Review: Sylvan Learning Center in Indianapolis

How to enlist the help of Sylvan for your tutoring needs.

The northside Indianapolis Sylvan Learning Center has been serving the community for over 25 years, as one of the original Sylvan franchise locations.  They have additional locations on the westside, southside, and Shelbyville area.  The staff consists of friendly administrative staff and tutors who are all certified teachers with the state of Indiana.  What's different about Sylvan's approach to education is that it takes a combined effort of the tutors, parents, school, and the student in order to improve grades.  They are by no means a replacement for school, but a way for students who need additional help to receive it at their own pace.  It is not always possible for the student's classroom teacher to be available or to provide students the individual help they need, nor is it something that Sylvan blames schools for.  In fact, Sylvan thrives on working together with school systems in order to achieve the same goals the school has, while maintaining the state's core education requirements.

Instructional Hours

Students who come to Sylvan attend at least one hour session per visit, one to two days a week.  Some students even attend two or three back-to-back instructional hours at a time, in one or multiple subjects.  Tutors have up to three students per session, which allows for students to work separately with their tutor, but also together as a group, and independently.  This helps the students achieve a comfort level with their peers, the instructor, and themselves, so they then have the confidence to do better at homework and at school.

Instructional hours are Monday through Thursday, starting at 3:30 p.m., with the last session at 7:30; and Saturday starting at 8:30 a.m., with the last session at 11:30.  During the Summer, additional morning and day hours through the week and on Friday are offered as part of the Sylvan intensive learning camps.

The Process

The first step to enrolling a student is to assess the student's needs and goals.  From there, families are welcome to tour the facility, or schedule an assessment.  During an assessment, the student is given a comprehensive battery of tests in a single subject that covers a range of information both familiar and unfamiliar to the student.  The results of the testing will show exactly where the learning gaps are, and what areas will not warrant instruction.  It will also provide an estimate of how many hours it might take to achieve grade-level results, but since it is all individually-based, there is no set amount of time in which a student must complete his or her hours.  In fact, all students retest regularly in order to make sure that the curriculum is at the right pace, and adjustments are made accordingly.

For parents who are not sure of whether or not to enroll, it is recommended that students still test, because the results will provide a clear picture of where the student is in his or her learning, so that parents can more easily enlist the help of the right resources.  While Sylvan might not work for everybody, their methods have a very high success rate due to their consistent delivery, personability, professionalism, and the desire to see students learn.  The students who do achieve grade level scores or higher learn how to feel more confident, have more self-discipline, and have less stress in their academics.  Many current and past students have attended sessions at this center for years, and the staff continues to build relationships with all of the students and their families, so that it is a positive and fun experience for everyone.

Making Education Available to All

Sylvan recognizes that students from Kindergarten to adults may need extra help at any given time. That is why they offer programs for Beginning, Academic, and Advanced reading; basic math through pre-calculus; study skills; homework support; writing; GED,SAT, and college preparation. Because different programs require different approaches, rates may vary. Parents and adults looking for information about Sylvan's fees may visit the center at 8450 Westfield Boulevard, Suite 210, or contact the center at (317) 257-6703 or email to discuss current deals and financial options.

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Jerry Walch
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Posted on Sep 24, 2010