When tutoring comes to mind, many people think a session occurs only either in-home or in a devoted tutoring center. However, many students enjoy meeting their tutor in a public atmosphere, which adds a little variety to their otherwise predictable schedule. 

While working with a student at their home can be beneficial to eliminate travel the student, their comfortable environment may lull and demotivate them from performing at their best with their tutor.  On the other hand, going to a tutoring center can be a little too formal for the student and cause a sense of dread.  The intermediate solution is to meet each other in a public spot which invigorates both parties and allows the student to perform at their best. Additionally, meeting in public can build a student’s social confidence, which will serve them well going forward into their college years to meet new people.

Not all public meeting places are made equally. When considering an appropriate venue, you should consider the following factors and rank them against your preferences:

  1. Safety: While most of Irvine is generally safe, conduct your own research in your neighborhood of choice to ensure your meeting spot is a safe place for both parties to meet.
  2. Distance: When selecting your meeting spot, it should be about halfway for your tutor and yourself to maximize the window of time you have available to work together. As a rule of thumb, your meeting spot should take no more than 12 minutes in busy traffic to reach for either party, but this ultimately depends on where your tutor is coming from as well.
  3. Environment: Different environments have different expectations when it comes to noise. While libraries tend to be quieter to allow patrons to focus and concentrate, coffee shops and restaurants might be noisier. It’s best to know beforehand whether your student is equipped to tune out noise or if they need a truly quiet environment.
  4. Volume: Every business has peak hours during the day in which the largest number of customers tend to visit.  When considering your meeting spot, check out the timestamps on Google to gauge the likelihood of the venue being busy during your chosen meeting time.
  5. Capacity: With volume, also consider the capacity (number of seats and tables). The size of the meeting spot can make or break the experience. If you decide to go somewhere with minimal square footage and tight parking, the probability of you and your tutor finding a spot could be slim, especially during peak hours.

When picking out a meeting spot, it is also wise to find an alternative location nearby in the event that your meeting spot is closed due to unforeseen circumstances, or becomes unexpectedly busy that having a productive session there would be infeasible. Having a Plan B is critical to ensuring that you are able to start with your tutor as close to the scheduled time as possible.

We have highlighted five public meeting locations in Eastern Irvine that our students and tutors have recommended. Please check the hyperlinks of each meeting spot for the most accurate information on their hours, capacity, and other pertinent information:

1 – Barnes & Noble, Jamboree Rd & El Camino Real

This bookstore is easily accessible off Interstate 5 and has a wide-open Starbucks café in the middle for students and tutors to meet. Additionally, if a student requires additional resources, you and your tutor can rummage the stacks for additional resources to hit the ground running.

2 – Woodbury Town Center

Woodbury Town Center is a vibrant community that features several coffee shops and restaurants, as well as extensive outdoor seating, which is ideal for the later parts of the day. Our tutors have met their students at Starbucks, Panera Bread, and Chick-fil-A. Additionally, Woodbury is also a great place for parents to do their shopping while waiting on their student’s sessions.

3 – OC Library: Heritage Park Regional Branch, Walnut & Yale Ave

The Heritage Park Regional Branch of Orange County’s library system is a gem within the city. Located right next to Heritage Park itself, this branch of the library is open until 8 PM most days and has ample quiet spaces for students to work. Akin to Barnes & Noble, students can check out free resources to help them in their classes, such as extra math books for practice problems, and other books that may aid the student in improving their performance.

4 – The Lost Bean @ Woodbridge Village, Barranca Pkwy

The Lost Bean is a spacious coffee shop that runs well into the evening for the late-night owls to get need their caffeine fix for their session. It is nestled right between Interstates 5 & 405, making it a convenient meeting spot for anyone in proximity.

5 – Starbucks, University & Michelson Dr

This branch of Starbucks is located right near the University of California Irvine campus, right in juxtaposition for those aspiring to apply to top-tier colleges. With a spacious interior and great outdoor seating with umbrellas to block out the sun, students and tutors can meet here to have their favorite drinks and pastries while diving into the subjects they choose during their sessions.

There are many other great places for tutors and students to meet, and these five represent only the tip of the iceberg of what’s available in the greater Irvine area. Do you have a favorite meeting spot? Let us know at [email protected]!

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