Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

PhiloLogicGames
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby PhiloLogicGames » Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:43 pm

When you level with your students, you complete two goals, LSATWIZ:

1. You don't piss off God/accumulate any bad karma.
2. You save your student a lifetime of debt.

If you aren't cynical about it when you level with them, there's a bonus goal completion:

BONUS: Your student is motivated.

Like you, I've seen my students climb from the high 130s to the low 170s. I tell my starry-eyed students this, "You know, there are other schools besides Harvard and Yale. Actually, it's likely that one of these 'other' schools will give you money to attend--provided you reach the numbers you're shooting for."

We then commence a discussion titled What's The Point of Going To Law School If It's Not HYS Or T14? I used to counter with the question, "what's the point of going to law school only to incur more debt? Because that's what those schools are: debt." Now I direct them here.

After they see the numbers in black and white you say, "Of course, this only applies if you're not willing to work your damn balls/ovaries off." Then it's up to them. They either do it. Or they don't.

Most of them do it.

Meditate.

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LSATWIZ
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby LSATWIZ » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:30 pm

naterj wrote:Your job is only to teach them the skills necessary to do well on the LSAT, you're not an admissions counselor. If they have specific questions about admissions/chances send them here or to LSN. If they have specific questions about their potential point increases be honest about the work and time that is needed to see those increases. Most students will be realistic about their chances and those who are not can take their business elsewhere if they don't appreciate your honesty.

I am always pissed as anything when students even find out this website exists. While this site is fairly realistic and the people that frequent it are all smart and have better intentions than the people you'd find on most random websites, I think it would be horribly counterproductive for people scoring below a 160. It's like a fat girl losing 10 points and feeling great walking onto an exclusive beach in Malibu (I haven't been to Malibu, but picture it like I implied it to be for the sake of the analogy). I think this site would be counterproductive for most people, and while going to a t-1 greatly increases your chances at big law, you don't have to go to a t-1 to be a good lawyer. Some people are just really cool socially, great at debating, very persistent, etc. Where I feel bad are those passive people with a 3.0 GPA starting in the 130s hoping for a top-10. Asking me if I think they're 170 caliber, and my replying that they have a lot of work to do is not the same as saying what the fact of the situation probably is. I normally like having them take practice tests so they can see that by bringing them from a 130 to a 150 we did a great job, not see it as "oh, you guys suck I'm in a tier 4."

Another thing I've noticed tutoring and this is off topic, but this shows you how out of whack UG grading is and why the LSAT absolutely should not lose importance:

I have tutored multiple students from the same university. 4 all were from rich families, did not seem to work very hard and were all very well dressed and professional looking. They all had GPAs of a 3.9 or better. Their LSAT? All started ranging between a 128 and a 142.

Today, I tutored one kid from the same school. He has earrings and tattoos, is not from a rich family and dresses somewhat ghetto. His GPA is sub-3, though he said he studies a lot and is extremely intelligent. His starting score is in the 160s, and he naturally connects dots and picks apart assumptions. How this dude has a GPA of a full number less in the same major as someone who can barely read English is an absolute joke, I am sorry.

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romothesavior
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby romothesavior » Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:08 pm

LSATWIZ wrote:Today, I tutored one kid from the same school. He has earrings and tattoos, is not from a rich family and dresses somewhat ghetto. His GPA is sub-3, though he said he studies a lot and is extremely intelligent. His starting score is in the 160s, and he naturally connects dots and picks apart assumptions. How this dude has a GPA of a full number less in the same major as someone who can barely read English is an absolute joke, I am sorry.

Dude, don't talk about Waterman like that.

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AreJay711
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby AreJay711 » Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:29 pm

LSATWIZ wrote:Another thing I've noticed tutoring and this is off topic, but this shows you how out of whack UG grading is and why the LSAT absolutely should not lose importance:

I have tutored multiple students from the same university. 4 all were from rich families, did not seem to work very hard and were all very well dressed and professional looking. They all had GPAs of a 3.9 or better. Their LSAT? All started ranging between a 128 and a 142.

Today, I tutored one kid from the same school. He has earrings and tattoos, is not from a rich family and dresses somewhat ghetto. His GPA is sub-3, though he said he studies a lot and is extremely intelligent. His starting score is in the 160s, and he naturally connects dots and picks apart assumptions. How this dude has a GPA of a full number less in the same major as someone who can barely read English is an absolute joke, I am sorry.


I think the LSAT and GPA measure different things. Though in my major I have regularly had to use reasoning and analytic skills, some disciplines are more about memorization or BSing abilities which are not tested on the LSAT.

In regard to your original post, I understand your issue but you don't want to dissuade that one person who does do well enough to get into Yale that started with a 13X. Even thought few will make the jump, they might get into a significantly better school than they otherwise would have after adjusting their expectations.

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Jack Smirks
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby Jack Smirks » Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:40 pm

LSATWIZ wrote:Another thing I've noticed tutoring and this is off topic, but this shows you how out of whack UG grading is and why the LSAT absolutely should not lose importance:

I have tutored multiple students from the same university. 4 all were from rich families, did not seem to work very hard and were all very well dressed and professional looking. They all had GPAs of a 3.9 or better. Their LSAT? All started ranging between a 128 and a 142.

Today, I tutored one kid from the same school. He has earrings and tattoos, is not from a rich family and dresses somewhat ghetto. His GPA is sub-3, though he said he studies a lot and is extremely intelligent. His starting score is in the 160s, and he naturally connects dots and picks apart assumptions. How this dude has a GPA of a full number less in the same major as someone who can barely read English is an absolute joke, I am sorry.

I'm not even sure what point you're trying to make here.

kyatto
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby kyatto » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:22 am

^ The superior social skills and confidence which tend to come with growing up rich can mask a great deal of mediocrity in one's undergrad performance. LSATWIZ is saying that he feels the LSAT is important because unlike the undergrad classroom experience, the utter lack of soft-/people-skills in writing the LSAT prevents this set of people from finagling a score or indicator which indicates a level of aptitude they do not actually possess.

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LSATWIZ
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby LSATWIZ » Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:12 pm

Not even that, but that is one element of it. Of course, social skills are important - at the end of the day law schools want to breed successful people. I'm talking more superficially: when you see a polished well dressed kid, and weigh that vs. a kid who dresses in rags and shows off tattoos and piercings, the former is graded more favorably. When you deal with old school professors who grade subjectively, you might say that academic performance might take a backseat to personal conviction.

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mr_toad
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby mr_toad » Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:17 pm

That's making a lot of assumptions about how grading is done. You also don't know how hard those other people are working, whether or not they might 'get' content/skills in their area, thus getting good grades, but not do well at the LSAT. I have friends who I consider every bit as smart as me and they, with studying, can barely get above a 150, whereas I'll take a PT hungover without a shower and get way, way higher than that. Many universities encourage blind grading systems, which would mitigate that problem as well. And the last bit about subjective grading, well, sure. But some things allow for subjective grading and others don't, or at least much less so. If someone gets their math right, it's hard to fault them. An unpolished essay filled with brilliant ideas is still an unpolished essay, and the grading of that will inherently be somewhat subjective. Sorry this lost focus, but many posts in this thread have had this issue, too.

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bk1
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby bk1 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:28 pm

And this is why I don't like doing LSAT tutoring.

It's like being a used car salesman. Not everyone can afford the reliable Toyota with barely any miles on it. Some people can only afford crap no matter how far you stretch their money. So either you turn them away or stretch their money to get the Pinto that is still going to break tomorrow. If you can't live with either of those choices, you're in the wrong line of work.

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LSATWIZ
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby LSATWIZ » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:24 pm

mr_toad wrote:That's making a lot of assumptions about how grading is done. You also don't know how hard those other people are working, whether or not they might 'get' content/skills in their area, thus getting good grades, but not do well at the LSAT. I have friends who I consider every bit as smart as me and they, with studying, can barely get above a 150, whereas I'll take a PT hungover without a shower and get way, way higher than that. Many universities encourage blind grading systems, which would mitigate that problem as well. And the last bit about subjective grading, well, sure. But some things allow for subjective grading and others don't, or at least much less so. If someone gets their math right, it's hard to fault them. An unpolished essay filled with brilliant ideas is still an unpolished essay, and the grading of that will inherently be somewhat subjective. Sorry this lost focus, but many posts in this thread have had this issue, too.

A blind grading system might not be fair, because it would favor certain majors. I did not learn anything about logic my entire life. The first practice test I took I scored around a 160. Two weeks in when I learned only the most basic of logical concepts, and what arguments are composed of, I was in the 170s. If it was blind, I might have been rated the same as someone I was clearly more skilled than because they had exposure to logic where as I did not.

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LSATWIZ
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby LSATWIZ » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:26 pm

bk1 wrote:And this is why I don't like doing LSAT tutoring.

It's like being a used car salesman. Not everyone can afford the reliable Toyota with barely any miles on it. Some people can only afford crap no matter how far you stretch their money. So either you turn them away or stretch their money to get the Pinto that is still going to break tomorrow. If you can't live with either of those choices, you're in the wrong line of work.

Or you provide tutoring that is superior, but don't let economics dictate the price so you can reach a forgotten about demographic. It is not where you see yourself in 10 years, and you legitimately want to help people while being compensated a fair amount that's more than enough to live on.

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bk1
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby bk1 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:31 pm

LSATWIZ wrote:
bk1 wrote:And this is why I don't like doing LSAT tutoring.

It's like being a used car salesman. Not everyone can afford the reliable Toyota with barely any miles on it. Some people can only afford crap no matter how far you stretch their money. So either you turn them away or stretch their money to get the Pinto that is still going to break tomorrow. If you can't live with either of those choices, you're in the wrong line of work.

Or you provide tutoring that is superior, but don't let economics dictate the price so you can reach a forgotten about demographic. It is not where you see yourself in 10 years, and you legitimately want to help people while being compensated a fair amount that's more than enough to live on.

Those things are tangential to the ethical dilemma you will inevitably face and have to be okay with one of the two options I mentioned above.

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mr_toad
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby mr_toad » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:33 pm

I like you and I think it's good we're having this talk, but I have no idea what you're talking about in response to my post. A blind grading system has to do with GPA, not LSAT. It implies that professors grade papers/tests etc. that are coded by a numbering system that will be resolved at a level to which they do not have access. I'm trying to figure out how you could get from what I wrote to what you wrote, but I'm lost.

LSATWIZ wrote:
mr_toad wrote:That's making a lot of assumptions about how grading is done. You also don't know how hard those other people are working, whether or not they might 'get' content/skills in their area, thus getting good grades, but not do well at the LSAT. I have friends who I consider every bit as smart as me and they, with studying, can barely get above a 150, whereas I'll take a PT hungover without a shower and get way, way higher than that. Many universities encourage blind grading systems, which would mitigate that problem as well. And the last bit about subjective grading, well, sure. But some things allow for subjective grading and others don't, or at least much less so. If someone gets their math right, it's hard to fault them. An unpolished essay filled with brilliant ideas is still an unpolished essay, and the grading of that will inherently be somewhat subjective. Sorry this lost focus, but many posts in this thread have had this issue, too.

A blind grading system might not be fair, because it would favor certain majors. I did not learn anything about logic my entire life. The first practice test I took I scored around a 160. Two weeks in when I learned only the most basic of logical concepts, and what arguments are composed of, I was in the 170s. If it was blind, I might have been rated the same as someone I was clearly more skilled than because they had exposure to logic where as I did not.

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LSATWIZ
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby LSATWIZ » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:35 pm

bk1 wrote:
LSATWIZ wrote:
bk1 wrote:And this is why I don't like doing LSAT tutoring.

It's like being a used car salesman. Not everyone can afford the reliable Toyota with barely any miles on it. Some people can only afford crap no matter how far you stretch their money. So either you turn them away or stretch their money to get the Pinto that is still going to break tomorrow. If you can't live with either of those choices, you're in the wrong line of work.

Or you provide tutoring that is superior, but don't let economics dictate the price so you can reach a forgotten about demographic. It is not where you see yourself in 10 years, and you legitimately want to help people while being compensated a fair amount that's more than enough to live on.

Those things are tangential to the ethical dilemma you will inevitably face and have to be okay with one of the two options I mentioned above.

I don't see why. If I make XXX amount of money instead of making the slightly larger YYY amount, but get a chance to actively combat the same system I competed against that basically says if you're poor and especially if you're poor and white, you get no help from anyone and are inferior to rich kids, I would call myself a lucky man.

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lovejopd
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby lovejopd » Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:57 pm

LSATWIZ wrote:Anybody who has tutored or worked in any service industry has come across many different personality types - the realist, the dreamer, etc.

A recurring problem I have found in LSAT tutoring is the unrealistic dreamer. While I have personally seen people improve by as many as 30 people, I have also seen many people who have started at a 130 or at roughly 25% correct across the test with a sub-par GPA say that their goal, and what they are expecting from us is to get them into Harvard, UVA, NYU, etc. They have such a confidence that these schools are a foregone conclusion, that one feels bad telling them that the reality is they will have to spend over a year studying to even have a chance due to a bad GPA and their profound disfluency with the material.

There is a certain amount of guilt because while you know you can help them improve 20 points, there is a 99% chance they'll never be satisfied. Still, telling them is risky too because they might lose their motivation to study altogether. Professionally, you might lose the business. We try to say things like "law schools look at a variety of factors so even if you get a 170, you likely may not get in. Let's just focus on your score." The truth is I have found most people I have met with a 3.8 or 3.9 GPA even if they start at a 130, have the raw intelligence to with enough time break a 160. However, people who have a 3.0 or below and speak English as a second language do not always see things realistically.

It's a big No No I think. Realistic thinking has nothing to do with English as a second language. Please stop blaming students whose English is not mother tongue. Why do you teach those guys even though you do not expect a big jump due to the inability to understand the concept as Americans do? There are plenty of American guys out there who start with 130 even though they are born and raised in the States as you said. I would not expect my tutors to have such a negative perspective on foreigners/immigrants. Pretty pissed off. Period

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bk1
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby bk1 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:03 pm

LSATWIZ wrote:
bk1 wrote:
LSATWIZ wrote:
bk1 wrote:And this is why I don't like doing LSAT tutoring.

It's like being a used car salesman. Not everyone can afford the reliable Toyota with barely any miles on it. Some people can only afford crap no matter how far you stretch their money. So either you turn them away or stretch their money to get the Pinto that is still going to break tomorrow. If you can't live with either of those choices, you're in the wrong line of work.

Or you provide tutoring that is superior, but don't let economics dictate the price so you can reach a forgotten about demographic. It is not where you see yourself in 10 years, and you legitimately want to help people while being compensated a fair amount that's more than enough to live on.

Those things are tangential to the ethical dilemma you will inevitably face and have to be okay with one of the two options I mentioned above.

I don't see why. If I make XXX amount of money instead of making the slightly larger YYY amount, but get a chance to actively combat the same system I competed against that basically says if you're poor and especially if you're poor and white, you get no help from anyone and are inferior to rich kids, I would call myself a lucky man.


We seem to be arguing past each other.

My point was that you either stay quiet about reality and let your student apply with the best possible LSAT you can give them or you give them that best possible LSAT and tell them that they are almost assuredly out of where they want to go even with their best.

You seem to take the latter approach as that is what you feel is ethically obligated. My point is that if you can't live with either of these approaches, you shouldn't be an LSAT tutor.

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LSATWIZ
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby LSATWIZ » Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:51 pm

Bringing me back to my starting point of uncertainty and guilt, I have personally tutored between 200 and 300 for the LSAT. One student I am working with now has a 2.6 GPA including about a 3.7 at a community college and 2.0 at a state school the 3.7 enabled them to transfer into. I fear admission officers are looking into that as when they competed against somewhat average competition, the grades fell apart. Additionally, this student has their heart set on one of the elite t-10 schools with a median GPA at around a 3.8 (1.2 over their GPA).

In this, a 180 would still likely not be enough to get in there and from everyone I have tutored, this individual has the lowest starting point - they have not taken a full test, but in my experience I'd imagine they are starting at around a 128 or so. Concepts such as if A must be before B, therefore A cannot be last make little sense to the student.

The student claims to be studying day and night, but has been unable to find time to complete even one test over the past few weeks. I am normally not a stickler, but the student speaks about the t-10 like it's a foregone conclusion. "When I move in, etc." The fact is from my lessons alone and with a little work on the student's part, I know if I pre-planned the hell out of my lessons to fit the student's thinking patterns, I could probably get him up the 22 points to a 150. That said, where is a 2.6 and 150 going to get the student? Additionally, because the student does not take full exams, they will not know they are starting at roughly the 1st or 2nd percentile.

The student only wants to be a lawyer, and I do not want to influence their dream. That's the opposite of my job, but realistically I do not sense a very bright future because even if I do get this student into any law school which will be no easy job, they will be taking full loans to go to a t-4.

I believe I can help this student better than any tutor, and because I offer very fair rates and really care about my students, I am not putting him in extreme debt to do so (they are not from great means). However, there is no way to bring a 2.6/128 or so into this top 10 school, and if they wind up at Cooley, they likely will think I am a terrible tutor even though they would have improved tremendously with not that much out of class work. I basically think if there was going to be an LSAT tutor, I'd be the best for the part, but I am not so sure there should be an LSAT tutor. I am very patient and have tutored many subjects, even tutoring the developmentally disabled and I know some of these people would be able to recognize if A is before B, A can't be last.

Should I make a clean break? I do like making the money, and if this student had a more realistic assessment of his starting point and situation, would really enjoy getting them into law school. However, every session I travel I think, "Oy. Even if I do the best job ever done, I'm gonna be hated at the end." At the end of the day, I do not care if I am hated. Most of the people I meet hate me. I just don't want to be dishonest or unethical.

I know when I worked for a major company, we never talked about law school admissions. We spoke only of the test, and frankly you could probably get in trouble for mentioning things like "School A is a bit extreme, not gonna happen" as your job is only to teach the test. However, very few people sign up for law school admission guidance and while I am by no means qualified to help a student with that, I do know the numbers inside out as anyone who posts on this site does and do feel it is my obligation to disclose this knowledge as while I am technically being hired to teach an improved LSAT, I am really being hired to help get people into better schools.
Last edited by LSATWIZ on Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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northwood
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby northwood » Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:54 pm

give him the straight scoop. let him know that you dont think hes living up to his side ofthe bargin. if he doesnt believe you, then the next session- make it be a prep test, and have him pay the same rates. that may help him see the light to either get serious or look for something else.

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LSATWIZ
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby LSATWIZ » Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:56 pm

I'm not going to have him pay me $55/hour or whatever to be a proctor. That's unfair. I just want them to take a practice test to realize they're at a 128 so that if they wind up getting into a tier-4 they'd be singing my praises, and not telling people our company sucks.

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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby northwood » Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:57 pm

if you dont get him to see the light, then you will feel the guilt. by forcing him to take the test, you are forcing him to actualy own up to the commitment of the lsat, and what a good amount of study time is needed to be successful. If he isnt willing to do that, then why waste your time and skills?

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northwood
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby northwood » Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:00 pm

right now hes not even getting a good feel for himself about where he stands. once he takes the test, it is much easier to swing into the serious talk about prep and results. its not a matter of him saying our company sucks, its a matter of living up to your principles that you have. you obvioulsy dont want him to be in debt up to his eyes, so force him to take the test at home, or force him to take it here ( you can even fudge your rates if you want- but that would be setting a trend that will bite you later) so you can have a platform to talk to him on.

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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby LSATWIZ » Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:03 pm

Selfishly, I do not want to do anything to hurt the reputation of my test prep start up such as dumping a student. The fact is right now this student does not have anything to put on an app that is an asset, and intellectually just does not process information the way people at a t-10 do. I think they'd enjoy a t-4, and do not know why their expectations are so high when they have struggled academically their entire life, and are entering a field where those that have succeeded academically their entire lives struggle.

I also do not want to make someone pay me a lot to proctor a test, and am not traveling for free. I enjoy the tutoring - it is the leaving my apartment that I hate. Leaving, and not even being able to talk is just torture.

I suppose I could send my girlfriend and have them pay her $20/hour, but I don't like making people waste $ when there are online proctors for free!!!!
Last edited by LSATWIZ on Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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northwood
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby northwood » Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:05 pm

you need to figure a way to get the client to either take studying seriously, or realize that its too much work for them. having a firm stance will help this, and will also give you a paper trail to defend yourself.( the test results) from any backlash.

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sundance95
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby sundance95 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:06 pm

Your not a life coach-you are a tutor. They've hired you to improve their LSAT score. Telling them they should give up, even if you are right, is arrogant and is not your place.

Here's what I do with my clients: I talk frankly about the state of the legal market, the relationship between the USNWR rankings and that market, and what it takes to get into the T14, T1, T2, etc. I give them all the info they need to make an informed decision for themselves, and once they do, I work as hard as I gain to help them achieve the results they desire. This, by the way, is not entirely dissimilar to what an attorney does with their clients, so you might want to reconsider your chosen career if being an LSAT tutor is giving you such ethical fits.

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LSATWIZ
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Re: Tutor's Ethical Responsibility

Postby LSATWIZ » Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:08 pm

I do have a paper trail saying things that the lessons themselves will definitely improve your score, but if you want a truly significant improvement, you need to start doing 2-3 hours a day. The conversation of, "The top 10 will not happen, and if you don't start doing 2-3 hours a day starting today, you are not going to get into any accredited law school" is something I want to avoid as the anger it instills can make the sessions awkward. I just wish they could take a practice test, plug their numbers into Law School Predictor, and see what happens so they will see what the situation is for themselves.




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