It’s 10:30 pm. Your child starts to panic about tomorrow’s test and asks for your help. He thought he could figure it out on his own, but he just doesn’t get the concept that they just covered in algebra, or geometry, or physics, or history, or, well, you get the picture. You want to help but…
There comes a milestone in life that every parent dreads: when your child asks for help with homework and you have no clue how to help. Or worse, you think you know but you’re wrong.
At some point, a child’s education surpasses our retained knowledge. Perhaps you learned these concepts in school but the years have washed away your learning. Or maybe your education never covered the topic at hand so your parental guidance is sorely lacking.
At this point you’re probably wishing for a magic fairy to come help your child with his studies.
Tech can help.
InstaEDU can provide you with a tutor from a top university within seconds. InstaEDU is an online service that provides instant tutoring from top university students any time you need it. The company was founded in May and now has about 1000 tutors.
I recently spoke with Alison Johnston, Founder and CEO of InstaEDU, about their online tutoring services. She explained, “Our goal is to allow any student to get one-on-one academic support whenever they need it. The way we do that is by allowing both high school and college students to connect with tutors from top universities, both on-demand and through scheduled lessons on our site. InstaEDU creates the tutoring process in a much more flexible and affordable manor.”
The company uses students as tutors because it believes that students relate well to other students. “We think that having tutors who can relate to students is really important,” said Johnston.
Connections between students and tutors are made through InstaEDU’s website using shared lesson space, including video, audio and text chats. The site provides document sharing as well as a virtual white board, so students can upload papers for a tutor’s review and discuss suggested changes.
Students have the option of rating a tutor after every session. “We monitor those ratings very closely,” said Johnston. “We see that the vast, vast majority of sessions are rated positively.” They haven’t had an issue with a tutor getting consistently bad reviews, but they would act quickly in that situation to remove the tutor from the program, according to Johnston.
How InstaEDU Works
To get tutoring through InstaEDU, sign up for either a parent or student account. Parents who sign up for an account get an email every time their child uses the service and can see summaries of their child’s activities on the site. Parents can also schedule sessions for their child.
Students can get direct access to tutors whether they signed up themselves or through a parent account.
InstaEDU offers three types of tutoring:
- SAT/ACT Prep
With Instant tutoring, students choose a subject and the site shows tutors who are available to help, including their pictures, schools and qualifications. Johnston said that their average time to connect a student with a tutor is 35 seconds.
Scheduled tutoring is handy for those who know they need help ahead of time and want to schedule a tutoring session, perhaps with a favorite tutor. “A lot of our scheduled lessons actually come from people having an on-demand lesson, liking the tutor and saying, ‘Hey, let’s work together again,'” said Johnston.
InstaEDU also offers SAT/ACT prep tutoring programs, which are long-term, customized courses. Programs between 8 and 24 hours of one-on-one instruction are available and include practice tests. Programs are priced from $360-$960. You can find out more information about SAT/ACT prep at the website.
Who Can Use InstaEDU?
According to Johnston, most of the students who use InstaEDU are high school and college students, but the site will accept students as young as 13.
The company is getting requests for tutors from around the world. Students who want to practice English will use tutors, especially in preparation for applying to college in the US.
Johnston also noted that InstaEDU is getting more adult students who may be taking online classes but don’t have the classroom experience to get extra help when they need it.
InstaEDU charges by the minute, with a minimum of five minutes per session. You only pay for what you use.
Tutoring costs 50¢/minute or $30/hour. Prices are reduced if you commit to purchasing tutoring ahead of time. For example, if you commit to one hour per week of tutoring, the price is 42¢/minute or $25/hour. If you commit to two hours or more of tutoring a week, the price is 37¢/minute or $22/hour. You can cancel the commitment at any time.
InstaEDU lets you try their service for free. The site gives you 10 minutes of free tutoring when you sign up. If you commit to an hour of tutoring a week, you get an hour of free tutoring. If you commit to two hours a week, you can get two free hours of tutoring.
To sign up for InstaEDU, you can go to their website, which will get you an extra five minutes of tutoring free. (This is not an affiliate link.)
InstaEDU provided me with 50 additional minutes of free time so that my daughter, who is a high school student, could test the service.
When my daughter first went on the site for help with chemistry, there were 11 pages of students available to help, including students from Cornell, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, Duke, Columbia, Harvard, and other prestigious universities. (You can view InstaEDU chemistry tutors here.) She chose Blake, a biochemistry major at Washington University in St. Louis.
Her tutoring session lasted 15 minutes and she was impressed not only with Blake’s knowledge, but also that he was able to explain concepts so she could understand them. He repeatedly checked to make sure she understood what he was saying. Blake also contacted her after the tutoring session was over to make sure she understood the concepts and to see if she wanted to schedule another tutoring session.
My daughter used InstaEDU two other times. One time her Wi-Fi connection at the school was weak so she didn’t have a good connection with her tutor. The other time she had a different tutor, Acata, a biology major with Honors in Marine Biology from Stanford University, who was very helpful in explaining chemistry.
My daughter was very impressed with the service and plans to use it again in the future.
Becoming a Tutor
University students who want to make $20/hour in their free time should consider becoming an InstaEDU tutor. “It’s a great job if you’re a college student,” explained Johnston. “$20/hour from your dorm room, no commute, on your schedule, it’s basically the perfect college job.”
InstaEDU accepts tutors from top US universities who have previous tutoring or teaching experience. “The vast majority of our tutors have traditional tutoring experience,” Johnston explained, but formal tutoring isn’t required. The prior experience could be helping siblings with homework.
To apply to become a tutor, you must connect with Facebook or have a .edu email address from your university so that InstaEDU can confirm your attendance at your school. After you’re approved, just go online with either Facebook or GChat (Google Chat) when you’re available. InstaEDU will contact you using Facebook or GChat to connect you with a student who needs tutoring.
To find out more about becoming an InstaEDU tutor, go to their website.
InstaEDU gives you instant tutoring when you need it most.
Have you ever been stumped in helping your kids with their homework? Would you like instant access to tutoring? Do you know someone who might be a good InstaEDU tutor? Let us know in the Comments section below!