Five Types of Students Who Benefit from Online Tutoring


By Brett Montrose

I joined an online tutoring startup while it was in its infancy. The platform was just leaving beta and our team was onboarding the first waves of tutors, constantly fine tuning the website, and genuinely looking forward to eventually seeing our infrastructure flooded with knowledge-thirsty students.

Thinking back to that phase in our company’s growth is an incredible reflection. It’s interesting because we knew we wanted to help students, but we didn’t know what types of students were going to (a) be attracted to our online tutoring service and (b) benefit most from connecting with tutors in our classroom. We had no clue how much learning we ourselves were about to do.

Since then, we’ve been able to gather a lot of data about the students using our site analytics and through thousands of conversations with them. These experiences have allowed us to develop a much more thorough understanding of our user base. In turn, we’ve noticed that there are certain characteristics of the students visiting our site that we encounter far more often than others.

I’ve used these characteristics to identify the following five types of students I often see who benefit the most from online tutoring. These student descriptions could be helpful for parents, teachers, counselors, school administration and students themselves, who are considering online tutoring as an academic resource. If a student you know falls into any of the categories below, online tutoring could be a good way to help them boost their academic performance and confidence.

1. The Struggling High School Math Student

High school math is probably the subject that we most often see as a pain point for students. When these students get behind in class, it’s tough to catch up without a lot of extra effort and one-on-one time with their teacher or a personal tutor. We find that once these students spend time learning with a licensed math teacher who teaches at the right pace and to the right learning style, students are able to grasp the same material as their peers who happened to find success learning solely in a traditional classroom model.

For the struggling high school math student, success in math could be a gateway to their desired college. On the other hand, failing to recognize and be proactive about the in-class struggle could prevent the student from doing what they’ve got their post-secondary hopes set on.

2. The ESL Student

Learning English as a second language is extremely challenging, so finding the right ESL instructor is absolutely crucial to a student’s success.

A qualified and experienced ESL instructor has the ability to predict where a student will struggle based on their native language. For example, a student who is a native Japanese speaker will struggle with different English language concepts than a native Spanish speaker. Further, a good teacher will plan lessons for their students that are engaging and add an element of fun; well versed ESL instructors will often integrate pop culture that interests the students to teach key language concepts.

Using an online tutoring platform to connect with an ESL instructor allows the student to bridge distances, so that he or she can learn with one of these hard-to-find instructors from anywhere in the world.

3. The Last Minute “I Need Help!” Student

Whether they’re in middle school, high school or college, we see a lot of this student. This is the student who realizes last minute that they need homework help. The scenario is typically something like this: It’s too late for the student to ask the teacher or instructor for assistance, their parents or peers don’t have the expertise they need and even an in-person tutor is out of the question.

Online tutoring is effective here because the student is able to connect with a tutor who could be located anywhere in the world while the student is on their computer or mobile device at home (or on campus, or on a sports road trip). Further, the student is able to ensure that they are learning with a professional tutor who’s qualified and experienced in tutoring the specific subject and grade (or higher ed) level they need help with.

4. The Homeschool Student

Homeschool students often have specific and unique individual learning goals. They work closely with their instructor—often a parent—and sometimes with a handful of other specialized educators. Naturally, the composition of their education means that there could be an academic subject that they don’t have a teacher or tutor for, so they often go online in search of a tutor who can support them in a very specific area of their studies. Online tutoring is a brilliant resource for homeschool students – a fantastic online tutor with the right set of credentials can fill gaps in a student’s education without costing a fortune.

5. The Adult College Student

An “adult college student” is someone who hasn’t been active in the world of academia for several years. Maybe they graduated high school 15 years ago and recently decided that pursuing further education was right for them. Perhaps they started a degree they’ve decided to go back and finish. Or maybe they could open up new career opportunities by pursuing college education.

There are a couple of reasons why online tutoring is such a good fit among these students. The classroom has changed a lot since they were last in school. Whereas everything used to be pen(cil) and paper, the college campus is now a digital place—assignments are completed and submitted entirely online. These students often need one-on-one support while working on connected devices. Online tutoring is able to help with digital and computer literacy while also helping the student with their assignments and test preparation.

Many adult college students have jobs, careers, or children to be concerned with. As a result, they often elect to attend online colleges or simply to take online courses from their local college. Whether their courses are self-paced or not, these students don’t have an instructor to help them when they’re stuck. Weekly sessions with a professional online tutor has proven to help students avoid getting stuck in these online courses, and also to help them get un-stuck.

Of course, it’s important to note that each and every student is unique and encounters their own speed bumps, roadblocks and traffic jams on their educational journey, so these categories are meant to be broad boxes, not narrow student descriptions. However, learning one-on-one with a brilliant instructor is one of the best learning experiences a student of any discipline or level will benefit from.

For more, see:

Brett Montrose is a marketing specialist at Skooli Online Tutoring. Follow him on Twitter: @brett_nineone

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Ridley Fitzgerald

My son is definitely in the first category you mention. His math grade is abysmal, but everything else is pretty good. I like the idea of finding a tutor who will teach him at his own pace, so thanks for the info!

Dave Anderson

In school, I was the student who would procrastinate and get help at the very last minute. That is what my children are starting to do, so it would be good to have them talk to a professional tutor who is qualified in tutoring in a specific subject. A lot of the stuff they are learning now, I don't know how to help them with. A tutor who knows the subjects would be best.

Elena McAdams

Thanks for addressing about the group of students who prefer to enroll in online teaching service. Recently, the internet has been emerging as an important and most promising source of information. It could be utilized for study and a diverse group of students wants to enroll in online classes to improve their knowledge. Online tutoring has been emerging as an important source of knowledge and helps a lot of students throughout the world. However, students need to be very careful while selecting such an online tutoring service to prevent any major financial loss.

Shammy Peterson

It made sense to me when you said that it is tough to catch up without a lot of extra effort, so it is best to have one-on-one time with a personal tutor. This reminded me of my nephew who will take the ACT test, and he wants to pass the exam. He mentioned the difficulties that he has been experiencing because of Math knowledge problems, so I will ask him to consider your tips.

Amy Saunders

Hey there! My son has been stumbling upon some difficulties in understanding some of his college subjects. It's great to know that virtual tutoring could even benefit those in higher learning institutions as well. I'll ask him to take a closer look into this option so he can improve his academic performance afterwards.

Lily Bridgers

Good day! My kid has been having some trouble comprehending several of his college courses. It's encouraging to hear that virtual tutoring may also help students enrolled in colleges and universities. I'll ask him to look into this choice more thoroughly so that he can later enhance his academic achievement. I bet I can find the best Virtual Primary School Math Tutor for him.

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