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Hi Barton,

That's a GREAT question.  I understand and appreciate Jered's response, and I feel it definitely has merit.  But my initial reaction was just the opposite.  We don't hire graduate student tutors, but we have definitely made exceptions based on individual academic record. Although some programs strictly stick to the minimum 3.0 GPA rule, we occasionally hired undergrads whose cum GPA was less than 3.0 if they made an A or B in the courses they were going to tutor, and a course totally unrelated to the subject they were tutoring brought down their GPA.  An example would be an organic chemistry tutor who made and A and a B in a challenging organic sequence, but made C's in two semesters of a 5 hour Latin course.  I've found that often these students are better tutors than some of the students with much higher cum GPAs because they have more empathy for students who are struggling, and they "see" why students don't get the concepts.

Because he did well in your undergrad program it sounds like he would have qualified to become a tutor as an undergrad.  Because we work with graduate students to help them improve their learning strategies, I have often seen grad students get below a 3.0 their first semester, only to rebound with a 4.0 the next.  So I think tutoring may be a great experience for him, especially the learning strategies that you will discuss in tutor training activities.

But I think the decision should definitely rest on what you find in an interview with the student.  If, as Jared suggests might be the case, he has misplaced priorities and needs to focus on his own coursework rather than tutor, I wouldn't hire him.  If, on the other hand, he got one grade in a graduate course that pulled his GPA below 3.0, but he seems conscientious and eager to help, I would hire him.  We often say that tutoring benefits the tutors more than the students, because they learn the material so much deeper when they are helping others learn it.  So this might be just the thing to help this young man get back his confidence, deepen his own understanding while helping others, and pull his GPA up to where it needs to be.

I guess you could also consider hiring him on a provisional basis, and monitor his performance and his test grades. If his grades at midterm are not satisfactory you could release him from tutoring duties.  But I think this is the least desirable route, as it suggests you don't really have confidence that he'll succeed.

IMHO,
Saundra


Saundra McGuire, Ph.D. 
(Ret) Assistant Vice Chancellor  & Professor of Chemistry
Director Emerita, Center for Academic Success
Louisiana State University





-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jered Wasburn-Moses
Sent: Friday, January 16, 2015 12:20 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Hiring grad student with GPA under 3.0

I would be hesitant to this student, not so much because I would question his/her content knowledge so much as I would question his/her priorities. This is a student who really needs to be focused on coursework right now, and I'm not sure that adding tutoring hours would be beneficial.

Jered Wasburn-Moses
Math Center Coordinator
Success Skills Coordinator
Learning Assistance Programs
Northern Kentucky University
http://lap.nku.edu
University Center 170F
(859) 572-5779

-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Barton E Price
Sent: Friday, January 16, 2015 1:16 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Hiring grad student with GPA under 3.0

Colleagues

We have a graduate student who is interested in applying to be a tutor. The applicant's GPA is below 3.0. While I know that this is a professional standard,  I am curious whether any have made exceptions based on individual academic record.

The current GPA is based on the applicant's first semester in graduate school (two courses). The student's undergraduate record--also at our school--shows strong performance in his/her major. If hired, the student would tutor in his/her major and field of graduate study.

I appreciate your feedback on this matter.

Sincerely,

Barton Price

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