If you aspire to academic success, you may be in the market for an experienced, reasonably priced tutor who suits your needs and learning style With the pressures of modern life meaning we're all busier than ever, the flexibility and accessibility of online tutoring may appeal to you.

At first, finding a great online tutor can seem like a daunting task! However, with the magic of the internet and excellent user-friendly sites like Superprof, finding the perfect tutor for you need not be difficult. In this article, we'll show you how to make the search for an online tutor as quick and easy as possible.

Follow our tips when seeking out a tutor for private tuition
Get a head-start on the road to your perfect tutor with Superprof! Source: Pixabay Credit: Geralt

Contacting a Private Tutor Online

To save time and get the most from your first lesson, make sure you state upfront exactly what you're looking for in a tutor when first making contact.

Be specific about your level and discipline

“I need some help with science”

See anything wrong with this message? Of course, it's much too vague! Your tutor won't know your age, your level or whether you're seeking help with biology, physics or chemistry!

Try this...

“I am 16 years old, and I need help understanding my year 10 chemistry coursework"

A first message like this works much better - it's specific about the discipline and it mentions your age and level.

It can also be helpful to identify yourself as belonging to one of the three fundamental "stages" of instruction.

  • Beginner: you are at the beginning of your adventure, whether that's in maths, music or English.

    • Novice learners are often spoiled for choice when it comes to tutors as tutors of all levels welcome beginner learners. But beginner beware - if you don't know much about your subject yet, it may be hard to identify who is a high-quality tutor.

  • Intermediate: this means you've already had some exposure to the subject. Intermediate learners have also got the basics down and are now seeking out greater depth in their area of study.
    • Depending on the subject matter and your goals, intermediate learners often don't need lessons quite as frequently, as they have a good enough to level to keep working through the material on their own. This can be good for keeping costs down.

  • Expert: expert students have been studying for a while and are looking for mastery of their chosen subject area. Your goals might include preparing for an important exam or polishing your thesis paper. You'll need to seek out a highly qualified tutor with many years of experience."

Signpost Your Goals

Do you need math tutoring for the HSC General Maths Exam? Or are you browsing writing tutors to help you ace your thesis?

Do you want to pass AMEB Grades on the piano or guitar?

Or are you aiming to pass an English certification such as the TOEFL or IELTS for work or study purposes?

Aim to be as specific as possible about your goals and desired outcomes. This will save you lots of time when searching for your perfect tutor.

Communicate Your Availability

You can help get connected with the right tutor by giving specific criteria around the when and where of your lessons.

If you are only available on Thursday evenings between 6pm and 8pm, that will naturally limit the pool of available tutors.

Could online tutoring work for you, or are you looking for someone to come to your home?

If the convenience of a tutor coming to you appeals, be aware that tutors will charge travel fees for in-home tuition.

To maximise convenience for both you and the tutor, try to seek out someone who already lives in your area if you are looking for lessons in person.

Set your budget

Lesson prices can be affected by several factors:

  • Your location: private tutors in large urban centres such as Sydney and Melbourne will generally command higher rates than someone working rurally. However, this can also vary from suburb to suburb within the cities. 
  • Their level of expertise / Your level of study: an experienced professor with a Masters degree in your area of study will, of course, charge higher rates than a university student assisting with homework help over the summer holidays. Equally, your level of learning will determine the final price - a university student preparing for the LSAT exams will usually pay more than a teenager looking for help with Year 8 chemistry.
  • Subject material: very specialized tuition, such as piano lessons, will generally command higher rates than something more common, such as English grammar instruction.

Consider these criteria carefully and be careful what you wish for! If your online ad specifies that you're looking for tuition in advanced physics for $15 per hour, you likely won't get many responses.

Finally, be specific about how long you're seeking tutoring; only until an exam two months away? Or are you hoping to develop a long-term working relationship with your tutor as you advance in piano over many years?

Supply Your Contact Information

Many sites, including Superprof, allow you to be in direct communication with tutors through message services.

However, it's a good idea to also list your email address and phone number to make it easy for interested tutors to contact you.

Study after study shows that any kind of online profile that includes a photo will receive more clicks than those without. Upload a friendly picture to get the most number of profile views and find your perfect tutor fast.

Turn your academic struggles into triumphs with a private tutor.
Finding a tutor doesn't need to be difficult or stressful! Source: Pixabay Credit punttim

If you need help NOW...!

Perhaps you have an exam coming up in two weeks, and your ad has gone four days with no messages.

Don't panic!

With the private tutoring market booming, there are many learners and teachers posting profiles every day and yours may have gotten lost in the shuffle.

Simply amend your advertisement!

You can title your ad "Need Help Immediately" or "Urgent help needed!" to catch the eye of prospective tutors and communicate that things are pressing.

If you need a tutor urgently, it may be good to be flexible in your schedule or pricing to find a tutor who suits your needs.

Find a Private Tutor Quickly

There are many ways to find your perfect tutor fast.

As we said before, the in-home tutoring and online tuition markets are booming, and you can find profiles for tutors all over the web.

Superprof is one such site where you can find detailed profiles of tutors ready and willing to help. Each individual listing will include information on:

  • experience - whether that's in the field of study, as a private tutor, classroom teacher or researcher
  • credentials - we encourage tutors to be specific, so on our site, you'll be able to search for tutors who are experts in "jazz piano" or "Spanish guitar technique" rather than simply "music"
  • location - which area of the country they work in
  • if they offer online instruction, via webcam for example
  • their hourly rate
  • their average response time to students who get in contact
  • there's also feedback from past students

Read all this information carefully, especially the testimonials from other students, and look through several profiles before settling on a shortlist (say, 3 different tutors) to contact.

So You've Found Your Perfect Match...!

Great news, you've found someone who teaches your level and discipline and seems friendly and approachable to boot!

Make sure you plan your future lessons in your initial meeting, being clear on how often, when and how long you hope to meet - it would be a shame to let this great tutor slip away because of conflicting schedules.

If your desired tutor is in high demand, you could resolve a conflict in schedules by signing up for group online tutoring if they are already hosting a class at your preferred time.

In the first lesson, bring any materials essential to your learning; your assignment sheets, homework, school textbooks, notes, sheet music you've been working on. Being precise and well-prepared helps your tutor direct their help exactly where you need it and get the most out of your sessions.

Good communication, in the initial message, first lesson and beyond, will be key to growing a beneficial relationship with your tutor.

Free Private Tutoring Online?

Unfortunately, the cost of education is skyrocketing, which puts many bright young minds off entering higher education, let alone seeking out private tuition. But luckily, there are some great cheap and even free options popping up online.

If you're finding private tutoring is still outside your budget, you could check out Khan Academy, the tutoring website that charges you absolutely nothing.

Simply select your subject and you'll be led through a series of videos explaining the concepts behind some of the trickiest school subjects.

Khan tutoring videos offer explanations across several subjects, such as...

  • Maths: trigonometry, arithmetic, algebra, calculus, linear algebra and statistics

    • you will also be able to sort the  maths curriculum by grade or level

  • Science: health, chemistry, physics, chemistry, cosmology, biology

  • Computing: programming, computer science, animation

  • Economics: macroeconomics, finance, entrepreneurship

Alongside their videos, you'll also find lots of great practice exercises, as well as a personal tracker to keep tabs on your progress.

However, we should note that the Khan Academy tutoring videos are adapted to the American education system. The material will still be helpful to Australia students - and we love that it's 100% free! - you may need to go out of your way to seek out the specific level of science or maths you need.

If you are looking for a cost-effective local solution, you may want to seek out your city council.

Try inputting "(Your city) Council homework help" and seeing what comes up.

Many municipal libraries offer free academic support in core subjects such as English, maths and science. There's the added bonus of a free Internet connection, quiet space to study, and places to print your materials.

What services are offered by your local library?

Learning another language?

You could try Lang-8, a language exchange site offering a way to French, Spanish, German... even Tagalog!

You can sign up for free, and help other ESL students learn English whilst they provide conversation practice in your target language - be it Portuguese or Mandarin or Japanese!

Lang-8 operates like a social media site - you make posts in the language you are trying to learn, and others will give you individualized feedback by correcting your spelling, grammar or sentence structure. You can also improve your spoken language skills by inviting other users to video chat.

Helping others is like helping yourself - Henry Flagler

Find a tutor, improve your study skills and achieve academic success!
Make contact with the best tutors and achieve academic success! Source: Pixabay Credit: Rob Towne

And if Online Tutoring Isn't Your Thing?

No problem! You'll be able to access great tutoring services near you through several different means.

Take the information you put together for your online profile, and print out fliers to post up around your local community.

You could try bulletin boards at libraries or community centres, announcements at newsagents and supermarkets or go old-school with a classified ad in the newspaper.

Finding a qualified tutor through your social networks or word of mouth is an excellent option - and it's free! Let everyone know you're looking for a tutor by putting the word out through your mates, asking around at your institution or writing a post announcing that you're seeking a tutor on Instagram or Facebook. This comes with the added bonus that any tutor you find through word of mouth will probably already live locally and be part of your community, and you can verify their testimonials through your networks.

You never know - your perfect tutor might be your neighbour, family friend or sister of one of your mates!

There are thousands of tutors out there ready to help you out, so what are you waiting for? Find your perfect tutor through Superprof today!

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Erin is an Australian musician, writer and francophile living in France.