Sylvan Learning Centers
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Based on 178 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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321 Sylvan Learning Centers Consumer 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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8 people found this review helpful
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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 5 stars
Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Sept. 14, 2018

My son came home on the last day of school with a two on his EOG. Five was the highest and three was passing, but they passed him on from fifth grade to sixth grade anyway. He also got two fours in third grade and another four in the fourth grade, so two was a substantial drop. I wanted to make sure if the two was due to lack of skill even if he tried his best and did not blow up the test. We started middle school this fall with some foundation and his Sunday school teacher at the church recommended Sylvan. We sought reading tutorial for my son during the summer and we are also using them right now exclusively for the reading tutorial.

I ask my son regularly if he has been learning things and there has been an improvement so far. After the first month, I had a little parent meeting and they showed the official documentation of how my son can improve from the testing process that they used. It was nice to have concrete assessments showing specific skill improvement. Also, he has sounded more confident. He is a reluctant reader and has ADHD so he hates going. When we started the first month, we did two-hour stints but by the end of July, the people went screaming out the door and recommended that we back off to an hour because of his condition. But they also felt that he made faster progress than they anticipated. It turned out that my son blew off the EOG for whatever reason both in math and reading. He had better skills than the grade of two represented.

Sylvan's own system of assessing placed him behind his peers. He was like in the middle of the fifth-grade reading level. So even though he blew it off, it was not represented of what he could do and he still remains behind in spite of his performance. Now that school has started, we go to Sylvan twice a week only. He still hates it but he can do it for an hour. He absolutely loves the system of rewards which he is totally externally motivated. He tells me when he gets in the car every time we go how many tokens he earned and he frequently comes out with a toy from the cabinet. He recently won $15 in Target gift cards.

Moreover, my son concurrently did both types of tutoring in the month of July at Mathnasium and they did a paper and pencil kind of deal but at Sylvan, he gets to work on an iPad which is a super plus. He is super motivated by the bit of technology thrown in, too. The incentives are great and as a parent, I like the measurable assessments that show measurable growth. The tutors were super sweet and worked with his particular personality really well -- he only had one tutor that he did not care for. All in all, our experience with Sylvan has been great.

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2 people found this review helpful
Rated with 5 stars
Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Sept. 10, 2018

I had my granddaughter for the summer and she wanted to graduate early from high school. She wanted to get school behind her so she could have an opportunity to start studying art. But she also knew that her scholastics was important. So she wanted to do that and do it well. When she had met with her high school counselor, her counselor said that if she could take two particular subjects, she could get enough credits to graduate one year early. I told her if she would commit to put in the work, I would do what I could to get her through it.

So we signed up for online courses. She had to take English 3 and a Math Model, a wonderful course but very difficult. There was a lot of reading and writing for English and it was very time-consuming but she's very good in English. On the other hand, she found math challenging and when I looked at it, I could help her with a couple of problems but beyond that, we were in trouble. She was frantic and upset. At the same time, I was already $1,500 into it for those two courses. So for my financial reasons and her emotional ones, as well as for what she was wanting to do with her life, I promised we would do whatever it took to get through it.

I was not having trouble getting my granddaughter to do the work. I was having trouble getting the support for her to get it finished, getting the teachers to grade the work and getting it back so that I could go on to the next lesson. Then I was having trouble with getting the level of tutoring and the time that she needed to get the work done. We were on a time schedule and I couldn't depend on other people helping unless I knew that they were professional and as committed as we were.

I started worrying about the time so I looked at my options and I considered Sylvan. At first though, I was a little worried because they seemed to have programs that were keyed to younger students. They seemed to be more into students who struggle with math in third grade or in learning how to read. I talked to Mindy and she would come in and visit but I never got to talk to her. Then I started talking to Dara and I was very adamant about the plan. We were talking about three-hour sessions three times a week. So it was nine hours a week on tutoring, which was a lot. I asked if they could handle that and at first, they couldn't. But they worked with me.

Everybody had to adjust because the needs were very great. My granddaughter needed instructors who were more than what the elementary kids needed. So we had to get those instructors because the first math instructor couldn’t help her much. It was over his head also. It was taking hours to go through two or three problems and she had a whole semester of it to do. In these two areas, understanding what her needs were and then getting her the level of instruction that she needed, Sylvan was amazing. Also, in getting her the enormous amount of time that she needed, they made that available to her too. Dara worked with me and was amazing. She would call me to tell me what was available.

We had to do a little adjusting and Sylvan came up with it. It was very nice and I was amazed. We made it through and my granddaughter was so pleased. I was also so happy that I could follow through and help her to make it happen. And Sylvan was there supporting me every bit of the way. We could not have done it without them, especially Dara and their staff. It was a wonderful experience. It was difficult but it was really neat.

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Rated with 5 stars
Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Sept. 7, 2018

Different learning centers are popping up left and right out here, and I checked the cost. But when I checked into one, I didn’t really like their approach for a young person who is struggling at such an early age. It seemed a lot less hands-on. First off, I couldn’t understand why it was so cheap. Then I realized it was because you did most of the work yourself with packets they would send home. But we were already struggling with homework at home. I was also doing 20 minutes of math and reading with my grandson every night. For someone who has a little bit of a learning issue, that is a lot because they get frustrated or have lack of confidence. So why would I want packets sent home? That's ridiculous.

On the other hand, Sylvan is local and their reviews are good. I went there and the two sister owners were fantastic. When they were done testing my grandson, it was as though his teacher had emailed and told them what exactly was wrong. The woman who worked with him literally mimicked everything that his teacher had said. It was amazing. That was how I knew that they were on it and that was why we went with them. Plus Sylvan’s been around forever and their name has always been out there.

When we started with them, we focused on reading. At the time, my grandson was getting pulled out of class once a week to work in the school's reading program. But we never really saw improvement although we’re in a fantastic school district. We were working with him at home too. It was difficult and he was struggling. By the time Sylvan got him, we had taught him all his 300 sight words. But there’s more to it than that. He did know how to read but not well enough to his grade level. He was having trouble with decoding and getting up into the harder words. It wasn’t until we got with Sylvan Learning that we really saw the improvement. Sylvan really came in strong at all the decoding. And there’s been constant progress too.

We had had SST meetings but none of the teachers could get a handle on where the learning issue was because he’s not bouncing or all over the board. He’s a really well-behaved young man. But his focusing is off. Sylvan has caught on to that issue though, and they’re really good about working with his frustration. They’re very patient and I couldn’t ask for them to be better.

I didn't really like the vibe of one particular tutor. She was probably a nice enough tutor and just fine with everyone else. But I didn't feel it was quite working for my grandson. She told him that I was paying a lot of money to make sure he was getting what he needed so he would really need to put all of his focus into getting my money's worth. And that set off wrong with me. You don’t share that with a little seven-year-old. That wasn’t really her place to say either, and he already has enough low comments. I want them to stay focused on what he's supposed to learn. I don't want them trying to teach my grandson anything.

I let the tutor know that I wanted to change up and they were very understanding about that. That's what I like about Sylvan. There are little personality things and you have to be able to communicate with people. This particular location is fantastic. They care. They’re very hands-on and intuitive, and it starts from the top. Whenever it starts from the top and you have great owners or bosses, it’s gonna trickle down to the rest because they’re always there. I feel kind of sorry for them because they work so dang hard. But I can't say enough good things about them.

I’m also about helping the teachers. They need support from the parents, especially with a student who is struggling. Now that my grandson's in third grade, we’re fully into math because he’s so far behind on it. When the school psychologist asked what we've been doing on our side, we've told them about Sylvan and they think it's great. The school is very happy after I've told them about Sylvan. I’ve also recommended Sylvan multiple times to a lot of people.

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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.

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

Updated on 08/20/2019: No way to respond to reply of Sylvan, so let me just finish by saying that all the "sudden" closures over numerous years doesn't speak to your reputation as a company and the vetting you do of potential franchisees. Sylvan can't possibly expect people to believe that it receives none of the monies generated by its franchise, especially since there is a quality control factor. Be an upstanding business and give the people their money back.

Original review: While I had no problem with the tutors, the franchisee and the parent company are running disreputable businesses. The center with which I was involved closed suddenly, leaving over 50 families with no services and no refunds. Customers were out thousands of dollars. The franchisees (a co-owned franchise) refused to assist families with refunds, stating they were helpless because they had filed bankruptcy. The parent company, Sylvan Corporate, refused responsibility and compensation. We were offered the opportunity to attend another center, which was not an option for many of us who were already traveling extensive periods of time to get to the now- closed center. Personally, I would have to be on the road for approximately 3 hours, 15 minutes, twice a week.

Confronted with this information, Sylvan Learning Centers still refused any assistance, leaving me in debt to my lender for over $6,100. Other families had paid cash upfront, and have nowhere to turn. This has been a common practice with franchises all over the country for many years. I would NOT recommend this company as the risks of losing your investment in your child's education are too great.

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Sylvan Learning Centers response

Hi Karla - Sylvan Corporate is also disappointed about the sudden closure of the Colorado Springs Sylvan Learning Center by its franchise owners. Sylvan was not made aware of the closure in advance and was just as surprised as the families in the area when it closed. We have done our best to try to find local trained former staff members to offer make-up services, though this has not been successful as of yet. We have also offered make-up services at the Lone Tree location to customers who paid in advance for services that they did not receive prior to the Center’s closing. However, the franchise owners, rather than Sylvan Corporate, collected the payments from parents and it is their sole responsibility to provide refunds to settle the customer accounts. While Sylvan Corporate can offer services, we are unable to provide refunds because Sylvan Corporate did not receive the money from the families.

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

I gained custody of my nephew 5 years ago. He started 3rd grade with me and he's been behind in reading from the beginning. He'd missed out on a lot of foundational building skills. Even with IEP and Reading enrichment classes he couldn't catch up because his comprehension was not developed. 4 months after starting with Sylvan he tested at grade level at school and was allowed to have an elective for the last semester in his second year of Middle School. All because of the help at Sylvan.

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Rated with 5 stars
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: June 11, 2019

My son has been going to Sylvan Learning Center in Knightdale since summer of 2018 (a couple of evenings a week) to help him overcome some learning challenges he's been working through. Lack of confidence in reading and math, focus/visual learning issues, ADHD and social/emotional challenges were major hurdles when we started, and I am really impressed with the continued interest the Director and her teachers have in helping my son realize his potential and learn to work through his insecurities and try his best.

Through this process, we have also discovered my son's need for special glasses to help his eyes and brain to communicate more efficiently [so that he does not get get overwhelmed when he sees a page full of words]. The Sylvan Director and teachers have been valuable resources for me on my journey to help my son work through his learning issues, and I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for professional tutors who truly care. Thank you, Sylvan, for helping my son with reading, math, and spelling homework and for patiently helping my son learn to work through things that are "hard". Looking forward to continuing to work with you! - Mother of entering 3rd grader

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Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: May 29, 2019

This Sylvan isn't even using certified teachers anymore, and they have -8- students to a table. I thought Sylvan would give my child a better experience than this. What a HUGE disappointment. I cannot believe this owner is allowed to call his business "Sylvan". Are all Sylvan's going to this new standard? When I found out my daughter was being tutored by the RECEPTIONIST I was appalled. They laid off EVERY SINGLE good teacher and director, administrative staff and everything in between. I will NEVER trust Sylvan with my children again.

Sylvan Learning Centers response

Hi Elizabeth - We're so sorry to hear you had a poor experience at one of our locations! At Sylvan, we aim to keep a strict 3:1 student to teacher ratio, and all our teachers are certified. We'd like to try and make things right with you, so we're going to send you a private message with more details! We appreciate your feedback, as it helps us continually improve. We apologize again for your poor experience!

4 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
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