A photo of Cora, a tutor from University of Iowa

Cora

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I've been tutoring my entire life, starting as a ten-year-old teaching her little sister cursive so she could place out of second grade. (She did.) I was lucky to come from a highly academic family that emphasized education. I loved learning so much, I wanted to always be surrounded by people who were learning, too. Tutoring is my way of scratching that itch now that I'm not in school. I want to understand the way YOU learn and help you do it. I attended the University of Iowa on a full, merit-based scholarship, and graduated in 2014 with a degree in the Philosophy of Human Rights. During my time at the University, I received A+'s on essays and tests in political science, philosophy, literature, and humanities. I studied abroad in China for eight months, learning Mandarin and teaching English to high school and college students. When I returned, I took an AmeriCorps position as a tutor in basic math and reading skills for underprivileged youth, and later another tutoring position that allowed me to create my own curriculum for university students in Seoul. After graduating, I scored within the 98% percentile on the LSAT, and am happily headed to law school in Fall 2018, but right now I'm busy working as a legislative assistant at a non-profit law center and tutoring the LSAT.

In my spare time, I work on my house, cook and bake too much food, go to festivals outside even when it's raining, and (of course) read everything I can.

Cora’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Iowa - Bachelors, Philosophy of Human Rights

Test Scores

ACT Composite: 33

ACT English: 35

ACT Math: 29

ACT Reading: 36

ACT Science: 31

SAT Composite: 2190

SAT Math: 760

SAT Verbal: 740

SAT Writing: 690

LSAT: 171

Hobbies

Reading, of course! I try to alternate between fiction and non-fiction. I also play guitar, sing, and am trying to perfect my quiche-baking methods -- on top staying engaged in local politics. I'm currently renovating my apartment and loving Chicago's free outdoor concerts


Q & A

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Sometimes students need help remembering the underlying reasons why they are studying, to connect their day-to-day work to those goals. I try to help students hold their goals in mind and make those connections between "work" and "why." Other times, the big picture just isn't enough. I strive to ensure that learning feels the way it needs to feel to students, whether that be fun, challenging, comforting, relevant, or all of the above.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

I'm committed to working together with students to understand why they have difficulty in the areas that are most challenging for them. I never believe that it's because a student is not smart enough. How you think, your learning type, your previous experiences, your cultural background, your habitual approaches - there are always reasons, but there are always ways around them.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

It's crucial that students practice reading. Reading for reading comprehension is like taking a practice exam for a test; nothing can improve a student's reading comprehension better than reading. I ask that students who are interested in improving their reading abilities read as much as possible, and to rely on me to help them find engaging and suitable reading material, and talk through and overcome the frustrating aspects of reading comprehension.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

I try to be flexible in my strategies with students. In younger students, I like to foster enthusiasm for learning. For adult students, I build a strategy off of lifestyle, goals and expectations, and learning weaknesses and strengths.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

With younger students, my approach is usually to show the students that they already have the abilities they are trying to cultivate - they just need to apply them. I'm a huge believer in the benefits of meaningful encouragement.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I think the first step in understanding material is having the correct material on hand, especially for highly specialized areas like test prep. After that, regular practice exams or assessments have been shown to be exceptionally helpful for memory and retention. I'm also a big believer in learning by teaching. I want students of all ages to be able to explain material back to me. As they learn this skill, we can identify and work together through obstacles that arise.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

I've encountered far more under-confident students than overconfident students. I believe that lack of confidence can be one of the most devastating barriers for a student, especially for test-takers. I take a strengths-based approach to assessment and teaching; no student is lacking in ability. When you learn new skills, you are simply reapplying or expanding the strengths you already possess.