reasons college is taking students closer to five years to graduate.  When we get to college each major has specific classes that we need to take, so if we have been studying Psychology for two years and switch to Marine Biology, we are going to have to take a whole new set of classes, rendering the majority of the classes we took for Psychology useless.  While we may have enjoyed the classes we took, we are now two years behind in our Marine Biology coursework.  So in order to get the most for our time and ourselves it is most efficient to pick something we will love to do and stick with it.

If you are not so lucky as to know what you want to study right when you get accepted, there are important strategies that can help us use our time efficiently and not waste priceless time on taking unnecessary classes.   Many undecided students tend to study Psychology and Business, both very popular choices with a large range of opportunities in the future but they may not be what we really want to do.  Here is one strategy that will work well:

There are two main types of classes in college, General Education and Major Specific classes.  General Education classes are usually entry level and have few or no prerequisite classes (classes you need to take before you can take your major class).  While Major Specific classes usually build on themselves so they take more investment time wise.  If we do end up going into a major we are unsure about, it is best use of our time to take mostly General Education classes, and perhaps one major class our first semester.  This way we get our General Education classes (the classes we have to take no matter what) out of the way while still getting a little taste of how we like the major.

If we pay close attention to the classes, we may find there are some major classes that overlap with General Education, these would be best to start your Freshman year with because they give us a taste of the major while also chipping away at the General Education classes we have to take anyway.

But again the number one thing you should consider before you choose your major is “What do I LOVE to do” because in the end that is what will make you happiest, and when you are happiest you will perform your best.  Good Luck future of America!

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.

Helping with the College Application Process

October 17th, 2012

The overall majority of high school students, if not all, have the ultimate goal to complete high school and move onto the bigger world of colleges and universities. Now we are in the major season of application process with students taking final SATs, narrowing down schools and writing entrance essays. With so many things that go into getting into college, choosing a school out of the over 2,000 universities in America and almost 4,700 universities worldwide, the daunting and often times confusing application process and trying to find scholarships, many students often end up rushing through applications at the last minute or not even going through the effort. However, it does not need to be that way – with the proper preparation and effort, the process can be a breeze!

I recommend having a student start the application process around the summer before their senior year in high school. Generally the student has lots of free time to surf the internet and read through lots of information about different school, which is the first and most important step in the process: deciding which schools to apply to out of the thousands to choose from. The best way to do this is scour the internet for information, visit the campus and talk to friends and relatives that have attended the schools they are interested in. After this preliminary survey, try and narrow the potential schools to a list of 25-30, then go into a full depth research of those schools and start eliminating the ones that fall out of favor. From this new research, try and get to between 10-20 schools. Then you will want to visit these schools to narrow it down to your final 7-12 schools to actually send applications to.

The next step after choosing the schools is to actually apply! This process may seem daunting as almost every school has a different application process and requirements. The solution to this should have come from the earlier research done from choosing which schools to apply to: Application deadline, online application process, essay and letters of recommendation requirements.
The final step after applying to these schools is hopefully finding some free money to pay for the schools since we could all use some free money. Often times high schools have school programs or scholarship binders to send to local businesses, but there are countless scholarships for almost anything and everything you can think of, and all this requires is more research.
However, if after all of this you still have no clue – never fear! All of us at the Study Hut have gone through the process of applying ourselves, and have helped many other students get into their dream school. We offer a comprehensive College Application program to help with every application need, be it writing personal statements, getting scholarships, or even just filling out the applications. Time is running out – many deadlines are in November and December of this year, so let’s get a move on!

College Application Packages

Meet Jenna

June 4th, 2012

Hi!

I’m Jenna, the newest tutor at Study Hut in Manhattan Beach.
I am so excited to be part of this team of awesome tutors who help students succeed and make them laugh at the same time!

I grew up in Manhattan Beach surfing and playing soccer and tennis at Mira Costa High School. As hard as it was to give up the beach for a few years, I moved to New Orleans to study Economics at Tulane University and, of course, to celebrate Mardi Gras! After graduating from college, I taught elementary school in New Orleans with Teach For America for a couple of years. I adored my students and wanted to continue teaching but I also wanted to study Spanish so I moved to Ecuador to teach English. I taught students of all ages and fell in love with the country but missed my family very much so I cam home after a year.

Now that I am back in Manhattan Beach, I am thrilled to be working with the most energetic, dedicated, fun-loving tutors in the area! The Study Hut crew is an amazing team of all-star tutors that work together to make sure the students master everything from Spanish and Calculus to learning how to read. In my first week here I have seen how the Study Hut tutors work together as a team to tackle the goals of each student. The team dynamic is truly unique in a tutoring environment and gives the students the best of the best! Study Hut tutors have made me feel at home and I can confidently say that it is truly one of the best work environments that exist. Of course, the students are the best part of this job and I can’t wait to meet more of them at Study Hut Manhattan Beach.

Jenna Schaeffer
B.A. Economics
Certified Teacher