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May 13, 2021

Summer Academy

Welcome to the Tutor Portland Summer Academy. The Summer Academy is a program which allows our members and new clients to enroll in private courses over the summer. For example, we offer courses such as Algebra 1 and Geometry. Your student will work privately with a tutor. With this one-on-one instruction, your student will move through the course material very rapidly. This is a great idea for students who are struggling with a subject or simply want to get ahead. For example, we offer families the ability to enroll in an Algebra 1 course over the summer as a way to prepare them for the next year. Imagine that. Picture having Algebra 1 in the fall, after already having taken the entire course in the summer! Of course you are going to do well in the course, likely even ace it. 

This strategy is actually something I used myself in my own learning. In college one year I had to study organic chemistry. Organic chemistry is widely considered to be the most difficult course offered to undergraduate students. I was a little worried about my ability to do well in the course because “o-chem” was so hyped. I really wanted to do well in the course. One day I happened to read through the course catalog at Portland State University. I discovered that they offered a rapid – full year of organic chemistry – over the summer months. It was divided into three terms, each four weeks in length. I told myself I was going to sit in on those lectures, learn some o-chem, and get a head start on next year. My goal was to sit through the entire course, to even take the exams if possible. I wanted to do the homework. I was going to simulate taking the course, to practice before the scores started to really count. 

I showed up in the summer and started taking o-chem. It went fast. But I started picking a lot of things up. For some reason, I was a bit busier than I had expected and so I didn’t quite live up to my entire goal. I didn’t complete the homework. I just showed up to class – which was about three hours per day – and took notes. I ended up learning an incredible amount from this. I knew what organic chemistry was about. I had a solid framework in my mind for exactly what we were going to study. It was like I had this giant picture of the material in my mind. 

The strategy worked very well for me. When fall rolled around – even though I hadn’t made it through the full three terms in the summer – I was very ready. I was so confident because I knew exactly what they were going to be teaching us that first term. I knew the direction we were headed. I knew about arrow pushing and electron movement. Other people had no idea this was coming. I remember sitting in class and looking all around me. They have no idea what we are about to learn, I thought. When the lectures started, some students began asking questions. I was quickly able to pick out which questions were irrelevant or lacked importance. Since these students didn’t know where the overall course was headed, they were getting bogged down in the details and asking questions about things that weren’t relevant to the core of the course.