If you have a computer and the internet, you can find a tutor online with a brief search. But who are the best companies for tutoring out there?
This article will explore that answer and analyse the benefits of online tutoring.
Online tutors are not limited by geography. They have no travel time to consider and neither do you. This means they can be very flexible when it comes to scheduling sessions and many offer by the minute rates, as opposed to by the hour.
Online tutors can be from anywhere in the world, so long as there is
no language barrier, your tutor options are vast.
The biggest benefit of tutoring online is the price compared to in-person private tutoring. In Canada, the difference can be as much as 30% less for an online tutor.
How do you know when you need a tutor? The Princeton Review has a great 5-point test:
- Your homework assignments are taking you all night, every night.
- You need more help than usual from the teacher or friends and are having trouble keeping up with the course load.
- You say, “I hate this course” a lot. Maybe you just “don’t get this course?”
- You’ve done all the homework. Studied for all the tests and your grades are still poor.
You’re ready to give up. You’ve stopped studying, handing in assignments or caring in general.
How Do I Choose the Best Online Tutor?
In order to make the best tutor selection possible, it’s best to refine what you need your tutor to do for you.
Here are 5 essential questions to ask yourself before you start your search:
- What subject(s) do you need help with? Math (calculus, algebra, geometry), science, English (proofreading, writing skills, writing assignments), French, chemistry, homework help, etc.
- What level are you at? Elementary, secondary, college level or graduate studies.
- What is your goal? Improve your grades, raise your academic performance to enter academically challenging programs, test taking and exam review, study skills.
- What is your budget? $20/hour or up to $50/hour?
- What is your availability? Evenings, weekends, how many times per week or month?
Now that you know the skillset, budget, and availability you need, you can comfortably go online and start your search.
What are the more popular subjects for academic support?
Math is far and away the most popular subject to tutor in Canada. Followed closely by English, then the languages and sciences.
Should you choose a student tutor or a professional tutor?
Student tutors have many things to recommend them and are often a great choice for elementary and secondary students who need to lift their marks and gain a mentor. Peer tutors have recently completed the grade work the tutee is studying, and therefore have recent test experience and assignments that can directly help.
Peer tutoring is also a wonderful way to motivate and inspire your students to do their best because it’s easy for both students to relate to one another. The older student becomes someone the younger student can look up to and that’s a powerful way to encourage your child to do their best.
Student tutors are more economical than full-time professional tutors.
High school tutors have less experience and their range of teaching levels is somewhat limited, hence their cheaper rate.
Professional tutors are a good choice when you need assistance in the later years of high school (Grade 11 & 12), university or graduate studies. They are also ideal if there are learning challenges that need to be overcome to help the student reach their full potential and academic success.
Lastly, a good litmus test when reaching out to a tutor is to see how long it takes them to respond back to you. The one who does so in the shortest amount of time, tells you two things: they are prompt and they are eager. If they are both, then it is highly likely they will value their new clients.
Connecting with Your Online Tutor
After you’ve done a search for online tutoring services and chosen a few contenders, you will have a few options ready to evaluate. Here are a few things to look for in a great tutor.
Credentials – the tutor should have recent course experience or have specialised in the subject, so you know they have mastered and can teach the correct elements.
Experience – depending on the age and scholastic level of the tutee, the tutor's experience can vary. However, the higher the grade of the student the more important the tutor’s experience will be. Keep in mind, the greater the tutor’s experience, the higher the price tag.
References – most online tutor candidates post their client referrals so you can feel comfortable with their skillset. To be extra certain of their reference’s veracity, you could ask the tutor to provide a contact number for one reference so you can check it independently.
It’s time to narrow down the candidates and interview your top 3. Grab the five questions you’ve prepared to ask them and go to town. We suggest you connect online via webcam if that is how you will be conducting the tutoring program. You can also ask most for one-hour free online tutoring, to test-drive so to speak, their services. If you are looking for individualised one-on-one tutoring, consider meeting them face-to-face.
Find out more about how to prepare for an online tutoring session.
How Do I Find Private Tutors Online?
Digital Ads or Word of Mouth
In the olden days, before the internet, classified ads were found in the back of newspapers and magazines. Now we have Yelp and Kijiji and a myriad of other local digital ad sites where tutors and students can connect.
On these sites, tutoring companies or private tutors will advertise their services and often (especially in the case of the tutoring centre) you can connect to their website to understand their service model and prices.
The difficulty in the case of private tutors advertising on these sites is you cannot easily verify their experience or references as they are not posted in the ad.
One of the best ways of finding a tutor is by word of mouth. A reference from a friend goes a long way to convincing us of a tutor’s skillset. That’s a great place to start, but what if you don’t know anybody who’s used a great tutor recently?
Online Tutoring Centres
Tutoring services can connect you to a tutor with all the specifications you require, quite quickly as they have a roster of available tutors at their fingertips. Another benefit of this method is if the tutor you’re matched with doesn’t suit you they will replace them with another one, easily. They also do all the vetting of their available tutors, so you know they will be qualified in supplemental instruction.
What’s the cost of all this background work and service? Higher hourly fees. Not just the tutoring fees but also registration fees and curriculum fees. It can add up quickly.
Online Tutoring Platforms
Superprof is one of the premier online tutoring agencies in the world and they have just expanded into the North American market. On this site you can filter for a tutor in your city/town, by subject and get a full profile of their experience, education credentials and references.
Some offer the first hour free and will commit to responding to all queries within 4 hours. That’s impressive when you consider these are all essentially academic entrepreneurs who want your business.
Another huge benefit of the virtual learning environment is rates are more competitive due to the level of competition to secure clients. Online you can easily pay $20/hour for a math tutor. Personal home math tutoring will generally cost you anywhere from $40/hour or more.
Once you settle on a few candidates, you can reach out for an interview. If you decide you like someone the sign-up fees are good for one year and you don’t need to pay them until you decide to hire one of the Superprof tutors. Payment from that point is between yourself and your tutor.
Ready! Set! Go!
Now you’re ready to hire your tutor. If you come from a smaller, rural town you may not have many established tutoring centres or tutoring programs available. This is where the online tutoring world has a greater advantage. They can serve anyone, anywhere as long as you have a computer and an internet connection, you can be tutored.
If you would like to learn more about the online tutoring world, check out article on how to get the most out of your online tutoring session.