Lia Reed noticed a gap in the Halifax tutoring service market, so started her own company.
Ascension Academics has grown to match Reed’s aim for the company: delivering the best tutoring possible to anyone who needs it.
“Things have certainly changed,” Reed says. “Just like any company, some people have left and some people have joined up. However, the core goal I had in mind is still the same.”
Beginning with Reed’s personal tutoring in first year chemistry, Ascension has now expanded: they tutor a range from five-year-olds to those taking second- and third-year university courses. Six other tutors work for Ascension, covering a broad spectrum of topics.
“I definitely have my fair share of students who are struggling with their grades, but you’d be surprised by how many students I have who ask for help with classes they’re already getting solid A’s in. Tutoring is for everyone and I sincerely believe that you have nothing to lose in trying it out.”
As sole manager, Reed relies heavily on finely-honed organizational skills and technology to manage the staff and bookings herself. She keeps the number of moving parts to a minimum to ensure a smooth process for both students and tutors.
The human element of the tutoring experience is the most important to Reed.
“I have a lot of clients to help, and I want all of them to feel like they are my only client and are getting all my attention and resources. However, although I do want clients to rate our customer service beyond exemplary, the quality of the tutoring is what’s most important to me.” she says.
“I’m constantly asking my students during sessions if they feel like what we’re doing is helping them. If they don’t feel significantly more confident in their academics, I won’t take any money. I ask the other tutors to do the same, and judging from the feedback I’ve received from clients, that’s certainly happening.”
To accommodate unique needs for all students, Reed has a number of future goals for the company.
“What I’d really love is to find a tutor who has training that allows them to work with students with learning disabilities,” says Reed, who is enrolled in a child psychopathology class that had a mother tell the class about her life with her two children and made Reed think.
“It really opened my eyes and made me realize that there was a whole group of students that I have not found a tutor for,” Reed says. “Inclusivity is phenomenally important to me, and I want to feel like absolutely any student can get help at Ascension.”
Reed hopes to make the message clear that tutoring isn’t a crutch or something to be ashamed of.
“I’m very impressed with every person who reaches out for tutoring,” Reed says. “I think they are the smart ones and the ones who should be proud. Making the decision to improve and admitting that you don’t know everything is not something that is necessarily all that easy, so anyone who is capable of that, I think, can really do anything.”