Honors Educational Services

Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

Programs and Payments

SAT Preparation

We’re ready to hire a tutor. How do I get started?

What makes your company different?

There are many tutoring companies to choose from, and we appreciate your taking the time to look at Honors Educational Services. The most important difference is the level of personalization we offer. While we do provide exclusive manuals for our test prep programs that contain all the tips, tricks and strategies your student will need to succeed, we encourage our tutors to vary their instruction and methods to ensure students understand the material. No two students learn the same material in the same way; we don’t ignore that fact or blame the student, we change how we teach to accommodate.

Additionally, we hire our tutors not based on scores and numbers, but based on how they teach. While high GPAs and test scores are admirable, and certifications give insight into training, the smartest people in the world – and even the best educated – are not always the best tutors. We hire our tutors not just for their brains, but for their personalities. It’s important that your tutor be able to convey the information they know; it’s just as important that your child trusts his or her tutor and that they get along.

We are not corporately-owned, and we weren’t started to chase the market. We are a small, family-run company founded with the intention to help as many students as possible, and we truly care about each and every one of them.

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How do your programs work? What are the basics?

We provide one-on-one tutoring, in your home or the location of your choosing. There are no set hours you need to purchase or any additional fees. We make every effort to truly personalize the instruction so that your child gets the most out of each tutoring session. We work with the student’s textbooks and notes for Academic tutoring, providing additional materials as required, and we provide the resources, practice tests, and all other materials for ISEE and SAT preparation. You choose the level of tutor you prefer and the Program/Payment plan you’d like to use. Pay as you go, stop when you’re done.

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How do you choose your tutors?

Our tutors must first meet minimum academic criteria in order to be considered, then undergo a series of interviews and a full background check. For specifics, please click here.

Our tutors are all required to have outside tutoring experience before they will even be considered. Most of our tutors have extensive experience; many have certified teaching degrees. Our Top Tier Tutors are more experienced and have proven track records of student score increases. Our Honors Level Tutors are our most experienced. In order to be considered for Honors Level Tutoring, the tutor must have demonstrated strong score increases and received multiple positive evaluations specifically from Honors Educational Services clients.

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I’ve seen tutors advertised on craigslist. Why should I choose a company?

Weeding through résumés, conducting interviews, and performing background checks are time-consuming and potentially costly tasks with still no assurance that the person you’re looking to hire knows how to teach what they know. As a company, we do the hard work for you, while also providing our tutors with resources and assistance. Tutors, in addition, occasionally get sick, take vacations, or have family emergencies. If your tutor does not work out for any reason, or you simply need last-minute help that your chosen tutor is unavailable to provide, we will be happy to switch you to another member of our team as quickly as possible.

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I’m not sure I’m comfortable allowing a stranger into my home to work one-on-one with my child.

You’re right to be concerned – you’re allowing someone not just into your home, but into your child’s life. We screen and interview every tutor we work with to ensure to the best of our ability their safety, their trustworthiness, and their ability to help your child. We provide a background check on every tutor we work with, and all tutors must submit a Live Scan fingerprint/background check before they will be allowed to meet with students in person.

Additionally, our tutors sign a contract that they will only meet in public areas of the home, like a kitchen or living room, or public locations, such as a library. For the safety and reputation of both student and tutor, tutors are not allowed to meet with students in the student’s bedroom. We also ask a parent or guardian to be present in the home at all times during tutoring sessions, and you are welcome to sit in on sessions if it makes you more comfortable (though please see below as to why this might not be a good idea for every session.)

Still nervous? We don’t have to meet in your home. When you sign up, you designate a Tutoring Location – that’s usually your own home, but it can be a grandparent’s home, your office, or the local Starbucks. You choose where to meet, and we’ll gladly accommodate. You might also consider meeting exclusively online via Zoom or other platforms. Nothing is more important than your feeling that your child is safe.

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Can I sit in on tutoring sessions?

Absolutely. Many parents like to sit in on the first or last few minutes of a session, or the entire session for a first appointment. For College Consultations, parents are necessary participants. We do encourage you, however, as you begin to feel more comfortable with your tutor, that you allow the tutor and child to work undisturbed. Rapport between tutor and students is far more significant to their learning than most people realize, and having Mom or Dad monitoring the process can make students feel they are being micro-managed. Please feel free to ask your tutor or call our office if you ever have any questions, concerns or elements you’d like to discuss.

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Our house is always chaos! Can we meet somewhere other than our home?

Of course! You decide on the Tutoring Location when you sign up. It can be another parent’s house, a grandparent’s house, a library, a coffee shop… We only ask that it be a public location or have a public area as we do not allow our tutors to meet in bedrooms or the like, and that you use the same location for every session.

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Do you have experience with learning disabled students? Home school students? Older students?

We have experience with students of all ages and in all areas. Most of our tutors have enough experience with mild learning disabilities such as ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, high-functioning Autism, or other cognitive issues that it should be no problem to match you to someone appropriate. We do ask that you inform us in advance, however, both to ensure a good tutor match and because our approach and strategies will be different for each student’s needs.

More severe forms of the disabilities above or other learning differences may require someone with more training. We do have tutors available with experience in these areas, but their availability can be more limited; please call us to discuss your needs.

We serve home school students from basic tutoring in subjects they are struggling with (often through an online course or community college), to full-time teaching in private home-based schools, to curriculum design. We welcome home school students and any questions you may have if you’re preparing to keep your child at home.

From helping traditional college students to older individuals returning to school, we have tutors with college-level and professional experience. Because college courses are more extensive and more specific, tutoring is not always available in all areas; please contact us to discuss your requirements.

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What if I need to cancel an appointment?

Please give your tutor as much advance notice as possible. Changes and cancellations made more than 24 hours before your next appointment are never a problem. Changes made with less than 24 hours' notice will be subject to a one-hour cancellation fee.

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What if my child and our tutor don’t work well together?

Not a problem. If you are unhappy with your tutor or need to switch to someone else, you may request a different tutor at any time. If no tutor is available in your area of need, we will do our best to find a solution that will ensure your child’s success and your happiness with our services.

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My child is involved in multiple extracurricular activities. How can we fit in tutoring?

We do our best to work around students’ busy schedules. Our tutors work afternoons, evenings, weekends, and school holidays. You may keep a standing appointment with your tutor every week, or set your next appointment each session, whichever is easier for you to arrange according to your schedule and for which your tutor is available.

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What locations do you currently serve?

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all our tutoring has currently moved online. Our tutors are continuing to provide full programs and services via online platforms, and practice tests and materials are still available via pdf or postal mail.

Our main locations for in-person tutoring include the greater Los Angeles, CA area, including Beverly Hills, Pasadena, and Sherman Oaks, and the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, including Cary, Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest. We also have tutors available in Chicago, New York, and other cities. Once in-person tutoring resumes, we hope to update our list more thoroughly, and if you don't see your city listed, please contact us. We often add new tutors to our roster, enabling a greater service area.

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Are you a franchise?

No. We are a privately-run company with hands-on involvement in every student’s progress. Our owner and founder personally oversees and evaluates every student, regardless of location or subject, to ensure that his or her needs are being met.

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Do you offer any discounts for students that need lots of help or families with multiple children, or financial aid?

If you have a child that needs tutoring multiple times a week, or if you have multiple children, the costs can definitely add up. We offer a 10% discount on Block Payments (10-hours paid in advance) that can be used for one child or multiple children, and we frequently offer other specials on larger blocks. Subscribe to our mailing list to be notified of our specials and promotions!

Unfortunately, we do not have the resources at this time to offer aid to families in need other than the discounts above. We do encourage you to contact us for a free diagnostic test – we will grade it, score it, and explain what those scores mean in terms of the preparation your child might need at no charge and with no further obligation.

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How do Block Payments work?

Block Payments grant a 10% discount to families that pay for 10 hours in advance. Simply multiply your hourly rate by 10, subtract 10%, and send payment in advance of your next tutoring sessions.

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What is Remote Tutoring?

We offer Remote Tutoring for students anywhere in the world via Zoom, Skype, Google Docs, or other online platforms. Tutors have access to whiteboards for teaching, and students and teachers can share screens to facilitate learning. Remote Tutoring is available in all subjects and areas, including SAT Preparation, and is particularly well-suited for college applications and essays for co-working on a document. If you are interested in Customized Small Group Classes, these can also be arranged via Zoom, including breakout rooms for student discussion.

For current students with active accounts who have a short question or tricky homework problem, Remote Tutoring is offered FREE of cancellation fees! Simply make arrangements directly with your tutor to pick a time to chat.

Please contact the office to enroll in Remote Tutoring for SAT/ACT/HSPT/ISEE Test Preparation, Academic Tutoring or College Guidance programs. Necessary materials for a program will be emailed or sent via postal mail at no additional charge. All Remote Tutoring is billed in 15-minute increments, and is not subject to the one-hour minimum of other programs, though 1-2 hour appointments are encouraged for all test preparation programs.

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What payment methods do you accept?

We accept cash, checks, and payment by all major credit cards or from your checking account via PayPal. If you’d like to pay for your sessions by cash, we will provide you with envelopes to give to your tutor to ensure we receive your full payment. We do ask one hour’s deposit or a credit card number on file to open your account. Invoices will be sent by email; please inform us if you would prefer postal mail.

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May I pay by the session, or do I have to keep an open account?

You always have the option of paying session to session. Here’s how that might work: You send us one hour’s payment to open your account and book your first appointment. Your tutor stays for one hour. Per your request, we use the deposit you’ve already supplied to pay for this service. You have no further obligation to Honors Educational Services and owe no further payment.

If we have a credit card number on file, your account is considered open. Please inform us if you would like to close your account and we will delete your information from our files.

If you anticipate using our services on a more regular basis but do not want a card number on file, you are welcome to leave your one hour prepaid deposit in your account so that you may book sessions directly with your tutor. We will email you an invoice after each subsequent tutoring session, and payments can be made via cash, check or Paypal. When you decide you no longer need our services, your deposit will be refunded to you or used as a final payment.

In short, session to session appointments require prepayment. Open accounts (secured with a one hour refundable deposit or a credit card number on file) will be billed after services are rendered.

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What is included in a College Consultation or College Guidance Program?

A College Consultation is a one-hour session directly with our founder, a member of the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC), to guide you in your college application process. We’ll go over test scores from any official tests or pre-tests that you’ve taken, look at your transcripts, and start compiling a list of universities that you might want to consider. We’ll also discuss the differences between the various tests you need and come up with a plan for when to take them. While tutoring preparation may be discussed, no attempt will be made to sell you on our tutoring services and there is no obligation to enroll. The College Guidance Program (of which the Consultation is the first step) is separate from our tutoring services and intended to help families on the often confusing and exhausting college application process. We recommend a College Consultation no later than the first semester of Junior Year.

The College Guidance Program picks up where the Consultation leaves off. The College Guidance Program helps you navigate the college application process from start to finish, helping you select schools to apply to, guiding you in your test choices and helping you plan test preparation, compiling and helping you implement an organizational plan for your applications and due dates, and most importantly helping you with the applications themselves, including essays, short answers, supplements, and your resume. We'll discuss potential majors, personal priorities, scheduling campus tours, and how to build your high school career towards a solid college future. Not all tutors are qualified to offer College Guidance; most students choose to pursue a full College Guidance Program directly with our founder. If you'd like to pursue a full College Guidance Program, we recommend beginning as soon as possible so we can utilize your time in high school to its fullest.

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Do you help with college application essays?

Yes! While we recommend a more complete guidance program to help ensure finding the right school for you, if you only need assistance with the essays themselves, we're here to help! Our founder is a member of the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC), and college essays are her favorite assignment. Many of our tutors also have extensive experience. You do NOT need to enroll in a full College Guidance program to get essay assistance, and you don’t need to live local to our tutors, since it’s often most efficient to work together over a Google Doc. Whether you’re unsure how to begin, or need a fresh set of eyes to edit and polish, please contact us as early as possible in the process.

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What is included in your ISEE/HSPT Programs?

Our high school entrance exam programs provide students with all the materials they’ll need to become familiar with the test and increase their score. We provide a manual with tips, tricks and techniques for conquering all facets of the test they will be taking, from analogies and passages to grammar and math skills, including quantitative comparisons. We also include homework sheets, vocabulary lists, practice sections, and full-length practice tests, as well as essay work for students taking the ISEE or who would like help on their applications.

We recommend beginning test prep no later than early fall of a student’s 8th grade year to ensure time to learn the material and practice the strategies. Most high school entrance exams are taken throughout the month of January, but please inform us if you have signed up for an earlier test date so we can schedule accordingly.

To request a FREE diagnostic test, please email us.

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What is included in your SAT Preparation?

Start your SAT Preparation with a no obligation practice test. This is a full-length diagnostic test that we will send you free of charge, score, and discuss the results with you to help you better understand your child’s potential SAT pitfalls. Once you start SAT Preparation with us, your tutor will provide you with all the materials you need, including our exclusive SAT Manual containing all the tips, tricks, techniques, strategies and review that you’ll need to succeed in all three areas: Math, Critical Reading, and Writing. Also included in your hourly or group rate are as many practice sections and full-length practice tests as you need. We also offer several proctored diagnostic tests throughout the school year at no additional charge, so that your child can practice taking the test under real-life conditions.

We allow your time, your budget, and your child’s motivation and needs to dictate your program. We do not require a set number of sessions, tutoring in all subject areas, or a specified time limit for test preparation. We do, however, encourage you to avail of all that we can offer in order to get the best results out of your child. If you choose to do complete SAT Preparation with us, we recommend that you budget an absolute minimum of 25 hours of instruction simply to get through the material, plus additional time for fine-tuning and implementing what your child has learned. Our tutors will always do their best to move at a pace that completes the meat of the program as quickly as possible to ensure time to apply your child’s new skills; please trust our tutors’ expertise and recommendations to help your child achieve his or her highest score.

To request a FREE diagnostic test, please email us.

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My child gets good grades. Why do we need SAT Tutoring?

The SAT isn’t about grades, intelligence, or knowledge. The SAT tests very specific concepts in ways contrary to what many children are used to in school. More often than not, frankly, the high-level students enrolled in multiple AP classes are the students most baffled by their unexpectedly low SAT scores. Knowing what’s really being tested (it’s not your Math skills, for example, despite the Math questions) is the first step in approaching the questions properly. There are also numerous tricks, techniques, and strategies to use, and pitfalls into which even the smartest students fall. Whether you use Honors Educational Services, a freelance tutor, or borrow a book from the library to work on your own, we honestly do recommend that every child taking the SAT learn these basics before test day.

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Do you offer classes?

We do not offer traditional SAT classes for one main reason: they generally don’t work. Because students of all Academic levels are mixed into one classroom, those that need the most help get left behind, while those that need mainly detail work get almost no benefit at all. Targeting an individual’s specific strengths and weaknesses is impossible in a group setting, so all that is taught are a few basic test-taking skills. While these can be beneficial, even raising scores slightly, students rarely achieve their full potential from a classroom setting.

We recognize, however, that individual tutoring can be cost-prohibitive, so we do offer Customized Small Groups as a more budget-friendly compromise. In a Customized Small Group Program, you arrange the group and pick the tutoring location – ideally, the group you arrange is composed of students with similar skill levels and academic backgrounds, and generally limited to no more than 6 students. Instruction that is essential for all (review of concepts, essay information, etc.) is provided in the group setting at a discounted rate, while a set number of additional individual appointments are scheduled for each student in order to target each child’s specific weaknesses. Any child in a Small Group Program who desires additional tutoring outside the prearranged number of individual sessions is welcome to continue one-on-one sessions at the normal hourly rate. Pricing for Customized Small Group Programs varies based on number of students, number of individual appointments requested, and type of tutor available. Please call us to set up a program.

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How long are the tutoring sessions?

We recommend students enrolled in an SAT Program to leave 2 hours available for each session, and students in ISEE/HSPT programs to leave 1.5-2 hrs available per session. For all students regardless of program, sessions are charged at an hourly rate, with a one-hour minimum, and additional time is charged in 15-minute increments. You will only be charged for the time that is actually used, not the time allotted for the session.

We generally recommend one-hour sessions for Academic students, though some families prefer not to have a time limit in order to complete the homework or make sure the lesson is fully understood. If you would prefer your tutor stay until the lesson is learned, please let both us and your tutor know your preference so that the tutor may schedule their day accordingly.

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When should I start preparing?

The best time to begin preparing for the SAT is the summer before your Junior year. This enables the student to learn the majority of the knowledge-based material separately from classwork, stress-free, and allows for a more leisurely pace once the school year begins with time off for vacations or midterms. It may sound like a long time to prepare, but keep in mind all that is covered on the test: approximately 4 years’ worth of Math review, much of it unseen since grade school, Reading Comprehension and associated skills, and practically the entire English language as tested through grammar rules, revising passages, and essay-writing.

If your Junior year has already begun, you do still have plenty of time, but the earlier the better for the same reasons stated above. We recommend an absolute minimum of 25 hours of instruction simply to get through the material, and most students tend to utilize 40 hours or more to complete the full program. For this reason, we highly recommended beginning your instruction at least 3 to 4 months before your expected test date.

If your test is coming up in less than 4 months, it is still possible to get through the material, but it will take a tremendous time commitment, including meeting more than once a week.

If your test date is imminent and you simply want a crash course in the basics, we will be happy to help you as best we can. Please choose which aspects of the test you would like us to focus on (Essay, for example, or Major Pitfalls) as it will not be possible to teach everything you will need to know in such a short time.

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SAT is a registered trademark of College Board, and has no affiliation with Honors Educational Services.

Do you offer a score increase guarantee?

We don’t offer a specific score increase guarantee for two reasons. The first is that every student is starting from a different level. A student with a starting Math score of 700 may have a much harder time gaining 30 points than a student starting at 400 will have at gaining 130 – or vice versa. The SAT itself is graded by range, not by exact scores, so even on the actual test a student with no preparation at all will see their score vary by as much as 30 points just between test dates.

The second reason we don’t guarantee a score increase is because every student gets out of the program what they put into it. We have had students increase 350 points on just one section, 900 points on the whole test, but that takes a tremendous commitment and effort that not all students are willing to put in. We find that getting into a game of “he said, she said” with tutor and client distracts from the common goal of ensuring the student is well-prepared to achieve their highest possible score.

While we do not have a specific score increase guarantee, we do stand behind our tutors and our methods. If you’re not happy, we will do our best to remedy the situation, whether through additional tutoring hours, upgrading to a higher level tutor, or another solution. We treat every student on a case-by-case basis. However, we will confidently state this: We have never had a student that put in the time, effort and work to complete the program that did not see their scores go up.

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We’re ready to hire a tutor. How do I get started?

To get started, you’ll need an account with us. To open an account, we require either a credit card number on file or payment for your first hour of tutoring received in advance. You may pay by credit card or checking account via Paypal, mail a check to our offices at Honors Educational Services or call us with your credit card information. You do not need to open a Paypal account to make a payment. Simply click here.

If you’d like to pay by Block Payments you do not need an additional hour’s deposit to open an account. Simply send payment via mail or PayPal for your 10-hour block and you’re all set!

All pre-paid deposits are fully refundable should you decide not to avail of our tutoring services. Initial deposits may be used towards session payment, or may be held in the account to keep it open for future appointments. Should you cancel an appointment with less than 24 hours' notice, you will be charged for one hour of tutoring. This charge will be taken from your deposit or charged to the card on file unless you request alternative arrangements.