When we’re in high school, we’re consumed with getting good marks and growing up, probably not in that order. Marks are essential in high school and never more so than in Grade 12 when you are deciding whether to go to university, college, or neither.

In Grade 12, the average of your top six marks is sent to post-secondary schools to see if you qualify for their program academic cut-off. The competition to get into post-secondary programs is fierce in Canada, and the best schools have academic restrictions in the high 80s or 90s.

So how do we help secondary students do their absolute best academically and motivate them to pursue their dreams after high school? By giving them as much help as they need – both academically and with their mental health. How are the two related?

Students who do well in school believe they can accomplish their dreams. Their success in school is directly related to their internal motivation and confidence level.

In many instances, if you don’t believe you can do well, you won’t. So, what if your child is smart but is doing poorly in school and isn’t motivated or interested in doing better? Perhaps it’s because they believe they “can’t” do better. Hiring a tutor can change that mindset.

A private tutor will make your child work for their marks, teach them study skills that will help them learn better and faster, and show them that nothing is impossible.

When should you enlist the help of a tutor and supplemental instruction? In either of these two scenarios:

  • To improve your marks in high school to be able to pass.
  • To raise good marks to excellent marks to get into university/college.

So how do we get on top of this long process of improving our secondary school students’ marks and giving them academic success? The first step is picking your courses in Grade 12.

Doing Your Best in Grade 12 Doesn’t Mean You Have to Do It Alone!

Let’s start with what students need to graduate with your high school diploma. Here’s the breakdown for the province of Ontario. You must have 18 compulsory credits in the following subjects (see below), 12 optional courses, pass the provincial literacy requirement in Grade 9 as well as perform 40 hours of community service.

  • 4 credits in English (1 credit per grade)
  • 3 credits in mathematics (1 credit in Grade 11 or 12)
  • 2 credits in science
  • 1 credit in Canadian history
  • 1 credit in Canadian geography
  • 1 credit in the arts
  • 1 credit in health and physical education
  • 1 credit in French as a second language
  • 5 credit in career studies
  • 5 credit in civics

Plus, one credit from each of the following groups:

Group 1:

  • English or French as a second language**
  • a Native language
  • a classical or an international language
  • social sciences and the humanities
  • Canadian and world studies
  • guidance and career education
  • cooperative education

Group 2:

  • health and physical education
  • the arts
  • business studies
  • French as a second language
  • cooperative education

Group 3:

  • science (Grade 11 or 12)
  • technological education
  • French as a second language
  • computer studies
  • cooperative education

All this must be accomplished between Grade 9 and Grade 12.

Admission requirements to Ontario universities, by way of example, take the average of six Grade 12 courses (including all program pre-requisites) plus the Grade 12 English course (mandatory for all) and use that average to see if the applicant compares favourably with the rest of the program applicants.

If there is heavy competition to gain entry to the post-secondary program, they review the students’ Grade 11 marks to see if they have been stellar for the past two years of secondary school. It’s a stressful few years for most kids hoping to get into the university program of their choice.

How can we make it easier for them and give them what they need to excel?

Private tutors, whether they be home tutoring, learning centres, group tutoring, peer tutoring, or online tutoring. Being tutored has proven to be a reliable way to better students’ marks and give them the confidence they need to chase their academic dreams.

How Can Tutoring Help Students Reach Their Potential?

Find a tutor and gain the academic achievement you need to get into the university program of your choice.
Find a tutor and gain the academic achievement you need to get into the university program of your choice. Source: Visual Hunt

There are many different options when it comes to choosing the right tutor. Let’s look at math tutors, for example, as they are some of the most popular tutors in the world.

Grade 9 high school math is a big leap for most students. It’s not only the math content; students must also learn to adapt to high school teachers' hands-off approach.

Teachers are not hounding you for homework anymore or making sure you understand key concepts.

They teach quiz, test, and move on, section after section. Students must keep up or take responsibility to catch up.

Math also builds on earlier concepts, so the danger in every grade, is falling behind and not being able to learn new ideas successfully because you have not understood the previous lessons. This is especially apparent when students come to higher grades and start doing pre-algebra, algebra, calculus, and geometry.

How Do You Choose the Right Tutor in High School?

Look for experience and success.

You want a math tutor with the education certification that tells you they have completed the course with flying colours. It’s even better if they are a teacher in the school system themselves, or a post-secondary student who is specialising in that subject.

Let’s take a moment to talk about math tutoring online. It has exploded in the last few years, offers real benefits, and boasts some of the best tutors.

  1. There is no travel involved. Every lesson happens online, and all you need is a computer and an internet connection.
  2. The individualised lessons are typically at least 30% cheaper in Canada than one-on-one tutoring or a home tutor.
  3. By appointment, or as you need them, an online tutor is incredibly flexible and available to assist as needed. Some even offer rates by the minute.
  4. Websites like Superprof post references for their tutors. Read them! They will tell you who has the skillset, experience, and teaching talent to help you reach your potential.
  5. Online tutors make the global labour market your local tutors. You could learn French from a Parisian or yoga from a yogi in India.

Passing the Grade 9 Literacy Test and Doing Well in Mandatory Grade 12 English

Reading comprehension, writing skills, and essay writing are the pillars of any literacy course.
Reading comprehension, writing skills, and essay writing are the pillars of any literacy course. Source: Visual Hunt

At the end of the 1990s, universities and colleges in Ontario were dismayed to find that many of their incoming students had abysmal English literacy skills.

To address this issue, the province of Ontario instituted the Grade 9 Literacy test to make sure that every student currently enrolled in high school had minimum English proficiency. Passing this test is now a requirement to graduate.

As well, you must pass Grade 12 English to graduate from high school. Accomplishing this isn’t easy for everyone, especially students who speak English as a second language (ESL).
An English tutor or a writing tutor is recommended for students who struggle. They will assist with several skills: homework help, test preparation, reading comprehension, exam review, and standardised tests prep.

Individual Tutoring Will Help You Manage Your Stress Better in Grades 9-12

Private tutors give the academic support needed for student success. It’s an investment, as there is no free tutoring.
Private tutors give the academic support needed for student success. It’s an investment, as there is no free tutoring. Source: Visual Hunt

High school is a wonderful time of life. You make lasting friendships, grow from an awkward kid to a near-adult, and learn to take control of your education. It is also fraught with a fair bit of anxiety and pressure to perform well academically and earn grades that will ensure you pass or take you to college-level or university.

Adding private tuition to your school days to either improve your grades to passing or make them great for university entrance is always a good idea. Heck, if you are a talented student, you may even choose to become a tutor yourself. Peer tutors in high school are in high demand as they make great mentors to their younger peers. Or you could join a group tutoring agency or a tutoring centre as a part-time job.

You could also advertise your skillset on online tutoring services like Superprof and teach kids from around the world. It’s a great way to earn extra income, which comes in handy when you go away to school. And, it looks great on your resume and post-secondary school application. It’s a win-win!

The tutor jobs are out there. You create a profile, advertise your subject expertise, and why you would make a great tutor and then book your first client’s appointment. The barriers to entry are few (you don’t need to be a ‘certified tutor’), and the rewards are many!

Have a look at these articles if you are considering hiring a tutor in elementary school, university or college or you are wondering how to find a tutor at every academic stage. The sooner you add supplemental instruction to your school life, the sooner you'll soar.

Need teacher?

Enjoyed this article?

5.00/5 - 1 review(s)


I am a Freelance Writer from Toronto with two teenage boys who keep me laughing and perpetually learning.