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Screamapillar

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Jun 23, 2013
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i'm wondering how people feel about tutoring/teaching for a big MCAT prep company? i didn't take any classes myself, and i always thought they were pretty much a scam, or at the very least incredibly overpriced.

i already work full time and have a pretty good salary, but with application costs coming up and the potential for no salary for 4 years in the near future, i'm trying to make/save as much as i can. i did well enough on the MCAT that i could be hired by one of these companies, but i have pretty strong ethical concerns about taking peoples money for a product i think they could get on r/MCAT for free.
 
Nov 14, 2019
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i'm wondering how people feel about tutoring/teaching for a big MCAT prep company? i didn't take any classes myself, and i always thought they were pretty much a scam, or at the very least incredibly overpriced.

i already work full time and have a pretty good salary, but with application costs coming up and the potential for no salary for 4 years in the near future, i'm trying to make/save as much as i can. i did well enough on the MCAT that i could be hired by one of these companies, but i have pretty strong ethical concerns about taking peoples money for a product i think they could get on r/MCAT for free.
while i personally agree with everything in the post i would still get the job because at the end of the day some people do need the help and structure that the courses provide (even though i think most do not)
 
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I’ve been an MCAT tutor (and had a few other roles in content and hiring) for big tutoring companies for about 7 years now. I do wrestle with ethical concerns, but not the ones you’re thinking of. I don’t agree about tutoring being a scam: it isn’t necessary or useful for everyone, but I’ve worked with plenty of students who tried self-prepping and failed, and benefited a lot from having the more structured help of a professional. What I worry about is the gentrification of it: tutoring is crazy expensive (the higher end packages for my company cost around 250-300 per hour), and that’s only an option for well off students. At the end of the day the number of students who get into medical school isn’t changing because of me, so the most cynical view of my work is that I just help rich kids do better on the MCAT than poor kids. I don’t have a good answer to that criticism. We’ve tried to counteract this a bit (my company has a scholarship program for lower income students to get access to our services, and I try to do pro bono work when I can), but I think it’s still a valid criticism. All that said, I’ve stayed in the industry (and will probably continue to work in it as a medical student) because 1. it is by far my most lucrative skill/qualification and it’s going to help a lot with keeping medical school debt down, 2. I love teaching, and 3. the emails and calls I get from students who are over the moon at finally having gotten their dream score, or even better, having been accepted, bring joy to my life.

I think being ethically uncomfortable with the existence of the MCAT prep/tutoring industry is justified, and I have those concerns as well (though not necessarily the same concerns as you). Ultimately, I’ve made peace with working this job despite those concerns: only you can make that decision for yourself.
 
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Screamapillar

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Jun 23, 2013
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  1. Pre-Medical
I’ve been an MCAT tutor (and had a few other roles in content and hiring) for big tutoring companies for about 7 years now. I do wrestle with ethical concerns, but not the ones you’re thinking of. I don’t agree about tutoring being a scam: it isn’t necessary or useful for everyone, but I’ve worked with plenty of students who tried self-prepping and failed, and benefited a lot from having the more structured help of a professional. What I worry about is the gentrification of it: tutoring is crazy expensive (the higher end packages for my company cost around 250-300 per hour), and that’s only an option for well off students. At the end of the day the number of students who get into medical school isn’t changing because of me, so the most cynical view of my work is that I just help rich kids do better on the MCAT than poor kids. I don’t have a good answer to that criticism. We’ve tried to counteract this a bit (my company has a scholarship program for lower income students to get access to our services, and I try to do pro bono work when I can), but I think it’s still a valid criticism. All that said, I’ve stayed in the industry (and will probably continue to work in it as a medical student) because 1. it is by far my most lucrative skill/qualification and it’s going to help a lot with keeping medical school debt down, 2. I love teaching, and 3. the emails and calls I get from students who are over the moon at finally having gotten their dream score, or even better, having been accepted, bring joy to my life.

I think being ethically uncomfortable with the existence of the MCAT prep/tutoring industry is justified, and I have those concerns as well (though not necessarily the same concerns as you). Ultimately, I’ve made peace with working this job despite those concerns: only you can make that decision for yourself.
i totally agree with your concerns as well, i'm just more skeptical that the $$ wasted on a course is actually helping much. the cost for practice tests, uworld, the exam itself, and the opportunity cost of studying vs working though are definite concerns that also trouble me about working in an industry that profits off this. i've thought about setting up a pro bono MCAT tutoring company in my area, but i dont think i can dedicate time to another job without making money.
 

Screamapillar

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Jun 23, 2013
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while i personally agree with everything in the post i would still get the job because at the end of the day some people do need the help and structure that the courses provide (even though i think most do not)

This. Not everyone is a self-directed learner.
i just feel like any advice i can offer i would offer for free over r/mcat if someone PM'ed me, but i guess if i was dedicated to teaching someone i would be more available and more avid to improve their scores... i still have some reservations but i'm going to see what these companies are offering any maybe i can help some people who are really struggling
 

Tenk

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to be honest i think the ethics of any job that profits off the anxiety of med school admissions requires a little overthinking
Not really. This is 100% fine and is actually viewed positively in that you’re working + helping other premeds.
 
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May 27, 2020
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I agree with your ethical qualms esp since what the tutoring company charges is usually like 5 times what they're going to end up paying you. Yes they provide you, the tutor, with value of finding clients, marketing, test materials and what not but if its worth 5x is dubious.

If you are concerned with these issues, you could try to do free lance work or something where you cut out the middleman but that does require alot of initial investment of time to build a client base and what not.
 
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