As a child, how often did you or someone you know utilize a tutoring service? For some of us, tutoring was available at any moment during our lives. But for a majority of the country, tutoring is considered a luxury that some families simply cannot afford.
After failing Calculus his junior year of high school, Anish Aggarwal seeked help from a retired teacher for $80 an hour. This was a steep price tag for the junior, and after a few lessons, he felt as if this service was overpriced and searched for alternatives. “I ended up asking a friend in the same class for help. By paying him $15/hr not only did I get an A in the class but I also realized how efficient peer-to-peer teaching was.” It was out of this experience, the idea for Top Tier Learning was born.
Top Tier learning provides affordable academic resources to communities nationwide. Instead of high-priced, name brand tutors, they employ high school seniors that encompass the intelligence and leadership qualities. These personality traits are essential to spreading the “Top Tier Advantage.”
The University of Texas at Austin student spends most of his time at the McCombs School of Business, where the 18-year-old majors in business finance. In addition to being the founder of Top Tier Learning, Aggarwal enjoys playing basketball with friends, dabbling in poker matches and being a dedicated fan of baseball and football teams.
Not only has the business helped boost Aggarwal’s resume and experience, he also reaps the rewards of helping students who might not have found another way to learn. “I have gotten phone calls from parents incredibly happy that their son/daughter was able to pass a class because of Top Tier Learning. They said that without our affordable lessons, they would not be able to afford help at all.”
Top Tier Learning currently has six branches in three different states. With multiple partnerships from community institutions such as the YMCA, Aggarwal’s company has created a network of support. They’ve begun the “franchise” stage of the company, but are in the early developments. Their ultimate goal is to have hundreds of branches to serve communities all across America and “brick and mortar” locations.
What kind of tutors can be found at Top Tier Learning?
“Our tutors are high school seniors that you would want your own children to be tutored by (role models and leaders in their community who genuinely care about the students they are teaching). These seniors usually have excellent grades and incredible leadership experience, in addition to great referrals. They are motivated to tutor at TTL because we pay higher compared to competitors and offer a “set your own hours” work schedule.”
How about the students?
“All types of students use Top Tier Learning, from 6 years old to 18 year olds. Their subject areas range all across the board from Sociology to Honors English to 3rd Grade Math. Some students wish to “catch up,” others wish to ensure their current academic status, and others wish to move to a higher level (such as an honors program).”
How do you match tutors with their students?
“We have a very diverse staff, so we are always able to address a student’s needs. Our staff consists of both genders with specialists in special needs, elementary school, middle school, test taking, AP classes, etc. We usually pair the gender of a student with that of his/her tutor to ensure efficiency.”
Coordinating a company of this size was surely going to impact Aggarwal’s time management skills. Top Tier Learning has assisted him in managing his priorities better, but has inevitably taken away time from school work and other commitments. “It has really helped me gain invaluable “hands on” experience that has helped me in my business classes.”
While working with students and their parents, Aggarwal found the biggest hurdle to overcome when beginning the company was trust. Parents are more often reluctant to trust their children in the hands of anyone else – let alone high school students. “I was able to gain trust in 3 ways: registering the company with the state, community partnerships with the YMCA and nonprofits, and scaling it to multiple branches.”
What’s your philosophy on being a good leader and what advice can you give other college students about fulfilling their dreams?
“I’ve always believed that leading by example is important. Ambitious goal planning and fulfilling your team’s potential are necessary to success. Even when others doubt you, believe in yourself! You have to be your biggest advocate. Don’t launch your product until you’re sure it is your very best work- doing so otherwise may have terrible effects. Instead of trying to think of an innovation in a line where you have no expertise, think of problems in your own life and original solutions that affect many people.”
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