Neha Gupta is the CEO and Founder of both College Shortcuts and Elite Private Tutors, companies designed in order to help students navigate the college admission process, prep for various standardized tests such as the SAT, and to achieve better grades. Since establishing the companies, Gupta does not focus on helping any one age group, but rather assists students of all ages ranging from as early as 3 or 4 to those who are college-aged.
Gupta first discovered her love for tutoring when she had her first tutoring experience at age 15. Her parents, who were both entrepreneurs, supported her in her efforts to establish a tutoring company. She mentioned that the support of her family was a large factor that propelled her into her current field of work. Gupta is not the only person in her family who is involved in education. She stated that her grandparents own a school in India, which, taken into account alongside the fact that both of her parents are entrepreneurs, was likely a large influence on Gupta’s decision to go into the tutoring business. For Gupta, tutoring and helping students find a path to success is her passion. She and her tutors have helped thousands of students nationwide get into their top schools and to become stronger academically.
Guiding a student towards a course of study that will allow them to one day get the job of their dreams is an ambitious and challenging endeavor. Actually figuring out what we want to do is oftentimes an extraordinarily difficult task for most people to accomplish. Gupta, however, believes that this can be done as early as middle school. “If we look at a child’s strengths, their personalities, their weaknesses, what they love to do, what they hate to do, you can create an individualized profile and start finding different things and start seeing what it is they are going to succeed at,” Gupta said.
Job, internship, or volunteer experiences are some of the most useful tools that students can use in order to discover their interests. Once a student uncovers what it is they are interested in or passionate about, they are then given a goal that they can work towards and act upon. Having these experiences early will allow students to get a better understanding of what it is they may be interested in doing later on in life than if they just relied on topics that they learned about in school.
One of the largest strengths of tutoring, Gupta claims, is that it allows students to receive individualized attention that most schools are incapable of giving. While many schools are effective at catering to individual student needs, the experience is simply less personal than it is when working with a tutor since they are no longer competing for the attention of a guidance counselor or a teacher with what could be hundreds of other students. Consequently, some students may accidentally get overlooked due to the sheer number of students in most school systems. “With each student, regardless of age, we treat them very specifically depending on their own profile,” Gupta said. Individualized attention is something that can be highly beneficial for students since it will allow them to learn at their own pace and in their own way.
Early in her career, Gupta’s mother was able to help her secure an internship working for MD Anderson, one of the world’s most prominent cancer treatment centers. However, Gupta said that the experience was a poor fit for her due to outgoing personality. The work Gupta did while at MD Anderson involved working in a quiet office environment, which was not conducive to someone with a highly extraverted personality. She mentioned that although she was capable of performing her job at MD Anderson, Gupta was unhappy in the position because it was a poor fit for her personality. When considering a potential career, students should think whether a prospective job is actually right for them. Little details like the work environment one will find themselves in are often overlooked when one thinks about what it is they want to do one day.
Gupta also mentioned several ways in which she believes that the public education system could be improved. Many public schools have limited resources due to budgetary constraints. However, students and their family’s can take several steps in order to better prepare for college. Regarding the college admission and application process, Gupta gave insight into what could be done in order to better help students. She said, “Starting earlier in the college admission process would be key in helping a child’s success. So if discussions were beginning at around 8th or 9th grade, plans of action were being made around test prep, and essay writing were done earlier, this process wouldn’t be so painful.”
By simply opening up the discussion about college and potential career paths earlier, students will be able to obtain a better understanding of what they need to do in order to accomplish their goals. Talking about college, potential future majors, and ultimate career aspirations can allow students to make better decisions.
While tutoring can be challenging at times, Gupta mentions that it can also be a highly gratifying line of work. “One of the most rewarding moments is when it comes to the college process and them getting into college. I sometimes get the call or text before the parents do because the kid is that excited and they know that we’re that excited about them getting in.”
Gupta was only 15 when she discovered her love for tutoring. Now, she works to help other people find theirs. For students, discovering what it is they are interested in can be easily achieved so long as they receive the attention that they need and are given enough opportunity.