The Best Online Tutoring Resources for College

College is challenging. 

It’s a time where we push ourselves past our comfort zone to explore, learn, fail and grow. Building new friendships, exploring new places and learning more about yourself are all cornerstones of a desired college experience.

Balancing academic demands with relationships, finding internships or anything else that competes for your time  is a leading cause of stress among college students. On top of this, the pandemic has escalated this challenge to achieve balance and find the academic support needed as it has forced more interactions to move online. It’s important to know what online resources are available to you to maximize your chances of academic and general success. 

The most important thing to first know when learning difficult new concepts is that it’s possible with the right mindset!

Carol Dweck is a leading researcher on mindsets from Stanford and reminds us of her famous work championing study of the growth vs fixed mindset. 

In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that's that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don't necessarily think everyone's the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it. —Carol Dweck, Stanford University

Changing your mindset and shedding the idea that your learning ceiling is fixed requires a shift in habits but, I can attest, doing so allows you to accomplish your goals with less friction.

The most prosperous and least painful way to accomplish your academic goals is to recognize that we’re all human and will most likely need support of some kind throughout the academic term and proactively find resources to help. That’s OK.

Growth mindset? Check. Self-reflection? Whoa. “A goal without a plan is just a wish”. “You must know yourself to grow yourself” Ok, enough with the heady quotes. The bottom line is a little self knowledge and planning at the beginning of your academic term can go a long way towards a happier, more productive and balanced time as a student. 

A healthy self reflection can go something like this: “Ok, I know I really struggled with Math 10A last quarter. But I have learned that I am a visual learner that just needs a little extra support whether that’s studying with friends, a tutor or attending office hours to solidify the basics.” With this helpful, non-judgemental information, action can then be taken on this to map out your academic term to plan out for anticipated shortcomings. 

For example, 

  • visual learners could get a lot of value from GoConqr or Quizlet by building flash cards. 
  • Knowing that I learn well with others could lead me to find study friends through my class’ online learning management system (blackboard, teamworks, moodle etc) or facebook group as well as find and attend virtual office hours or tutoring times.
  • Because I know that I have struggled with math, learning the basics is a essential to succeeding in math so I might check out supplementary options like Khan academy, Edx or YouTube. Alternatively, the OWL is helpful for writing support. Working on the basics builds up confidence!

The pandemic has forced most academic interactions into zoom meetings for the foreseeable future. In addition to online lectures, office hours and tutoring opportunities have also moved online at most universities. This makes attending class more manageable but can also make finding academic support challenging. Don’t worry, there’s a way to solve this! 

We advise you to find out which online academic support options are available to you by reviewing your syllabus as soon as possible. This is a helpful way to understand when peer tutoring sessions, office hours or other instruction are virtually available. 

Here’s an example at UC Berkeley where the Econ department has listed peer tutoring opportunities at specific times where you can get support for your lower division classes. Still struggling to find support after seeking out these opportunities? A quick email to your department’s student advising team, your professor or teaching assistant could reveal additional time slots to receive more support. Remember, these advisor’s and faculty’s main role is to support their department’s students - take advantage of the services that are available to you for free! In addition to department level support, your university might offer school-wide tutoring options for lower division classes or supplemental instruction. 

Knowing yourself and learning which learning opportunities are available to you is one thing, taking action on it is another! Some things are easier said than done. A helpful way to remind yourself of these opportunities is to add office hours, lectures, study sessions and available tutoring times to your personal calendar. Set reminders and schedule your time so that you can prioritize attending these sessions. 

The goal of making study friends, attending study sessions, office hours, available tutoring hours and lectures, is to create a support system that you can lean on for help when you need it. Proactively building this network allows for you to reach out for help any time you’re stuck and eliminates the stress of finding support last minute.

Look, we’ve all been there - stressful late night scrambling to finish a project, assignment or study for a test in the morning. It’s not fun and we all swear it will never happen again, but we’re human and it happens. 

Don’t panic! Ideally you have taken the time to proactively build an academic support system but if not, don’t worry because you have options.

If you haven’t already, search for academic support available to you wherever you can. Look in your syllabus, your department’s or university’s website, in your learning management tool or ask friends to understand if any test prep, tutoring or office hours might be available at the 9th hour. Reach out to any study friends or post on your class’ learning management system’s page to find any that might be in a similar situation. Those friends might be willing to create a test-prep shared document or share one that’s already been created with you. You never know!

Using online homework or test-prep help like Chegg or Coursehero might be good last ditch options to use as a tool to understand how to answer a question. Accomplishing this on your own can be done but if you don’t know where to start or get stuck with a concept, the TutorTree app is an accessible way to access quality tutors at your university who can help guide you. 

We express caution when using Chegg or Coursehero because it’s very easy to copy what the answer is if you’re able to find and pay for your exact homework or test. More and more universities are cracking down on using this service for this use case by labeling students caught doing this as academically dishonest. Finding a tutor with TutorTree can not only help you immediately with your assignment or test but, with enough commitment, can build academic confidence through reviewing the basics and teaching you how to reach the answer, not just what the answer is.

While your classes’ office hours or free peer tutoring might not be available at 11 pm the night before your big final, TutorTree will be! TutorTree is a peer tutoring platform for college students seeking academic support that's an easily accessible iOS app

Whether you’re stuck on your paper or lost prepping for your math test tomorrow, use TutorTree to find another student tutor at your university that has demonstrated success in your subject, and might have even taken that same class. 

Finding a qualified tutor at any hour is as easy as selecting your subject, course and then identifying a tutor that is available through the app. You can find the best tutor for you by comparing tutor’s bio, reviews and number of completed sessions by tapping the available tutors on the bottom of the scheduling page. To have the most productive session, we suggest you reach out to your tutor through the app’s built in messaging, and share what it is you’re struggling with. 

TutorTree has enabled over 2100 tutoring sessions at the University of Oregon since our founding in 2018. We truly believe in the value of students helping students which is why we’re launching the app this fall at UC Berkeley, University of Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, San Jose State, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, UCLA, Pepperdine, USC and San Diego State.