Tutor.com website offers help 24/7 for students in all subjects

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Jaimie Chun

A screenshot of the page that students who fill out the pre-session questionnaire will look at as they wait to be connected with their tutor.

Jaimie Chun

Junior Sierra Chavez had to memorize the definitions of what seemed like an endless list of terms for Advanced Placement [AP] Language and Composition teacher Teresa McCarty’s 100-words vocabulary test in December. 

But she kept finding it difficult to even remember the first one.

“I am usually not the best at vocabulary in particular,” Chavez said. “I wanted to do well on the test because it was going to bring my grade up tremendously if I did well on it, which I desperately needed only a few weeks before the finals.”

So Chavez remembered tutor.com, a 24-hour service that offers one-to-one tutoring.

Upon connecting with her tutor, the junior spent about two hours working with her mentor as she steadily started grasping the meaning of words in sets of five when her tutor guided her in writing sentences in context — the next day she got an 85% on the test, just the score she needed to cling onto an overall A grade.

Chavez is among a growing number of Sunny Hills students who are discovering the benefits of a free, online service called tutor.com.

The free service allows Sunny Hills students to interact with live tutors via chat or video conferencing and ask questions related to over 40 subjects, including AP Psychology and International Baccalaureate History of the Americas.

To access tutor.com’s features, students must be logged into their school account and can find the tutor.com icon on their Chrome app Launcher, which will direct students to a pre-questionnaire page where they can input their grade, subject, type in a question or attach a file related to the assignment that they need help with.

I wanted to do well on the test because it was going to bring my grade up tremendously if I did well on it, which I desperately needed only a few weeks before the finals.”

— junior Sierra Chavez

Students can also access links to tutorial videos on how to use tutor.com as well as a step-by-step guide on the last page of the Feb. 4 digital newsletter from interim principal Cathy Gach. 

According to tutor.com’s website, the people are U.S. residents across the globe and must be currently enrolled as a college sophomore or higher at an accredited university in pursuit of a four year degree. To ensure offering students only qualified subjects, prospective tutors must pass a rigorous vetting process and pass a subject exam and complete an interview.  

Though it sounds like students can just use this service to get the answers to their homework that they’re stuck on, that’s not the case.

According to students’ experience with the website, tutors will only guide students through the learning process, refraining from simply tossing them the answer without actually challenging the student to solve independently to ensure that they can solve it themselves when they leave the session.

“Working with the tutor late at night when none of my friends could be reached, and I would have to wait the next day to talk with my teacher was like a lifesaver,” sophomore Swaroop Krishnan said. “My tutor would use the virtual whiteboard to write down my take on the problem instead of holding something like a lecture where he’s just talking without checking if I understand in between — I’m doing the work.”

Foreseeing the help tutor.com could offer, math teacher Cristian Bueno actively shared tutor.com with the staff and students who missed it on the newsletter, uploading a Screencastify on the steps to using the website on the Google Classroom stream as well as sending it to the math department.

“I thought it would be a great tool for all the students who can’t stay after school for tutoring,” Bueno said.

Some students who have made use of tutor.com have seen the service boost more than just their grades.

“My main focus was obviously to strive for those better grades, but it was also helping me to step out of my comfort zone,” Chavez said. “Not only did I see my grade go up but also my confidence to ask other people for help when I needed it.”

 While the spring semester is almost at its halfway point, students are assured that tutor.com will still be available the rest of this semester.

In fact, the Fullerton Joint Union High School District’s Education Services department has been granted funds for a three-year contract with tutor.com to not exceed $90,000, data systems technician Evelyn Casillas said. 

“It’s a great tool and gives everyone an even playing field,” Bueno said. “I think it’s great that the district pays for this as students struggle, especially after our distance learning year.”