Tutor.com: an accessible tutoring service for students

New online tutoring has recently gained notice at the school, providing free, fast academic support to all Seattle Public Schools students


Emma Steinburg

Student explores Tutor.com, a free tutoring service for all SPS students.

Marley Helfer, Staff Reporter

The online tutoring service Tutor.com has become popular among students and teachers this year, giving students access to free, on-demand tutoring services. 

Through their Seattle Public Library (SPL) account, students can receive one-on-one tutoring all day for core classes, AP classes, college-related materials, test preparation and paper review. 

TuesD Chambers, librarian and library department head, spoke on the new tutoring website. “In terms of a service that’s easy to follow, easy to understand, has systems in place for safety… it’s a really great tool,” Chambers said.

As a free tutoring service, Tutor.com provides students with affordable academic support which was previously hard to come by. 

“Reading tutors are $75-$150 an hour,” Chambers said. “And teachers can’t be everywhere and help everyone. I think this is one more way to assist families.”

Marley Helfer

Teachers like English Language Arts (ELA) teacher Theresa Burton used Tutor.com this fall with her Comparative Literature class, giving her students direct exposure to the service. 

“[Tutoring] is pretty pricey,” Burton said. “I know it can be really tricky for families to get that.”

While initially launched in 1988, students gained access to the service in 2017 when Seattle Public Schools partnered with The Seattle Public Library to create the Library Link. 

“So it means everything that [SPL] has available online, you now have access to,” Chambers said. “They just made it really easy for librarians and teachers to give [all students] access to anything digital.” This followed a larger pattern of school districts throughout the nation partnering with their cities’ library systems.

 Tutor.com is now partnered with The Princeton Review and the Department of Defense as well, helping students across the country receive academic support. 

Despite its presence nationwide, teachers at BHS only recently became widely aware of the service. 

“This year, I presented it at a staff meeting, so all the teachers then knew about it,” Chambers said, “and because the teachers knew about it, everybody learned about it.”

The service has become especially popular in ELA classrooms, especially with its on-demand paper review option.

“We had an overwhelming amount [of students] who had some really great experiences,” Burton said. “[They] had a lot of great feedback, things that were really helpful for them, that were very specific…”

Junior Zara Van Bronkhorst found the service helpful as well. 

“It was very fast, the people who reviewed [my narrative] gave me really good feedback on grammar and sentence structure,” Van Bronkhorst said after using the service for her American Literature and Composition class. 

However, some students have found the service underwhelming in some respects. 

“It was pretty good, but some of the prompts for the text boxes were a little vague,” Junior Faolam Lynx Jowaisas said, “but it gave good feedback.”

This remained a common thread through both student and teacher experiences.

“I had a couple students who didn’t get much feedback and didn’t feel like they got a whole lot out of it,” Burton said.

Nonetheless, Tutor.com gives students access to something that’s hard to achieve with in-person support.

“I couldn’t necessarily edit 150 plus essays in a 12-hour period,” Burton said. “This gave students a little bit more feedback in a really fast turnaround, so that they could do a lot more with that.”