Tailored Tutoring: MadTutors and SAT Prep Group

Tailored Tutoring: MadTutors and SAT Prep Group

Initially overwhelmed by the chaos of Colgate University’s biannual involvement fair, senior Marie Goodrich soon found her place among the noise in the Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (COVE), where four years later, she now serves as an intern.

“I joined a bunch of different groups [during the involvement fair]; I think I initially applied [to so many clubs] because freshman year I had just come out of the whole applying-to-college thing,” Goodrich said.

This perspective made Goodrich particularly keen to join Colgate’s SAT Prep group. Having just endured the all-too familiar process of standardized testing, Goodrich understood what an overwhelming undertaking it could be.

“The ACT and SAT was a miserable process,” Goodrich said. “The interns before me did such a good job of shaping the program, [and] I wanted to make a process that is not the greatest a little more manageable.”

Goodrich and her fellow COVE interns are in the office for at least eight hours per week coordinating meetings, conducting outreach and ensuring that the SAT program continues to run smoothly.

“We run brown bags and other COVE events. The SAT interns are responsible for communicating with the Colgate students who are tutors, [as well as] the parents and the counselors,” Goodrich said. “[It’s] a lot of coordination.”

Despite the obvious effort it takes to maintain such a program, Goodrich continues to find joy in her work.

“I’ve met so many good people through it! All of the other interns are some of the greatest friends I’ve made on campus,” Goodrich shared. “We all sit together for eight hours a week so we get to know each other really quickly.”

Rachella Carlino, one of MadTutoring’s Co-Leaders, also became involved with the COVE early in her first year. Drawn to MadTutors by the COVE’s weekly newsletters and a desire to aid her new community, Carlino was eager to become a mentor to Madison Central School students.

COVE’s capacity for change in the local community was evident even through Carlino’s first tutoring session.

“The first homework club, I really found that the kids really relied on us coming, and formed connections quickly with us,” Carlino said. “The goal is to build personal connections with the students in order to build classroom confidence and help them understand the material better. Those personal connections are really important.”

For Carlino, the tutoring itself is only half of the job.

“Even if we go and we’re not having the most effective tutoring session, even knowing a student’s name, and being able to say a personal fact about them, really helps make them feel comfortable,” Carlino said.

In order to ensure that the students at Madison Central School are able to benefit from these connections, the club meets three times a week for two to four class periods a day. In order to relieve some of the pressure on already time-taxed Colgate students, individual tutors typically only go one time each week.

This connection serves as an ongoing source of motivation to continue the club’s mission: “I think this is such a cliche answer, but honestly building a rapport with students [is what I love most about tutoring],” Carlino said.

Senior Amanda Margolis, a Madison Elementary tutor, also reflected on the obligation she feels to break outside of the norm of only interacting with other members of the Colgate community.

“We’re in a huge bubble at Colgate,” said Margolis, “especially with how small the town is. For the most part you’re talking to Colgate people or [locals] a lot older than you.”

Organizations such as MadTutoring and SAT Prep provide a gratifying chance to interact with this overshadowed demographic.

“It’s important [because Colgate is such a big institution in Madison county] that we do our part of sharing what we know with the community,” Carlino said. “[It’s a] mutually beneficial relationship– not only are we going to spread knowledge to the students but we learn a lot from them too. It’s a learning process.”