The Value of a Test Prep/Algebra 2 Tutor

I just got off the phone with a mom of a student who is going into Algebra 2 this year. I made the same comment I’ve made for years:

“Make sure your kid not only gets an A in Algebra 2, but also masters the material!”

Since the dawn of the college admissions rat-race, colleges have been looking at Algebra 2 as the bellwether course in making admissions decisions. Sure, there are many other factors that, on the whole, far outweigh any single course’s grade. But admissions folks understand that Algebra 2 is relatively standard among school districts, and the grade a kid gets in the course as a strong indicator for success in college. So, my strong advice to parents thinking of doing SAT or ACT tutoring with a kid who has not yet taken Algebra 2 is this:

“Establish a relationship with an SAT/ACT tutor who also tutors Algebra 2. Set up a weekly meeting and stick to it no matter what. 3/4ths of the time could be spent on making sure the student is kicking ass in Algebra 2, and 1/4th of the time could be spent reinforcing and applying the Algebra 2 he or she is learning to SAT and ACT problems.”

This approach has a 3-way benefit:

  1. a better grade in Algebra 2,
  2. a higher SAT/ACT score, and ultimately
  3. a greater chance of success in college admissions.

At Foley Prep we are stacked high with tutors who can teach all levels of high school math. I believe there is a real benefit to engaging an independent tutor outside the school district so that the mastery of the Algebra 2 is at a very high standard - always with an eye on a very high SAT or ACT score. As a former math teacher and tutor at a regional high school, I understand that many math tutors want to stay focused on the curriculum as it is being presented at the school. The benefit of an independent tutor who knows the curriculum at the school as well as the SAT/ACT is that the student will always be looking at the long-term goal of retaining mastery for the SAT or ACT to get into a great college, rather than merely the short-term goal of getting a decent grade on a quiz or a test the next day (which, of course is also the goal of an independent tutor).

If you have any questions at all, please always feel free to call us. I’d be happy to give you objective advice on your son or daughter’s educational situation.


Ron Foley

Chief Education Officer