Consumer Complaints and Reviews
We eagerly signed our son up for individual tutoring after very clearly explaining that we have tried group tutoring before with no success. Our son attended his first session then let us know he was distracted by the other kids in the room. I then inquired about the possibility of he and the teacher working somewhere isolated. The director said that would be a possibility with a fee increase for one on one tutoring. I thought he was already supposed to be getting one on one tutoring? No, the director failed to mention my son would be working in a group. Surprise. Now I'm out $145 which they refuse to refund any part of. Disappointing educators can be deceitful. Most disheartening is the fact that the supervisor used the compare tactic by saying other students do just fine in the group setting. Sad.
This company seems more interested in making money than in tutoring kids. They are aggressive and even rude - promise the moon when you sign up and then after you have paid it is a different story. Also their assessment test for the kids seems absolutely useless. I really do not recommend this place at all.
Go somewhere else. A waste of $800, time and gas. My child had to help the instructor with the calculus which is on the new SAT. This is for kids who are way behind when it comes to taking the SAT. They are not prepared to tutor good students who are looking to excel and get better SAT scores. Sad. When we asked for a prorated refund, they got really mad and did not give us the correct refund... in their favor of course.
It is the worst play I have ever been to. They don't teach anything, but play on iPad and it is not one to one. It is one to three, and most of the time you are waiting for the teacher to check your answers. It is just a waste of money.
This place is the biggest RIP OFF... Get an educator to tutor your children because you will be misled by these people and your kid will end up learning nothing not to mention the high cost you will incur. I didn't do my homework on this place. Now I'm paying a very expensive price for it. I now have an educator she meets with twice a week and see huge results from it. Forgot to mention she was sent home several times with the wrong answers from Sylvan math tutors.
How do I know I can trust these reviews about Sylvan Learning Centers?
- 596,017 reviews on ConsumerAffairs are verified.
- We require contact information to ensure our reviewers are real.
- We use intelligent software that helps us maintain the integrity of reviews.
- Our moderators read all reviews to verify quality and helpfulness.
For more information about reviews on ConsumerAffairs.com please visit our FAQ.
After a ton of promises and thousands of dollars to help our son get prepared for middle school, Math and Reading, along with organization skills. He walked away with zero advancement and zero organization skills. First report card and he was failing both Math and Literacy, and all his teachers reported poor organization skills. They were not at all concerned when I reported this to Sylvan. Just wanted me to sign him up for more hours and spend thousands more. No thank you.
I wish I had been more diligent in selecting a tutoring source for my niece. I had my niece evaluated in August 2015 to see how far she was behind in reading and math. I thought the assessment showed an accurate report of where she stood. I signed my niece up for 60 hours @ $50 per hour, four hours per week with two hours in each subject. I was given all types of promises of what the program could do for my niece including one on one tutoring and homework help. Not only did she not receive one on one tutoring, but she received no help with her homework. When she would ask for assistance with her homework, she was told she could figure it out for herself.
If she could figure it out for herself, she would not be asking for help. After 40 hours of tutoring, I determined she was not getting the help she needed and had not improved in either subject. I submitted a written withdrawal notice which included the amount of the refund that should be credited to my account. After 30 days, I called Sylvan Learning Center regarding the refund and was told it would take 60 to 90 days to receive the refund. I find this to be unacceptable. You can charge my account for $3,000 in thirty seconds, but it takes you 90 days to refund my credit. Not only was my niece short-changed, but I have a feeling it is going to be a challenge to receive my refund.
I took my 7-year-old son to the Sylvan in La Mesa. I prepaid for 200 hours / $99. When we had our first session I walked in the Sylvan center and found my child playing games on their TV that they said was for "learning." He was playing GTA V and Sylvan put him in the strip club. I turned off the tv and ordered Sylvan to give me a complete refund. They said no because my son liked the strip club.
I paid 2500 dollars to send my 6 year old twins to sylvan. The time was split between them, 25 hours a piece. We were assured one on one training. This is a lie. Its up to 3 children at a time, on a laptop a lot of the time! I have one son more behind than the other. After his sessions were complete, my son still can't even Recognize the letters in the alphabet and he's halfway through the first grade! When we confronted sylvan with this problem they tried to name the few letters he did know, which he already knew and was Adamant That we pay more to continue sessions! I could go on an on. Bottom line, don't send your kids to sylvan and pay high prices to get your kids help. They teach your kids nothing and guarantee nothing! This was at the sylvan in tulsa oklahoma, on memorial!
I enrolled my son in the SAT prep program in the spring after taking his PSAT. After completing the course he took his first SAT test and did horrible. Thinking this had something to do with nerves I had him retake the test a few weeks later yet there was no improvement! I am not sure what my $1000 paid for! I contacted the center and they offered no explanation. Seeing as how no one contacted me throughout the course saying he needed more help in any area I assumed he was right on track! The one answer of their definition of help was to go online and take the practice test! Don't waste your money. Look for another center!
I enrolled my daughter in Sylvan Learning center hoping they could help her with her math. Tutoring is very expensive but education is very important to me. Meanwhile, my daughter kept a steady "c" average until a month after enrollment her grade dropped to a "D". I panicked because her grades were getting worse. The last session was the final session. I asked my daughter how was her session she said it was fine the tutor kept having brain freeze and couldn't help me with 2/5 questions she had. I withdrew her and enrolled her in another program. Now I have a outstanding bill. I shouldn't have to pay.
Sign my son for 68 hrs/$50 per class. Took 52 hrs of 68 hr with no improvement. I cancel the remaining 16 hrs and requested a refund that was 5 months ago. Never receive it!
Love Sylvan! It has been nothing but a positive experience for my son. He loves going and it has been such a positive addition to his learning! Very friendly and positive environment for my son and myself!
My 10th grader went from public to private school this year. Private schools can be a nightmare with any type of disability and my son has VI/HI issues. Geometry showed signs of trouble right from the start of school and when he missed 3 weeks of school and by Oct he was failing. We contacted Sylvan, Kalamazoo, MI, office and my son was evaluated. My son learned best from one tutor/teacher and so we made every effort to make sure he stayed with her.
I purchased 100 hours and we cleared our schedule and arranged w/ school to have him leave early 3 days/wk to attend Sylvan as well as Sat until grades improved. All quizzes/tests/homework was completed at Sylvan and with this close monitoring it was discovered he had a reading comprehension issue on tests. Sylvan and I began to readjust his sessions so he could begin getting testing skills training as well. I was DETERMINED to make this work! Is it costly? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes.
I tutored with Sylvan at Kahala Mall. They rely on iPads for teaching. The various lessons had numerous errors, some grammatical and some were just hugely incorrect. Example: they claimed that the word 'Dusk' meant sunrise. I was stunned, I refused to play along with this and told the student it means evening, before sunset. I brought several of these program errors to the attention of staff, who did absolutely nothing. I found a real dumb error in a math word problem. I asked the student to show it to our so-called math wizard, and he failed to detect it. There is no substitute for textbook reading. The development of the lessons is not accurate in many cases. Children are being told that they need to come back, at a huge cost to parents. Their "transition" time is bizarre. I found this location to be somewhat uncomfortable. I lost my part-time position, by bringing these things to the attention of the franchise owners.
We spent $12,000 at Sylvan for our grandson. He had learning issues and this place made guarantees that never happened. He to this day has trouble with math. It seems he was one of those children who were left behind. He is 21 now and is lost when it comes to math. It is a shame that this can happen. He is a great kid, who will struggle for a lifetime because the system let him down.
We had a very poor and quite disturbing experience with the Lake Mary, FL Sylvan Learning Center. The director, Dr. **, was very pushy and we should have trusted out initial instincts of him being dishonest. We have so many concerns and complaints and really don't know where to start. In summation, we were lied to in regards to every aspect of the program:
1. Individual tutoring: Our children were given a tablet and received minimal, if any, help by an instructor. I didn't believe my children at first until I stayed and observed from the hallway.
2. The director slandered local schools, especially Lake Mary Prep School which dissuaded us from going there.
3. Scare tactics: We initially started just for summer tutoring, wanting our children to have an easy transition into the next school year. The director quickly approached us and said the children would need at least 4 hours of weekly tutoring if they didn't want to fail their upcoming grade. We explained our concern over our long commute to the center. Dr. ** suggested we cancel all of the children's extra-curricular activities and come to his center daily after school (an hour commute for us). We actually did this but it became too much. We would get home after 7 pm and would then have to start on homework and dinner. I explained my concerns to him and he said that I obviously do not have my priorities in order. He suggested that the center would also do the homework with the children to help with time...they didn't. My 7 year old would have to do her homework alone and would get 1/3 of it done. When I once again approached him, he said, "Well, we don't really want to waste our time with homework. You can do it for them!"
4. Cancellation of our program: I informed Dr. ** that we couldn't do this anymore and he became very verbal, started ranting, and acted quite unstable. I trusted my children with this type of person? He continued to charge our credit card (without our knowledge) for 2 more months for 8 hours of weekly tutoring! When we approached him, he said, "Well, I need a written cancellations." When I had given him my verbal cancellation, he had never mentioned the need for a written cancellation.
My wife took our 10 year old daughter to the Staten Island Location for a 50 dollar evaluation. While she was taking the test a representative named Rich insisted on getting a five thousand dollar line of credit from her besides the 240 dollars a month it would cost. She said the pressure was unreal. She ran out of the location and came to my car hysterically crying! I went inside and took our daughter out.
My husband and I met with a Center Director, reviewed my daughter's assessment and scheduled tutoring sessions. We specifically asked about certifications and criminal background checks. She said all were certified and background checks clear. We were shocked to see all FOUR of her mugshots on the internet. Within the past 5 years (most recently in September of 2013), she has been arrested for charges which include: DUI, driving with a revoked/suspended license, expired tags, driving without insurance, knowingly driving with suspended registration, deposit account fraud, and failure to appear in court.
I am sorely disappointed at my experience and just want others to be aware that it is possible for people to misrepresent themselves behind the facade of what consumers believe is a trustworthy name. A professional's conduct within their personal life should be strongly considered if they are engaging in any interaction with children.
Well we spent about 10 thousand $ for 130 hours or so. They failed to teach my daughter BASIC math skills, which at the end of completion they wanted me to pay more to keep sending her, but the first 10 grand wasn’t enough. I confronted them and they said on various occasions about her not knowing BASIC math skills. They still didn’t teach her. Our final meeting (raised her voice) they said it’s all her fault and I wasn’t allowed to get money back.
Oh and the online parent sheets that we were suppose to have access to print, etc, that was a joke too and the instructor agreed it was not available because the web site wasn’t completed OR SOMETHING. Or they were not printable, etc. so they were not accessible. So she did what I should have done that wouldn’t have costed 10 grand and google activity sheets, print them up and handed them to me. They are a waste of hard earned money and a private tutor is indeed the way to go. If I wanted to have her fail I would have tried myself to teach her (sad) right but come on.
Paid too much money for what is was worth and still paying. No results and my child was still retained. Sylvan failed to tutor the subject matter in school. No communication with the level of books my child should have read, and often wondered if anything was taught when my child attended Sylvan class. Sometimes I felt it was just like an overpaid daycare. Would not recommend this place. Better off teaching your kid at home than the Sylvan hype.
I am truly shocked at some of these stories!!! I personally can't speak to the money aspect, except I knew it was expensive for parents, while the tutors made a fraction of that amount. I felt I had extensive and good preparation. It was explained why students needed a certain amount of time to show progress, and how the initial testing gives a good look at the skills from k on that were not up to par...their plan is written from that. If your 8th grader shows having trouble understanding vowel patterns, or simple comprehension, the material would definitely be at a lower level but it was NEVER made to appear babish or shameful. The skill is taught until the student can show 3 scores of 100% IN A ROW - it was effective. They then would move on to the next noted impediment.
As a new teacher, they phased me in b/c it IS very overwhelming and a total learning process on how to juggle up to 3 kids with separate notebook "prescriptions" at once. I was never alone with 3 until I felt ready. My complaints were at my second center in NC. I made clear I had training and experience, but preferred lower elementary kids b/c that was my degree. I was always paired with high school kids that I'm certain knew more than I did...I was thrown 2 reading kids and a math student and I was so overwhelmed, and I had done this in Indiana for 3 years! Totally different experience. I shared my concerns with the "director" and quit...I actually believed in Sylvan and was always given the same kids, etc. I had a totally awful experience after that and was shocked they just allowed any teacher to sit and "teach" things they were never certified for....it didn't seem to matter. So sad!! I would be furious too if I lost that much money just b/c the center had zero clue how to operate correctly. From the comments, obviously many don't!
I must have been very fortunate for my first job with Sylvan, and understood and believed it worked if done correctly....student/teacher bonding is HUGE and rarely were our students different. This is sad and wrong b/c I have used the techniques I've learned there, and there is a reason behind what is taught and sometimes the duration....but they need to hire someone and fix a lot of issues! Parent/teacher talk is never done...it's with the director, who is only looking at their book of work and scores. This could be an awesome place if it were run correctly!!
I used to feel bad that I was let go from Sylvan, but now I don't. I was expected, every day, to come in and find out which 6-12 kids I had. At that point, I had about 30-45 minutes or less to get around all the teaching materials that they would need. Now, mind you, this is 3 kids at a time, all doing something different (ex. 7th grade math, 2nd grade math, 4th grade reading). This meant that my lesson planning essentially was about 10 minutes per kid. You use their tools (manipulatives, work books, wrap-ups, etc.) to prepare for these kids. Not knowing most of the kids that well, because you never have the same ones every hour or every day, I would prepare a decent amount and some would barely get through the first activity, and needed tons of help, while others flew through three assignments at a time.
No child was ever allowed to have down time of any kind, but yet you were supposed to be working with all three at different levels and different subjects. This was a job I had shortly after graduating college. Now as a REAL teacher, I can see that the goals and strategies used here are a joke and work for very few kids. It can only be truly effective if you have time to develop connecting activities with these kids, not random, barely-able-to-plan activities. I would never recommend Sylvan to anyone. Not because they let me go, but because I know how much those parents spend, I know how little we made, and I know that they were raking in the dough for a program that doesn't work for the average struggling student.
I just read some of the latest experience reviews. Most of you had to prepay for their learning service. I tried it for a short period of time for my grade 7 then cancelled it. It cost around $500 for my kid. Then, I went to another franchise one with a "K" for the first letter of its name. No better than what I had experienced at Sylvan. We'll never be superficial again. We should learn a lesson now; brand doesn't necessary tell what's under it, especially those franchise ones.
Over the past month I have been traveling twice a week (approx. 75 mi/trip) to get tutoring services in reading for my grandson, a second grader. After the initial assessment the counselor identified his weaknesses and assured me that Sylvan could help. So far this has not happened. There has been little or no communication from the instructor about his plans for improvements. Every visit, the student is with a new and different instructor, who has no knowledge about him or his performance. It appears that he can spend the hour doing whatever, math, reading, etc. Presently I have ended my services with Sylvan. The director did not ask why, but informed me that I had to pay for the next 30 days. It is a total waste of my time and resources to continue this relationship.
My son started going to SYLVAN learning centre in Mississauga, ON. It was a prepaid ($6500) program. I bought a block of hours. My son used up some hours and some he missed due to snow and sick days. Due to circumstances I asked for a refund. They pro-rated with a different hourly rate and did not consider snow and sick days. I was expecting to see a cheque for $2200, I was shocked to see only $195. I called to complain and was told that's the policy. I am a single mom and this kind of unfair policies hurting me so much. Can anyone suggest me what to do? I have contacted the Business Bureau.
On Dec. 31, 2013, the Eugene Sylvan closed without notice... after I had prepaid over $4,000.00 for my daughter's tutoring. They were running a "special". Jill Nolan, the owner, will not return my calls nor give me an exact accounting nor my records. I have emailed corporate Sylvan for 8 months but all I get is a canned email response - they say they are not responsible. They won't even send me exact accounting. Sylvan took my daughter's education monies.
Sylvan Learning Center- Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. There aren't enough words to say how illegitimate and corrupt the Sylvan Learning Center is. After I terminated service (because they did less than nothing), my bill was paid in full. I was told by the director that I would receive a refund for the unused hours because I only used 66 hours and now they tampered with their records and say that we used 129 hours and I now owe them more than one thousand dollars. Sylvan is a sophisticated scam. They will steal your money and then will not speak with you. Any positive review was bribed by giving free hours in return. They told me I wasn't allowed to call them!! These people are crooks!!! Stay away!!
Lies - lies - lies - canned presentation - zip 32935. Child is age 09. We paid $50 for evaluation - then $200 for two hours of what I was promised would be only for 'phonics'. It was less than one hour of pretest in reading, the rest was with another student her age having free time using the computer. Fortunately I was able to predict the future with them and cancelled the next appointment. Please do not sign a contract and pay visit to visit (you'll save money) and question your child in detail about the **first**... visit.
What an incredible disappointment after all the hype about how effective they are. My High School student needed help in math. She had done very poorly in school because she has a major math anxiety issue. I very specifically told the Lakewood Center that I wanted them to help her address only her math so that she would have confidence in dealing with it in school. After several thousand dollars and three and a half months later she showed no improvement at all. She started the program with an "F" and ended with an "F". During her last month she told me "oh I don't do math while I'm there, I work on my English home work." I was furious. When I asked what the heck was going on the director said, "She said she didn't want to work on her math so we haven't been." Sylvan is a joke and worse, a complete waste of money.
ConsumerAffairs Research Team
The ConsumerAffairs Research Team believes everyone deserves to make smart decisions. We aim to provide readers with the most up-to-date information available about today's consumer products and services.
Sylvan Learning Center is one of the best-known tutoring companies in the United States. This company has tutoring centers in many cities across the country.
- Unique assessment process compares students to national norms: Students take a test and are observed by tutors prior to beginning service so that tutors can pinpoint strengths, weaknesses and ability to pass state exams.
- Offers educational games to help students between sessions: Students can download apps and play educational games to increase their academic skills all week long.
- Online and in person tutoring options: Students with busy schedules can get tutoring at their convenience thanks to the variety of options.
- College prep tutoring available: Sylvan has specific programs available to help students master college entrance exams and required high school coursework.
- Free consultation before tutoring starts: The initial consultation is free, giving students and tutors the opportunity to see if they are a good fit for one another.
- Best for Kids who are failing, kids who are taking state exams and college-bound teenagers.
Sylvan Learning Centers Company Profile
- Company Name:
- Sylvan Learning Centers
- 001 Fleet St. 9th Floor
- Postal Code:
- United States