Advantages of Being a Tutor

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ComboOrgan
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Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby ComboOrgan » Sun Apr 13, 2008 4:35 pm

Does tutoring look good on applications? Does it matter at all?

I've heard that working as a tutor is good for one's Phsycis GRE score. Seems valid....
Does anyone have experience with this?

thanks

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grae313
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby grae313 » Sun Apr 13, 2008 4:38 pm

ComboOrgan wrote:Does tutoring look good on applications? Does it matter at all?

I've heard that working as a tutor is good for one's Phsycis GRE score. Seems valid....
Does anyone have experience with this?

thanks


Lots of people here, including myself, have tutored. It definitely helps you learn the lower division material, and I think it looks good on your application. It's not a vital element or anything, but it looks good. It's relevant experience. I think it helped me get a small fellowship from Cornell.

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butsurigakusha
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby butsurigakusha » Sun Apr 13, 2008 5:04 pm

I wouldn't recommend tutoring in lieu of doing research. But I really enjoyed my time as a tutor, and it was helpful for relearning the lower division material. So if you are looking for a job, you should definitely do it. If your only reason is to prepare for the GRE, then it may not be the best use of your time.

I think it looks good on applications, although not as good as research. I was a TA for modern physics for a couple of years, with the same professor each time, and I had him write a letter of recommendation for me. I don't really know if that letter was a strength or weakness on my application.

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jdhooghe
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby jdhooghe » Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:21 pm

I tutor regularly about four hours a week in our SPS tutoring center. It helps to refresh lower division physics and gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

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WontonBurritoMeals
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby WontonBurritoMeals » Sun Apr 13, 2008 8:51 pm

When I tutored, all that was available was math. So I was tutoring college students that hadn't passed Algebra II, or Trigonometry, and they'd start out with: "I hate math. Now teach me."

Most of them just needed to pass the class so they wouldn't get kicked out of the university and had a complete refusal to learn the material (despite that it would be easier to learn the material than to just memorize how to solve different types of problems).

Really deterred me. ='(

May the wind be always at your back,
-Wonton Burrito Meals

buddyo
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby buddyo » Sun Apr 13, 2008 9:41 pm

I found tutoring to help a lot. It's good for the application and it helps a lot for preparation for the GRE. Most of the Mechanics and E&M found on the GRE is first-year physics. Some of the most heavy calculations on the GRE are mechanics, so having a good foundation of mechanics helps a lot.

But if you have to choose between tutoring or research, research will get you into grad school. I suggest doing both.

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will
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby will » Mon Apr 14, 2008 12:49 am

So many people I've met who've tutored college math seem so bitter about it, and it kind of makes me sad, because it was such a rewarding experience for me. Yes, pretty much every student I tutored "hated math," but if they didn't they probably wouldn't need a tutor. So it takes a lot of patience, but there were a lot of people who told me that I eventually got through to them in a way that none of their teachers ever did and that's pretty cool. In fact, it's a lot cooler than when I have to try to explain math or physics to people who've already passed some advanced courses and therefore think they have to argue with every point I make, no matter how trivial.

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al-Haytham
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby al-Haytham » Mon Apr 14, 2008 1:45 am

i used to tutor premed students introductory physics and dear God their cheat sheets for the midterms used to be works of art...
Overall it was a fun experience..

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quizivex
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby quizivex » Mon Apr 14, 2008 5:37 am

Having a job relevant to your field of interest is a huge plus (in any field) for the reasons already discussed, (namely for the personal benefit of getting experience in the subject and the fact that it's a great extracurricular).

It still can be very frustrating dealing with careless or retarded or rude or "just trying to get HW answers" type of students. But it can be rewarding to help someone who's struggling but who tries and wants to learn some concept, and to know you're the one who made it click...

It's funny that while we're supposed to be reviewing the material and concepts taught in class, every once in a while some bitchy brat comes in, hands you her lab handout and says "how do I do number 3"... and you look at number three and it says "Why did the oscilloscope not respond to the signal in part B?"... it's like WTF!!! How the hell should I know, I didn't do the lab...

Overall, I highly recommend tutoring or getting some other type of instructional position... It doesn't have to be an overwhelming commitment... I only tutored 3 hours a week, but I did it for 3 years. Whether you tutor 20 hours per week or just 3, you can still say you're a tutor. Many (possibly most) of the successful applicants in the profile thread had an instructional position.

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twistor
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby twistor » Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:55 am

Lie. Just say you were a private tutor for x years. No one will check your references and you get all the advantages of saying you were a tutor without actually having to tutor anyone. You really don't have anything to lose.

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jdhooghe
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby jdhooghe » Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:43 am

twistor wrote:Lie. Just say you were a private tutor for x years. No one will check your references and you get all the advantages of saying you were a tutor without actually having to tutor anyone. You really don't have anything to lose.


:lol:
You'll have the bonus of not having to teach algebra in a calculus based introductory course either.

admissionprof
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby admissionprof » Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:57 am

twistor wrote:Lie. Just say you were a private tutor for x years. No one will check your references and you get all the advantages of saying you were a tutor without actually having to tutor anyone. You really don't have anything to lose.


Lying on an application is one of the stupidest things anyone can do. If we found out that someone had done that, we'd evict them from the program immediately--even if it was 10 minutes before their PhD defense. If someone lies on their med school application, and it is discovered decades later, that person could have their medical license revoked. Of course, you might not get caught. Most people who shoplift don't get caught either.

fermiguy
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby fermiguy » Tue Apr 15, 2008 11:08 am

twistor wrote:Lie. Just say you were a private tutor for x years. No one will check your references and you get all the advantages of saying you were a tutor without actually having to tutor anyone. You really don't have anything to lose.


I hope you're joking.....?

schandre
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby schandre » Tue Apr 15, 2008 11:24 am

fermiguy wrote:
twistor wrote:Lie. Just say you were a private tutor for x years. No one will check your references and you get all the advantages of saying you were a tutor without actually having to tutor anyone. You really don't have anything to lose.


I hope you're joking.....?


Felines have the strangest sense of humor.

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twistor
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby twistor » Tue Apr 15, 2008 12:30 pm

We're talking about private tutoring. No one would ever find out.

"Oh, I tutored Susie X. for $25/hr for 2 years. What's that? You want to contact Susie? Well, it was a long time ago and I don't have her contact information anymore. Sorry."

In any case, you can always find a non-physics friend to say you tutored him/her. What can the school say then?

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twistor
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby twistor » Tue Apr 15, 2008 12:32 pm

admissionprof wrote:Lying on an application is one of the stupidest things anyone can do. If we found out that someone had done that, we'd evict them from the program immediately--even if it was 10 minutes before their PhD defense.


I'd say you're either a liar yourself or an idealist.

excel
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby excel » Tue Apr 15, 2008 12:58 pm

If twistor really means what he is saying, I find it downright disgusting. I think we can do without dishonest people in science.

I myself worked 2+ years TA-ing for a second year level course and 1 year as a tutor for my university, and I do not like to think that someone can equal that with a piece of lie.
Last edited by excel on Tue Apr 15, 2008 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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zxcv
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby zxcv » Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:06 pm

twistor wrote:
admissionprof wrote:Lying on an application is one of the stupidest things anyone can do. If we found out that someone had done that, we'd evict them from the program immediately--even if it was 10 minutes before their PhD defense.


I'd say you're either a liar yourself or an idealist.
It's like a job. If you get caught having lied on your application -- even if it's just some casual comment you make (of the "ha ha, doesn't everyone make up a little on their application" type) -- they don't have a choice but to fire you.

astrofan
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby astrofan » Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:18 pm

admissionprof wrote:
twistor wrote:Lie. Just say you were a private tutor for x years. No one will check your references and you get all the advantages of saying you were a tutor without actually having to tutor anyone. You really don't have anything to lose.


Lying on an application is one of the stupidest things anyone can do. If we found out that someone had done that, we'd evict them from the program immediately--even if it was 10 minutes before their PhD defense. If someone lies on their med school application, and it is discovered decades later, that person could have their medical license revoked. Of course, you might not get caught. Most people who shoplift don't get caught either.



...But, "embellishing" on a personal statement is okay.

For example, I have talked to a few people who, in my opinon, out right lied when they said they wanted to do experimental physics, and decided "after taking a few graduate level physics courses" that they wanted to do theory. Now, this does make me angry, since I honestly want to do observational astrophysics, and this type of lie is not good for anyone (department or other applicants). But, I figure the schools know what is going on, and don't seem to mind.

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twistor
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby twistor » Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:41 pm

It's like a job. If you get caught having lied on your application -- even if it's just some casual comment you make (of the "ha ha, doesn't everyone make up a little on their application" type) -- they don't have a choice but to fire you.


Unfortunately the real world doesn't live up to your mighty standards.

fermiguy
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby fermiguy » Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:44 pm

astrofan wrote:
admissionprof wrote:
twistor wrote:Lie. Just say you were a private tutor for x years. No one will check your references and you get all the advantages of saying you were a tutor without actually having to tutor anyone. You really don't have anything to lose.



...But, "embellishing" on a personal statement is okay.

For example, I have talked to a few people who, in my opinon, out right lied when they said they wanted to do experimental physics, and decided "after taking a few graduate level physics courses" that they wanted to do theory. Now, this does make me angry, since I honestly want to do observational astrophysics, and this type of lie is not good for anyone (department or other applicants). But, I figure the schools know what is going on, and don't seem to mind.


I think there is a distinction here between "figuring out" you don't want to do something once you are in grad school and outright lying on an application. The former does legitimately happen. I once really, really wanted to do particle physics. I then decided to change my mind and I'm glad I figured this out now. That said I could have very well had figured that one out while in graduate school.

This whole thing about lying about tutoring people is just outright pathetic. Twistor, I really was blown back when you defended this. If you honestly think this is a proper way to conduct your life, good luck to you because you can only get away with stuff like this for a while. I find it amazing that you want to become a scientist... Why don't you lie about your data as well, one day? I'm sure there will be instances when no one will know or probably be able to figure it out? Would you do that then? There is no free lunches in this world and that is why the consequences for breaking professional trust is so severe, as admissionprof has said.

fermiguy
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby fermiguy » Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:46 pm

twistor wrote:
It's like a job. If you get caught having lied on your application -- even if it's just some casual comment you make (of the "ha ha, doesn't everyone make up a little on their application" type) -- they don't have a choice but to fire you.


Unfortunately the real world doesn't live up to your mighty standards.



Just to let you know, I have a job in industry right now and the standards are a lot higher than you can imagine and the consequences are worse. You lie on your resume, people can find out. Mention something in passing that you probably shouldn't have, people talk and people remember, you can get terminated very easily.

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twistor
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby twistor » Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:49 pm

fermiguy wrote:
twistor wrote:
It's like a job. If you get caught having lied on your application -- even if it's just some casual comment you make (of the "ha ha, doesn't everyone make up a little on their application" type) -- they don't have a choice but to fire you.


Unfortunately the real world doesn't live up to your mighty standards.



Just to let you know, I have a job in industry right now and the standards are a lot higher than you can imagine and the consequences are worse. You lie on your resume, people can find out. Mention something in passing that you probably shouldn't have, people talk and people remember, you can get terminated very easily.


Bullshit. In the real world very few people check references. Businesses run a credit check and a background check and sometimes make you give a piss test and once your in the application gets filed away and never looked at again. Of course if you start bragging, "I didn't really go to Harvard!" then you might be bring trouble upon yourself, but outside of that don't expect anyone to know or care.

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twistor
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby twistor » Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:50 pm

fermiguy wrote: Mention something in passing that you probably shouldn't have, people talk and people remember, you can get terminated very easily.


When will you people realize that capitalism just doesn't work?

fermiguy
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby fermiguy » Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:01 pm

twistor wrote:Bullshit. In the real world very few people check references. Businesses run a credit check and a background check and sometimes make you give a piss test and once your in the application gets filed away and never looked at again. Of course if you start bragging, "I didn't really go to Harvard!" then you might be bring trouble upon yourself, but outside of that don't expect anyone to know or care.



Oh ya? Well maybe if you work for a crappy company that doesn't have the resources or particularly cares... I have a pretty good job, and they called ALL of my references, I had to give them official copies of my transcripts, a copy of my thesis and they had me do an additional interview in French because I mentioned I can do regular non-technical conversation in the language. If you want to bum around with a mediocre job one day have fun, but if you want to make something of yourself you're going to have to play by the rules.

hpharty
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby hpharty » Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:07 pm

I have to say that in my job hunting experience fermiguy is correct. Even for the most mundane jobs I applied for they would call my references. It got to the point that I would only put down certain references for jobs that I really liked, because I didn't want UPS calling my research adviser. Although, I should say that the more respectable positions certainly had more harsh standards for checking my resume. I was never asked to speak any foreign languages though, that's brutal.

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will
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby will » Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:08 pm

Want to see what lying on your resume will get you?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_O'Leary

I'm an honest person, myself, but while we're being honest, can we not pretend like we know everything about the "real world."

fermiguy wrote:Well maybe if you work for a crappy company that doesn't have the resources or particularly cares...


Superiority complex time? Yes, your job is the "good job" after which all good jobs are modeled.

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twistor
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby twistor » Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:48 pm

For every company that checks your references there are 9 that won't.

Result? 9 callbacks out of 10.

And by the time they've figured out you don't know anything you have some experience for the next job and maybe a few paychecks.

Just because I'm not a player doesn't mean I don't know how to play the game.

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twistor
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby twistor » Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:52 pm

Disclaimer:

Warning: Explicit content. I am not a role model. I contradict myself frequently and for no reason. I often point out harsh realities and give really bad advice. I sometimes give good advice to bad people. I have no core belief system. Read my posts at your own risk.

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Helio
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby Helio » Tue Apr 15, 2008 9:51 pm

i did it for a semester. pissed me off cause they think they can get the answer out of you and when you want to tell them something interesting or a twist to the problem they are turned, esp. the physics majors. it really was not satisfying to read the book to people. the answer it is on this page usually only gave a huge grunt and them running to the prof.

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noojens
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Re: Advantages of Being a Tutor

Postby noojens » Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:53 am

I think tutoring is pretty awesome - it's good review for the GRE, plus it teaches the skills you need once you get into a classroom setting as a TA, and eventually as a professor if that's your goal (if it's not, then I'd try to hook up a work/study position doing research instead of tutoring).

Treat it like any job, though - when you're no longer learning regularly, it's time to move on.

Oh, and tutor physics, don't tutor math :)




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