Frequently Asked Questions

TUTORING

DO YOU HELP STUDENTS WORK ON STUDY SKILLS AND TIME MANAGEMENT?

Yes, we help students find success by helping them develop skills and creating good study habits. Every student is different, so focusing on the areas your student needs to work on is how we guide them. Students need a quiet place to work, to find a balance with putting down their phone and opening their text book, as well as learning how to read, take notes, and memorize effectively

HOW LONG DOES MY STUDENT NEED TO COME FOR TUTORING?

This is highly individualized, depending on their age, need, and how busy they are with extracurricular activities. Every student who comes to the California Learning Center has a different plan that addresses their strengths and weaknesses, and most students come weekly, but some do come twice a week. Some students will continue ongoing throughout the year for consistent support and then there are some that may need less time.

CAN MY STUDENT COME TO YOUR CENTER TO STUDY ON THEIR OWN?

Yes, we have space for students to come in, at no charge, and work quietly if they find this environment is more conducive to getting their work done. Some students will come before their session and do work independently and then meet with an instructor.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TUTORING?

Unlike classrooms, tutoring engages students in a one on one setting. Many people are too shy to participate in a large group, and working with a tutor helps get them out of their shell. They can ask questions without feeling judged, and get personalized feedback and attention.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD NEEDS A TUTOR?

Everyone can benefit from tutoring, especially in subjects where confidence might be lacking. Perhaps your student is on the edge of comprehension and just needs a positive push. If grades or test scores are low, chances are that your student would benefit from meeting with a tutor.

MY CHILD WON’T LET ME HELP THEM WITH THEIR HOMEWORK, BUT THEY ARE STRUGGLING. WHAT CAN I DO TO SUPPORT THEM?

Oftentimes kids do not want to take advice from their parents, because they have all the answers! Hearing the same thing from another person sometimes make all the difference. We target the individual needs of each student, offer support, and let parents know how best to follow-up.

HOW DO I FIND THE RIGHT TUTOR?

Here at the California Learning Center, we have a variety of tutors with different areas of specialty, ranging from math to science to writing to test prep. We can connect you with the right person who can help with your student.

I HAVE A SMART STUDENT WHO STRUGGLES WITH FOCUS AND STAYING ON TASK IN CLASS. I AM WORRIED THEY ARE GOING TO FALL BEHIND. DO YOU HAVE ANY KIND OF PROGRAM THAT WILL HELP THEM?

A classroom environment can have lots of distractions and this can affect a student’s comprehension, performance, and in effect, their self-esteem. This also applies to students who struggle with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and ADD with Hyperactivity (ADHD). With a private tutor, the student can work on a task and keep distractions to a minimum for them to gain mastery of the content needed.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD IS MAKING PROGRESS?

All instructors and/or the director will touch base on a regular basis letting you know what is going on, and what they should continue to work on outside of the learning center.

WHERE DO YOU TUTOR?

All of our tutoring is either on site or via Skype. With Skype, sessions can be held at any time and anywhere. If a student is traveling or not well, tutoring by Skype helps to stay on top of content material. We also have students that live abroad and want practice working on their English and writing skills.

MY CHILD IS HAVING A HARD TIME KEEPING TRACK OF ASSIGNMENTS. DO YOU OFFER SOMETHING THAT CAN HELP WITH ORGANIZATION?

Yes, many students struggle with both organization and time management. Often they need some tools and structure, and with some follow-up, are good to go. We can help with creating calendars, to-do lists, and other tools for academic success.

TEST PREP

SHOULD A STUDENT PREPARE FOR THE PSAT?

It’s a good idea to support your student for all standardized tests they will be taking in their high school years. By spending some time preparing for the PSAT, they will be exposed to problems similar to the questions they will see on the SAT. Time management, test strategies, low stress, and feeling confident on test day are all important and practice is simply a good idea.

MY CHILD HAS TEST ANXIETY. DO YOUR COURSES ADDRESS THAT?

Yes, we feel it is important to give students tools they can use before and during any test. There is much to be said about keeping a positive mind-set and maintaining the focus on the test, not on being stressed. We talk about ways to reduce nerves and being prepared helps students feel comfortable and confident.

SHOULD MY STUDENT TAKE BOTH THE ACT AND SAT?

That is a lot of test taking if they do both tests, especially since most students take the test of their choice 2-3 times. Reviewing the differences between the two tests and possibly taking a practice test for each will help determine the better test for your student. Some students will perform better on one than the other and this varies so there is no one right test.

DO ALL SCHOOLS ACCEPT THE ACT THE SAME AS THE SAT?

Yes, all schools accept both and view them similarly.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SAT AND THE ACT?

There are several differences between the SAT and the ACT. The SAT has 10 sections and has a penalty for wrong answers. The ACT has 5 sections and there is no penalty for guessing. The ACT is shorter by 20 minutes, and gives an extra 5 minutes for the essay component. The SAT covers reading, writing, and math, and the ACT includes a science section. This includes skills required in the natural sciences and interpretation and analysis of graphs and problem solving. The SAT focuses more heavily on vocabulary, and the ACT covers more on grammar content and interpretation of reading passages.

I’VE TAKEN AN SAT COURSE AND I STILL WANT TO IMPROVE MY SCORE, WHAT’S NEXT?

Read, read, read! Reading is huge, and benefits all areas, from comprehension to vocabulary. You can continue to practice math problems and writing short essays too. Taking more practice tests helps you be as familiar as you can with the testing style which in turns builds confidence.

I WAS THINKING ABOUT TAKING THE SAT TEST “COLD” WITHOUT STUDYING OR PRACTICING. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

There isn’t any good reason not to prepare first. At least take a practice test online, timed, to get a sense of what type of problems there are on the test, and therefore there are no surprises.

HOW MANY TIMES SHOULD I PLAN TO TAKE EITHER OF THESE TESTS?

Taking one of the tests twice is a good idea, some take both tests once, then determine which one they like better and then prepare more and take one of the tests twice.

DO YOU OFFER COURSES FOR THE ACT AS WELL AS THE SAT? DO YOU RECOMMEND TAKING BOTH TESTS?

The California Learning Center offers courses in both and this summer is piloting a combo-course, highlighting all the math, reading, writing, and science in both tests. I do recommend taking both tests to determine the one a student does well on and receives a higher score.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO TAKE THE SAT OR ACT TESTS?

The best time to take either the SAT or ACT is winter or spring of junior year. If you can get as much of your testing over before senior year, you will be glad for that. There will be enough to do with college applications that having to take more tests just add to the workload.

COLLEGE COUNSELING

HOW MANY COLLEGES IS A GOOD NUMBER TO APPLY TO ALTOGETHER?

Generally, a good number of colleges to apply to is between 8 and 12. This can vary according to the student, and can get costly, but they should consider 6 colleges as their minimum.

MY STUDENT WANTS TO VISIT COLLEGES AFTER BEING ACCEPTED. IS THIS A GOOD IDEA?

Yes and no. Ideally, it’s good to visit colleges they are interested in attending prior and during their application process to get a sense if they find them a good fit. Some schools are far away which can be costly, or their schedule doesn’t allow them to travel to see many schools. However, if there are any 4-year colleges nearby, that’s a good place to start, even if that’s not a school they would like to attend, just to get a sense of what it’s like on a college campus. Scheduling a tour online during the school year is the best way to visit, not just a drive through.

DOES CALIFORNIA LEARNING CENTER OFFER DIFFERENT LEVEL OF ADVISING?

Yes, we have both a comprehensive package that is all inclusive and the start time varies, as well as hourly support. Please see our counseling page for additional information.

HOW EASY IS IT TO APPLY AS A TRANSFER?

Applying as a transfer student is not exactly easier than applying as a freshman, but the 2-year college your student attends should have college counseling and information to help with the process. It’s very important to be sure your student is taking all the right classes needed to transfer and also to think about what schools they would like to transfer to.

WHEN IS GOOD TIME TO START LOOKING AT COLLEGES?

Sophomore year is a good time to begin checking out colleges so you can have plenty of time to think it through. It’s helpful to explore websites and programs offered at various schools, and perhaps start by visiting colleges nearby first.

HOW DO I KNOW WHAT I NEED FOR A GOOD COLLEGE APPLICATION?

Explore the Internet! There are a myriad of ways to find out the best things for a college application.  Talk to your high school counselor. Attend a workshop that are offered at your high school, or at the California Learning Center.

Get on the California Learning Center email list to find out when we are offering workshops in navigating the college process.

HOW EASY IS TO GET SCHOLARSHIPS?

Apply, apply, apply! Scholarships are available to those who work hard and plan ahead. Making a calendar of when scholarships are due, having essays edited by a friend or a tutor, and exploring scholarships on the Internet are all things we can help you with.

The Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation is an excellent local resource and we can also help you with your scholarship applications!

HOW DO I KNOW IF I QUALIFY FOR FINANCIAL AID?

There are different types of financial aid. There are scholarships, grants, and loans (those need to be paid back!) In order to qualify for federal student aid, you need to go through a process to determine your basic eligibility criteria.

WHAT IF I WANT TO PLAY A SPORT IN COLLEGE?

Playing a sport in college can be a lot of fun, but sometimes it can be hard to balance sports and school. With effective time management skills, it is possible to be successful academically and an outstanding student athlete.

HOW MANY COLLEGES IS A GOOD NUMBER TO APPLY TO?

This number is on the rise, with the increasing level of difficulty getting into colleges these days. It is important to break down the selection of schools into 3 categories: 1- safety schools, 2-match schools, and 3- reach schools. That being said, students are applying to 8-12 schools, sometimes more, sometimes less, to help cover all those categories.