I’m going to echo what people have said and add:

1.      Students are likely scared of the prospect of reaching out to a stranger for help vs. the actual tutor.

2.      One way to address this issue is to ensure that all of your tutors sit facing the entrance to the space where they tutor and look up from what they’re doing and greet a new student upon arrival to avoid that awkward “seat yourself” mentality wherein many people will walk away.

3.      Decorating your space in a welcoming way is key.  (Family Dollar and similar stores are a great option for low-cost decorating, especially seasonal.  We try to give students a “home-away-from-home feeling” through our decorations.  Halloween and Thanksgiving are up now, and soon they’ll turn into painted snow frosts on the windows, Christmas lights, and signs for December holidays, all of which the students love.)

4.      Marketing to ensure that your student (and faculty) population knows that tutoring is for “everyone” is essential.

5.      During CRLA Level I, I also talk with new staff about welcoming new students.  We start with me asking them to think of a time, academic or otherwise, when they needed to approach a stranger for help.  What were the circumstances?  How did they feel?  What were their concerns?  (I also share an experience.)  Once we share, I ask them to try to hold in their heads that feeling each time a new student approaches them for tutoring and do their best to reassure that person.


You’re in a great place in terms of an opportunity to grow your center, so I’d run with it to see how you can evolve.


PS  I experienced the same thing with my staff my first year on the job and ran with the challenge.  It took a while, but what I’m describing here is second nature to our staff now.




Debbie Malewicki, MA

Director, Center for Learning Resources

Winner of the 2016 ATP Program of Excellence Award

Safe Zone Ally

116 Marvin K. Peterson Library

University of New Haven -- "A Leader in Experiential Education"

300 Boston Post Road

West Haven, CT  06516

Phone:  (203) 932-7415

Fax:  (203) 931-6013

E-mail:  [log in to unmask]


"Tutoring to Help You Blossom Into a Better Student”


Thought of the day:  “A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.”  By John Burroughs


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From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Crouse-Powers, Amy
Sent: Friday, October 28, 2016 1:33 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Students are "scared" to attend tutoring?


In the first hour of their training, I talk to my tutors about their first job is to welcome the HECK out of students who come in, recognizing that it takes a lot of courage to admit that one needs help.  (I talk about being “radically welcoming.”)  I talk to them about what it feels like to go into a place where they don’t know the process – like a restaurant that has no “seat yourself” sign but also no host to seat people.  I talk about how many people probably want to (or do) turn around and walk out of a restaurant like that if they’re nervous about looking silly.  I tell them that their job is to make sure NO ONE feels unmoored or out of place when they walk in here. We’re here to let them know that we’re not judging them nor breaking their confidentiality.  Job one is being friendly and welcoming.  That goes a long way to making for a successful tutoring partnership.



Amy Crouse-Powers


From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Spink-Formanski, Tina
Sent: Friday, October 28, 2016 1:27 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Students are "scared" to attend tutoring?


Find out which tutor(s) are intimidating your students and work to make a more inviting environment for students!  J




Christina Spink-Formanski, Director

Learning Center/AOE HEOP

D’Youville College

320 Porter Avenue

Buffalo, NY  14201


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From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Lynda Sukolsky
Sent: Friday, October 28, 2016 1:15 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Students are "scared" to attend tutoring?


I've gotten some feedback from one tutor that was told students are scared to come to tutoring, they don't know what it is. And they are scared that the tutor is an upper-class student.   This is coming out of our music program.


I have never experienced this and am looking for any help/advice on how to counteract these thoughts.






Lynda J. Sukolsky, M.Ed., PgC

Director of the Academic Achievement Center

Seton Hill University

Greensburg, PA



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