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Since my undergraduate years I have tutored, mentored, and taught students in both New York City and Los Angeles, and across a variety of subjects, age levels, and abilities. I've also conducted research on teaching, learning, and student preparedness in the community college context. Writing is by far my favorite subject. It allows me to understand and nurture a student's creativity and imagination- which always leads to some amazing conversations- yet it also allows me to simultaneously sharpen students' communication and critical thinking skills. Aside from writing, I enjoy tutoring Spanish, history, and study skills. As I see it, tutoring is not just about helping struggling students; it is about pushing students (even the brightest!) to grow both academically and personally. Now for my alphabet soup of degrees. I received my Bachelor's degree from UCLA in Sociology with a minor in Education. I then went on to complete my Master's degree in Sociology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. And because two degrees aren't enough, I am now currently pursuing my PhD at UC Irvine in Criminology, Law, and Society. As I move on to this new endeavor, I plan to extend my passion for education into the criminal justice system. In my spare time, I enjoy road-tripping (I've driven cross country twice!), hiking, film, and dancing.

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Melissa’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of California-Los Angeles - Bachelor in Arts, Sociology

Graduate Degree: Teachers College at Columbia University - Master of Arts, Sociology and Education

Test Scores

GRE Quantitative: 150

GRE Verbal: 153


road trips, hiking, film

Tutoring Subjects

College English

College Essays

College Level American History

Conversational Spanish


English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

High School English

High School Level American History




Social studies


Spanish 1

Spanish 2

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization



Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

To meet students where they are at, find their strengths, address insecurities with support, and challenge them to be better students.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

Figure out how they feel about the subject at hand, what they think of their instructor/class, and develop a plan for the day based on that information. We would then re-assess as we moved along.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I offer a lot of scaffolding for students during sessions, but if I find that they are using my assistance as a crutch, I am quick to let them know. The key to helping your student become an independent learner is knowing when to step back. I insist that students work on a problem until they figure it out. Silence can be as uncomfortable as uncertainty, but I find that students need to sit with their thoughts for the learning experience to be productive. Oftentimes, students are surprised by the challenge and resist, but with proper "cheering" along the way, they are able to figure things out.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

A one-and-a-half-hour session can be grueling after a long day of classes and extracurriculars. I generally develop great rapport with my students, and they always love to tell me how their week/day has been, and exciting things they've seen on TV, Instagram or Vine. If I see that they have grown restless, I will spark a small side conversation to give them a break, and then we start back up and they are generally re-energized. If this still doesn't help, I try to acknowledge how much progress the student has made, and how a bit more prodding with a math problem, reading or essay can go a long way. But the important part is knowing when to push students and when to pull back and take a break.

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