Sylvan Learning Centers
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Based on 110 ratings submitted in the last year

Sylvan Learning Centers

ConsumerAffairs Accredited Brand

Choosing Sylvan is about getting results and setting your child up for long-term success. At Sylvan, we’re focused on building academic confidence, igniting intellectual curiosity and inspiring a love for learning — all of which make a big impact in school and in life. For nearly 40 years, we’ve helped millions of students and families like yours achieve new levels of academic success.

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Sylvan Learning Centers Reviews

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Rated with 5 stars
Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Feb. 1, 2019

One of the first things that caught my information was the Groupon as I was scrolling through, looking for other things, and Sylvan Learning kept coming up in the feed, “Tutoring Sylvan, discount. You can get an evaluation with four sessions at a discounted rate.” And when my child was struggling in math, I remembered seeing the Groupon. So I went back in, and it was still available. Before I purchased it, it made me wanna do a bit of research. I was living in Castro Valley, California at the time, and I wanted to know what type of tutoring services were available in my sort of immediate vicinity. My husband went by a Kumon, and he didn't know how he felt about it. So, I went and was highly disappointed and turned off by their method. My child was too far behind according to their assessment. At that very moment, we had a specific type of need, and they cannot meet that need.

So then, I went to Sylvan, sat down with them to get an idea what their method was, and how they could be of help possibly to our family. I like knowing that not only could my student get help with their homework, but if they knew that they had a test or a quiz coming up, that they could get specific help addressing the topics that would be covered on that upcoming exam. And if there was no homework or there was no upcoming exam, that Sylvan would be able to still provide their own materials to build up the areas needing improvement of my child's personal development. Even the initial assessment that identifies areas of weakness was great for me. I saw a significant improvement in the math grade and my student had more confidence and performed better in the math class. We were all happy campers.

There was a gap in having Sylvan's services as we ended up moving. I live in a different city now, and we found the San Ramon, California, Sylvan. I have both of my students in it now as they both struggle in math. We started at the end of November, and so far, so good. At the Castro Valley location, I felt like the teachers and the tutors were solid. They seemed knowledgeable, effective, capable and able to show my student, what they needed to know to be successful, and it was always accurate and spot-on. That has been the case here in San Ramon as well. They are knowledgeable individuals that had been able to successfully help my students.

I ask both my students all the time what do they have today, and we drive into tutoring. And they would answer that they have a test coming up and that they don't always feel prepared for it. And when we leave tutoring, I would ask them if they feel that their tutoring helped them. They would answer, "Oh, absolutely. I didn't know how to do this one problem, and they totally broke it down. Super easy, and I know I could do it on my own now." We leave the house going to tutoring with questions and concerns, and when every time we come back from tutoring, they have way more confidence. And so, I have been impressed and pleased with how knowledgeable every tutor has been that they've worked with. The tutors were friendly in Castro Valley, and they're friendly, polite and kind here in San Ramon. I have friends who started going to Sylvan because I told them about my experience and that they should send their student as well.

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12 people found this review helpful
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Rated with 5 stars
Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Dec. 27, 2018

I'm from the United States, but I married a woman in Angola, Africa. We just moved to the United States with her daughter and her two nieces, and they are all teenagers. One only spoke about 10 words of English, while the other two were a little better but certainly not fluent. We brought them to the US on a foreign exchange student program. They are going to Pope John Paul II High School and we knew that they needed help, so they went to Sylvan Learning before the school year started for about four weeks, four or five hours a day, five days a week.

When school started, they were going to Sylvan for two hours per day until the first semester was finished until they got their first report cards. Two of them had 3.0-grade point averages, then one had better than that, and I knew it was because of Sylvan. They all went during the second semester for one hour per day and only four days a week, instead of the previous five. Sylvan normally doesn't help as a second language, but they did a great job.

My stepdaughter, who is now 35 years old, also went to Sylvan about 20 years ago and they were helpful. When the girls came, we had to do something and we had to get them better in English before school started. Our latest contract with Sylvan is finished, but I'm leaving the option open to go back if needed for more tutoring. I just spoke to the director, Adam, and the senior director, Sal, and they are aware that if it comes to exam time and the girls feel like they need help, we will definitely go back. It was a great experience and I've told that to many local Sylvan people. They were extremely helpful and I am extremely grateful. I definitely will recommend Sylvan.

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Sylvan Learning Centers response


Thank you so much for your kind words! We are thrilled to hear that your experience was a positive one. We look forward to seeing you and your family again. Have a wonderful day!

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Rated with 5 stars
Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Dec. 23, 2018

We were taking our son to a different school for reading but Sylvan was amazing and changed the trajectory of our son's ability to learn. Sylvan tested our son and found where he was weak. They started back at the basic. He's only eight years old and they found where he missed the step in learning and then recreated that or built on that foundation. He has been taking steps as he mastered each section to move up. They also did a combination of paperwork and computer time but his focus was on reading.

Our son has been in the program for three months now and sees a tutor twice a week. He is more willing to learn. When we drive around, he is looking for signs with words on them and reading them to me. It has been fantastic. When we went to Sylvan, he was reading at a 0.9 grade level which is the ninth month of kindergarten to the end of it. He is in second grade. After his first five sessions, he was reading at a 1.4 grade level.

It has been a gift. Where we were before, they were putting him in an extended resource room with kids with behavioral issues which he doesn't have. He was just having a hard time reading. He wasn't growing any and he wasn't developing those skills. So, we were shocked after such a short time at Sylvan how much he has progressed. Also, the environment at Sylvan is wonderful. They reward you with a point system and you buy stuff from their little store. Our son is encouraged to go there. It's a quiet and very professional environment. We're blown away with how fast and how excited he is to look for letters now and make words. It has been life-changing for us and for his confidence at school. We've already recommended Sylvan and there's another little boy in our son's class who is now attending because of our experience.

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4 people found this review helpful
Rated with 5 stars
Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Dec. 15, 2018

When I was going to college in Arizona, I had an experience with Sylvan so I knew that the methods that they used were very straightforward and easy to understand compared to how other teachers might teach. I sought them out from my own experience. I knew that we still would have a gap with the time we had with the other tutor from school so I wanted to supplement the times my oldest child would have in the gym through tutoring.

The staff there in Sylvan is great. I normally talk to Eddie on the phone and he is great. Our daughters like the tutors named Derek and Jessica. But again, they’ve got different personalities and approaches. If our kid doesn’t really care for one tutor’s approach over another, it’s not the tutor’s not teaching them well, it’s just the style that they prefer. And I like the fact that I can get my kids scheduled with the one they prefer. I got two daughters in Sylvan right now. My oldest is 15 and a 1st year in high school. My youngest is a little behind in her math skills and was struggling a little bit. We did the assessment with her to see what gap she has and we’re working on closing that gap. That was one of the things that we like about Sylvan. Also, I like that my daughter got to see the style of a couple different tutors and she found one that she really enjoys. When we schedule, the scheduling’s flexible so that we can get Derek for my oldest.

There are different motivators for each of my children. The oldest like to understand the concept. Even though she was getting an A in geometry, she still felt like she wasn’t understanding the concept. She’d bring them forward to the next type of math that she might experience so it was concepts then. The oldest is appreciative of the tutor who is very direct and helps her understand the concept. The little one is excited because she gets little rewards for doing her tutoring and earns points. Her motivator’s a little bit different, but she enjoys going, too. They’re both very engaged and that has a lot to do with their approach.

To use Sylvan, there’s a cost to it and parents might be apprehensive sometimes because they feel they are gonna make them pay so much a month. But Sylvan does cater to the issue we're trying to solve then work with us as far as what they would recommend. But we have to work it within our budget. They’re respectful of the balance of helping the child and also understanding what we can do financially.

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2 people found this review helpful
Rated with 4 stars
Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Nov. 23, 2018

We had a couple of different tutors for my son before we went with Sylvan Learning Centers. We had a family member who was the head of the math department at one of the local high schools. She’s retired and she tutors, so she had helped my son a little bit. Then we used Mathnasium and we didn’t like them because they only have one branch here and it’s on the other side of town. So, it was very laborsome for us to try and make that work, especially with my son’s busy schedule. And at that time, he was not driving and he had a lot going on with club soccer. But Sylvan’s the opposite. They have two different locations, one south and one north, so that was a big difference for us.

The other thing that my son and I didn’t like about Mathnasium was that they’re very big on starting from the basics and working all the way backwards to see where are the student's deficiencies, then they start very elementary. I kinda get the concept of that but my child was still struggling in school and I thought they’d spend some time at the end on homework or help. But it wasn’t getting the job done for him, so we did that for a semester and a half then we gave that up. The people at Mathnasium were proficient in math but their concept and philosophy were not congruent with my son’s needs in school. He needed help with what was going on presently in class and 80% of the time, Mathnasium wanted to go backwards and figure out what he was missing.

Compared to that, Sylvan is the exact opposite. He also did math with them because that’s what he’s always struggled with. He started with Algebra 1, then geometry, and now, Algebra 2. I’ve been really impressed with the caliber of some of the instructors there although there have been a couple who haven’t been awesome. So they’re not equal when it comes to their proficiencies, which you get that anywhere with any job. But there have been a couple of superstars there that my son just walks away feeling much more confident about what he knows because they’re confident in how they’re teaching it. Matt was one of the superstars there but unfortunately, he has left. I know they’re trying to fill that position and they’re being very selective. So, I understand and appreciate them in trying to find a replacement.

Right now, I would like for my son to have more confidence and not feel like Sylvan is a crutch. They’ve been great though and having confidence in math is something he’s always struggled with, so it is not like this is gonna change overnight in his years in high school. But we’re at the point where we’re trying to get him through this last math class for him because I don’t think he’s planning on taking calculus. And to include to get a decent math score on the SAT. So, we will probably continue next year with some classes to help in preparing for the SATs. But we’ll see once he gets through this year and I’m gonna let Sylvan focus in getting him to be more confident in math because he’s always studies with a psychological block.

Also, one of the things I really appreciate is that the folks at Sylvan really care about my son's success. He plays varsity soccer so he’s got demands and he’s got a job, and if ever he has to reschedule because of sports or events, they’re very good about working with me on that. They’re very flexible and they never act like it’s a big imposition. But their service is pricey. You have to have the finances to be able to afford it. It’s expensive, but sometimes, you get what you pay for. And it has certainly worked out well for my son and it’s been worth it for him. They’ve helped him to maintain a B or better in math.

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Rated with 1 starResolution In Progress
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Sept. 19, 2019

We had an unfortunate experience at Sylvan, we were extremely excited to have our daughter start tutoring at Sylvan after reading about success stories. Our daughter was finishing 4th grade and was testing at a 2nd grade reading level, we decided to meet with the sylvan team to see if they could help our daughter. They told us with confidence that our daughter after finishing the program they had set up for her would be on a beginning 5th grade level. We of course were on board with this because we would do anything for our child to help her succeed. We ended up paying $9,000 for her set program at Sylvan, about halfway through I was voicing my concerns that I haven’t noticed any difference in her reading. I was told many times she was making amazing progress until the sessions were about to end and I had my daughter tested somewhere else to really see where she was at.

I told Sylvan a month before she was finished with them that she had only gotten to a beginning 3rd grade level, the director that I met with said that it was because my daughter was an extremely slow learner. I told her that this is why we are paying a college tuition to get her help they assured us at the beginning they could do. When they failed they put the blame on my daughter, and the director also suggested that my daughter would never get into a college because she isn’t smart enough for it. After already being concerned about my child and her education, I then get told by Sylvan’s director that my daughter has no future was extremely difficult. Sylvan wasted my daughter's time and $9,000 of our already tight income.

Please don’t believe that they can do more than the free Reading Plus program, my daughter has done the reading plus program and has moved up levels faster than she did at Sylvan. Please don’t waste your money on a maybe. If I would’ve known back then what I know now I would have never taken my daughter to Sylvan. The teachers there are really nice but we didn’t want to pay that kind of money for nice teachers and still have a daughter falling behind. I’m not writing this to insult Sylvan, just to make sure no one else has this unfortunate experience.

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Sylvan Learning Centers response

Hi Katey - We're so sorry to hear you had a poor experience with us! At Sylvan, we understand how important results are, and we consider ourselves a part of your child's education team, which means we strive to work with you when you have concerns. We apologize that you did not have a better experience with us, and we’d like to help you find a solution. Please contact the Support Desk directly by emailing or calling 1-800-394-8353 – one of our team members will be happy to assist you. Thank you!

2 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 starResolution In Progress
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Sept. 17, 2019

When we first brought our grandson to Sylvan learning in our community (Temecula) the directors were kind and considerate of our situation. We have temporary custody of our grandson and he need immediate resources. The previous directors accommodate us on a weekly/hourly bases and we paid every week. Our grandson enjoyed going and we saw growth, so this is not about the teachers that actually provide services. Shortly after our grandson was going new ownership unexpectedly came in and took over and started meeting with the parents and not allowing any further communication with the old directors. From that point I felt uncomfortable with the new owners and felt it was all about financial and not the children. However, they informed me they were keeping the same children. They made no reference to changing how we paid, they gave us their hourly schedule and how many hours needed to see improvement.

We signed no new papers since the original start. Our grandson fell ill unexpectedly and missed two appointments. One I called before 10am and reported it, the second we were trying to get him to feel better and go, so I did not call until about 2pm to notify them. A week or two later they told me rudely that I had to make sure to call before 10AM. I accepted that and agreed, because I understand the impact to the teachers. Then another week later they told me that I had to pay monthly, with no warning. I told them they needed to speak to my husband. They told my husband the same thing, and then they claimed he unenrolled him from the school. My husband told me that he was told to call to confirm if my grandson would be attending on his scheduled day.

When I called to tell them he would be there should told me he unenrolled him, which my husband would have communicated to me. She also told me I had to pay monthly now, which as I stated had never been disclosed. She tried to tell me that I paid monthly the month before, when I know I did not and have proof. These actions by the Director reflect to me that it is not about the child and their learning, it is about the financial gain of the facility and there is no care for the children or families in the community. I am very disappointed, because my grandson enjoyed going and we saw growth. However, this new ownership is less than to be desired and rude.

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Sylvan Learning Centers response

Hello Yvonne - Thank you for getting in touch about this. We're so sorry to hear you had a poor experience with us! At Sylvan, helping children is the most important thing to us, and we’d like to help you find a solution. Please contact the Support Desk directly by emailing or calling 1-800-394-8353 – one of our team members will be happy to assist you. Thank you.

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Rated with 5 stars
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Sept. 12, 2019

We are extremely impressed with the learning experience that our son Ali has at Sylvan 130 Ave location. Ali has progressed and gained confidence at public school. That also was reflected on his report cards and started receiving high marks. Thank you Sylvan teachers for our great work and support.

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Rated with 5 stars
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Sept. 1, 2019

I sent my son to Sylvan when he was younger and it helped him, so I figured it'd help my granddaughter. She was several grade levels behind in reading. The tutors are focused on her reading, vocabulary, summary, and the important and unimportant details. Her self-confidence has gone up exponentially. She just started middle school and is now performing at grade level. I credit her confidence to Sylvan. She’s more accepting and not as frustrated. She has more focus and sees the value. Everyone has been nice, not only to my granddaughter but also to myself and her parents.

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Rated with 4 stars
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Aug. 22, 2019

My daughter's reading skills have improved within two weeks. And she has demonstrated a renewed interest in reading. As a third grader she is now reading 3-4 books and pages from a chapter book each night. I'm very satisfied with my daughter attending Sylvan Learning Center.

2 people found this review helpful
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Sylvan Learning Centers expert review by ConsumerAffairs

This company offers personalized tutoring and test prep for students of all levels at locations across the globe. Contact your location for specific details on pricing and payment plan options.

  • Sylvan Learning Center locations: Find a Sylvan Learning Center in any state in the U.S. as well as in Canada, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, China, Guam, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.

  • Sylvan Learning Center prices: Prices are competitive with after-hour activities and tutoring in your area. STEM programs start around $99.

  • Unique assessment process compares students to national norms: Students take a test and are observed by tutors prior to beginning service so 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.

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Sylvan Learning Centers Company Information

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Sylvan Learning Centers
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