Peer Tutoring Frequently Asked Questions

Peer Tutoring Frequently Asked Questions

How can I qualify for Peer Tutoring? Do I need to have failed an exam?
Can I select my own Peer Tutor, or does someone arrange this for me?
What should Peer Tutoring pairs/groups do with their time?
What should I do if a Peer Tutoring match isn't helping my grade?
How much help can I get with my classes? Can I meet with a Tutor multiple times in one week?
What should I do if I need to cancel an appointment?


What's the minimum commitment of hours for Peer Tutoring?
How can I qualify to Peer Tutor?
How are Peer Tutors compensated?

What should I do if my Tutee doesn't show for an appointment?
The Tutee needs more help than I can provide. What should I do?
Is there training available for new Tutors?
I received Peer Tutoring in the past. Am I ineligible to become a Peer Tutor?

How can I qualify for Peer Tutoring? Do I need to have failed an exam?

Any student at Samuel Merritt University is eligible for tutoring support.

In addition to Peer Tutoring, we may ask you to take advantage of additional resources. These include:

  1. Making an Academic Counseling Appointment. There are several resource people on campus to help you with your academic skills, from study- and test-taking strategies to writing support. Please contact Katherine LeRoy to be directed to the appropriate person:
  2. Visiting Your Professor During Office Hours. Your instructor is an expert in their field, and keeps office hours to meet with students who are struggling. Spending 20-30 minutes with your professor, disclosing a struggle with a chapter, subject, or skill, and seeking their support first shows your investment and concern for their course. 
  3. Joining a Study Group. Health Sciences are a collaborative industry and it’s important to begin working with others early in your career. Study groups keep members accountable to reading assignments, and students support each other by filling in gaps in their understanding while realizing their own strengths and skills.

Can I pick the Tutor I want to work with?

Most Tutor-Tutee matching happens within the Upswing platform. When you fill out the Tutor Request Form you will receive instructions on how to use the online system. If there’s a Tutor you’re familiar with, whom you’ve worked with before, or who has a strong reputation, you can find them in the system and request a tutoring session. If the Tutor you have in mind isn't in the system, then let us know and we will see if that person is eligible to be a Tutor. 

What should Peer Tutoring pairs/groups do with their time?

Peer Tutoring pairs/groups will selectively review targeted concepts and skills for remediation. Tutors cannot review all content from your course, and cannot re-teach material. As a Tutee, it’s important that you come prepared for sessions. This means:

  1. Bringing all the resources and materials you want to review
  2. Looking at the specific, challenging content before you meet with your tutor
  3. Creating a list of questions and topics you want your Tutor to cover. Sending these to your tutor before your session will help your tutor prepare the best support possible.

There’s no rule about how long a tutoring session should go. Some pairs meet for 30 minutes at a time, while others work together for 2 or more hours but meet infrequently. How you arrange your tutoring schedule is a matter between the Tutor and Tutee, and their mutual availability.

What if this match just isn’t working for me?

There’s never a guarantee that a tutoring pair is going to be successful; two students from the same program may have very different approaches to studying and learning, and strong performance in a course does not always correlate to an ability to explain material.

If you feel that a match is not working for you, then you can simply find another Tutor in the Upswing system. If you run into any difficulties, call or e-mail the Academic Support Coordinator or one of the Tutor Coordinators, and we’ll attempt to connect you with a different Tutor.

How much help can I get with my classes? Can I meet with a Tutor multiple times a week?

SMU students can receive up to 25 hours of Peer Tutoring per semester, usually in one or two of their courses.

Tutoring is not intended to serve as re-teaching of material, or as a comprehensive remediation for an entire semester’s course load. Usually, tutoring pairs will meet for a few extended sessions to review and clarify material, or will meet briefly throughout the semester to check in and ensure comprehension of big concepts.

What if I need to cancel an appointment?

Let your Tutor know as soon as soon as possible. Missing a scheduled appointment is grounds for terminating a match, but there’s no penalty for cancelling a session with 24 hours’ notice. Tutors make tremendous efforts to balance their schedules and focus on their own course demands, and we frequently have students waiting to be matched with Peer Support.

I have a really packed schedule. What’s the minimum commitment of hours for Peer Tutoring?

There is no minimum commitment for Peer Tutoring. You are welcome to take on as many or as few hours as your schedule can accommodate. You’re welcome to adjust your schedule on the Upswing platform or withdraw from tutoring at any point in the semester by either calling us to let us know or simply not scheduling any open hours within the Upswing platform.

How can I qualify to be a Peer Tutor?

We prefer to recruit students who’ve earned strong marks in specific courses, have a professor who would recommend them as a Peer Tutor, and who feel comfortable explaining concepts and modeling problem solving for peers. Usually, we prefer that a Tutor has completed the course they’re covering, but we occasionally do allow students to tutor for courses in which they’re currently enrolled.

Prior tutoring experience always helps Tutors feel more comfortable in their role, but it is not a pre-requisite.

How do I get paid?

Peer Tutoring pays through both Work Study and Student Employment accounts, depending on which designation you are eligible. Tutoring pays at a rate of $15/hour. In addition, we compensate for prep time at a rate of 30 minutes for each 1.5 hours of direct tutoring, resulting in a higher per-hour rate.

Tutors submit time cards bi-weekly, and all record keeping and scheduling must be documented within the AskOnline platform or Tutors can not be paid. Timecards can be signed by Katherine LeRoy, Craig Elliot, or Terry Nordstrom, in Suite 1000 of the Peralta MOB.

What do I do if my Tutee doesn’t show up?

Let us know as soon as possible. You’ll be paid one hour for the first missed session, and staff from the Academic Support Office will contact the Tutee to see what happened.

The Tutee needs more help than I can give. What do I do?

Let the Tutor Coordinator or Academic Support Coordinator know. We can meet with the student to discuss study skills, test-taking skills, time management practices, and can refer the student to additional services most appropriate to their needs.

Is there training available for new tutors?

Yes! Before beginning tutoring, all Tutors meet with the Academic Support Coordinator to learn about registering for employment at SMU, to review simple instructional practices to guide your tutoring sessions, and to voice any questions or concerns you have before starting Peer Tutoring.

I received Peer Tutoring in the past. Am I ineligible to become a Peer Tutor?

Any student, from any academic background, may tutor courses in which they’ve excelled. Many of our students received support at one time in their academic careers, and many of them continue to receive support while tutoring others. Often, students who’ve had difficulties with a course in the past have the clearest understanding of the issues another student may be struggling with.


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