Understanding Calculus – It Can Be Done
Varsity Tutors dedicates themselves to providing quality service to clients
By Caitlin Mckay, Staff Writer
As a high school student, Charles Cohn struggled to find a great tutor. Today, as the Founder and CEO of Varsity Tutors, he still struggles to find great tutors – but that might be because his standards are so high. Varsity Tutors began in 2007 while Cohn was a student at Washington University and from the start, the company has grown every year.
“There are a lot of tutoring companies but the reason we’ve grown so quickly is we are focused on constantly improving our business. I think that is one thing that doesn’t happen in the education business there isn’t this quest to constantly replicate quality,” Cohn says. “If you work on constantly improving your business, the end result will be much better than everything else but it’s not one change it is a 1000 incremental ones.”
And this company is dedicated to improvement and quality. Potential tutors are put through an intense three-step application process. It is the tutors that set Varsity apart from competitors. Cohn says that other nation-wide companies are too focused on sales and marketing and the actual service suffers. But Varsity’s dedication to their clients is what makes the company stand out.
“There are all sorts of tutoring companies but much of their resources end up being focused on things that don’t value the client,” he comments. “We interview thoroughly and we get to know them. We interview the students too so we can understand their learning style…the holes in their knowledge base and we select a tutor. It’s by no means random and we are very particular in who we select for a client. Part of the success depends on the client-tutor match.”
While Cohn doesn’t tutor himself (he’s preoccupied with managing the company which operates in nearly every major city in the United States and employs 1350 tutors), he says running a company that helps young people learn is gratifying. Varsity caters their curriculum to each individual client and offers private tutoring sessions in the client’s home. Cohn says this is how a student can achieve the best academic success.
“Private tutoring works. There are studies that show that students who get tutoring perform better. Private tutoring works because everything is individualized to the needs of the student,” he says. “When you can build a business around helping people it’s incredibly rewarding, the great thing about tutoring is you can see the impact you’re making.”
There are all sorts of tutoring companies but much of their resources end up being focused on things that don’t value the client
However, Cohn is quick to defend the public and private education system and doesn’t blame the current curriculum for students’ increasing need for tutoring.
“Sure, it’s partially the failures of the school system but one on one attention is always more effective. When a person can listen to your questions and personalize the teaching to your learning style, you’re going to learn more effectively,” he explains. “I think you’ll always find private tutoring more effective than class prep despite the best efforts of educators.”
At the time of this interview, Varsity Tutors was looking to hire 800 more tutors across the United States. The company hopes to continue to expand and reach out to even more students.
Interview with: Charles Cohn