Recently, China was in the news for cracking down on tutoring companies. That makes for a rather odd crackdown and an even odder headline... until you know how the situation came to be.
China's education system is ultra-competitive. Students generally get only one shot at higher education - by earning high marks on the Gao Kao, their university entrance examination. The better the student's Gao Kao score, the higher-ranked university they are allowed to attend.
And, of course, the more prestigious their alma mater, the brighter their future career prospects.
So aggressive has the academic competition become in China that parents start their kids on a rigorous routine of learning when they're still toddlers. Indeed, the rule is: if the child is potty trained, they qualify for enrolment in preschool.
And the pressure doesn't let up: students often attend supplemental lessons late into the night and all during the weekend, all to position themselves at the forefront of the university list and, eventually, a better life.
It didn't take long for tutoring companies to cash in on parents' desperation. Learning centres, some homegrown and others imported, were making loads of money, sometimes - often - without the students or families gaining any academic advantage.
Hence, the Chinese government crackdown on tutoring services.
Of course, not all tutoring companies are out to make money at the expense of parents' dreams for their children's academic success. Indeed, some companies want nothing more than to connect students with qualified tutors.
That is Superprof's business model in a nutshell.
Let's now dive deeper into the Superprof philosophy, how we do business and what we can do for students of all ages.
How Superprof Got Their Start
China isn't the only country with a competitive academic system; France also has a pretty demanding one. Children may be enrolled in preschool when they're as young as two years old; they start their formal schooling at age six.
Sixteen years of education is compulsory. By the time they're 15 years old, students should already know which higher/further education path they will choose - technical, professional or standard development.
So, while not quite as competitive as China, students still operate under substantial pressure - both to perform well academically and decide, at such a young age and with no life experience, what their entire future will be.
Because of the intensity and strain of education in France, French parents have been engaging academic support coaches and tutors for their kids for decades.
There were only two problems with that: parents were limited in their choice of tutors to what/who was available nearby, and the relatively limited field of tutors (and the subjects they taught) meant tutors could (and sometimes did) charge handsomely.
And if those tutors already had a full schedule? The students were out of luck; there would be no academic support or supplemental learning.
All of that changed in 2013, when technology - the internet, video chat applications and webcams improved to make online lessons possible. Suddenly, local tutors had competition.
If a tutoring company in, say, Bordeaux had a steady stable of clients because they were the only one to provide such services, they now had to compete with tutors from all over the country who could afford to charge lower fees because they didn't have to live in a specific location or travel to students' homes to give lessons online.
That's where Superprof came in.
We established our platform in 2013, to connect students and tutors. It's a good thing we did, too! Within one year, we were the largest tutoring community in France - clearly, ours was a much-needed service. And, from there, we just kept going...
Find out what subjects are available on Superprof for you to learn about.
What You Can Learn With a Superprof
As you've been a student for so long, you know by now that learning is not simply a matter of being exposed to information; education is generally not a case of picking things up by osmosis.
You have to also learn how to use the information you're exposed to, how to put it into the context of everything else you've learned so far - both in and out of school and, finally, you have to be able to demonstrate your academic skills and regurgitate facts on demand.
In other words, perform well on exams.
Let's say maths is your nemesis. No matter how hard you try, you simply cannot get the logic of algebra; the ways to solve for X escape you and you have no patience at all for linear equations.
One of my students used to say: "Why do I need to learn all that when there are computers and calculators that can do all that for me?"
She had a point but missed the point of algebra lessons entirely - and this is where Superprofs are most beneficial.
Your schoolteachers have a lot on their plates. They have all your classmates (and all of the students in their other classes) to deal with, administrative tasks to complete, and they have to see to their continuing personal and professional development.
We like to think of teachers as wise fonts of knowledge, eternally and patiently dispensing information to all who ask but, the truth is, teachers are human, they work under a great deal of pressure and they sometimes (often) don't have time (or patience) for questions.
Your Superprof bridges the gap between the knowledge your teachers dispense and your understanding of it.
Tutors have the time to present academic concepts in new and different ways so that their students can get the best handle on them, cementing that knowledge into a strong foundation for further learning.
On the tutors' part, Superprof allows (former and current) teachers to fully embrace their passion for imparting knowledge by providing a platform to connect mentors with students, one on one.
Getting a Superprof Student Pass
There are several ways for you to discover Superprof. You can find our blog articles through your favourite search engine, get a recommendation from a classmate who knows all about Superprof or you could head directly to our Superprof homepage and pick your ideal tutor from the millions who have registered on our site.
The easiest way for you to narrow your selection down is to enter the subject you want to study and your geographical location. Once you set those filters, you can comb through the list of tutor profiles to find those whose experience and qualifications best match your needs.
Beware that, once you select a tutor and click on the 'book a class' button, you will be required to open an account, even if that tutor offers their first lesson free. This registration requirement is no different than if you wanted to use any other platform or application, including social media sites.
However, you should know that Superprof is fundamentally a subscription service. Your subscription to our platform gives you access to the 11+million tutors around the world who are ready to help you learn any subject you set your mind to.
We are not a tutoring company and the tutors on our platform do not work for us, they work for you. They are in business for themselves, so it is in their best interests to help you to the utmost of their ability because, like so much else in the business world, their success depends on their clients.
That's why Superprof tutors ask you to rate their service and give a testimonial to the good service they provided you.
Once you find the right tutor for your needs and you agree to take your learning relationship beyond the Superprof platform, you should cancel your subscription. That way, you only have to pay your tutor's fees; you get to save money by not paying for access to a platform you no longer need.
Find out more about how Superprof payments and charges work...
How to Get the Most from Superprof
As diligent as you surely are, you will investigate Superprof before signing up for a subscription. As you research, you'll likely call on sites such as Trustpilot, Glassdoor and others to read about past clients' experiences.
Overwhelmingly, Superprof reviews - from both tutors and learners are positive but there's a fair sprinkling of negative ones, too. Those reviewers mostly state that they were unaware that Superprof was a subscription service that provides access to tutors worldwide.
You are aware of that, so those negative reviews won't faze you at all.
Now that you've done your research and opted for a Superprof subscription, let's reveal how you can get the most for your money.
- know that the first month of your subscription is free; your account won't be charged until you make contact with a tutor or until 30 days have passed, whichever comes first
- look for tutors who offer their first hour of instruction at no cost
- target tutors who respond within 24 hours
- look for tutors who offer a range of instructional delivery methods; sometimes, online instruction is less expensive than in-person instruction
- Online lessons offer you a greater variety of tutors, too
- Find out if the tutor offers group lessons at a discounted rate
Group lessons are great if you and a couple of classmates need to prepare for exams. You may even benefit from a lower per-hour rate if you pool your resources.
The best way to find out how Superprof works is to try it out for yourself. Millions of learners can't be wrong; find out for yourself how Superprof tutors helped them succeed in school.
The platform that connects tutors and students