Anthony Beaumont from Hashtag Tuition shares his advice on how to become a private tutor whilst studying at university.
Let's be honest, earning money is always an issue for students. You're busy with your academic endeavours, your lifestyle is expensive and your student loan runs out oh so quickly. What you need is a job with flexible hours that pays well.
So, what could be more suitable than working as a private tutor? As a student tutor, you can expect to earn anywhere from £20-35/h, maybe more and all on your terms. This is Hashtag Tuition’s guide to becoming a private tutor as a university student:
Obtain a DBS Certificate
A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate is essentially, a criminal records check that certifies that you’re safe to work with children and young people. Having a DBS certificate makes you appear more professional and can increase your chances of finding work as a tutor.
As individuals can’t currently apply for DBS checks on themselves, you’ll need to obtain one through a tutoring agency, employer or a relevant umbrella body.
Gain Some Relevant Experience
When we match tutors to clients at #Tuition, we always focus on the tutors’ experience. Whether you've volunteered in a local school, taught English on a gap year or even assisted your siblings, your experience makes for a great narrative and it hones your skills too. Whatever experience you can gain before advertising as a tutor will help you in the early stages of your endeavours.
Join Tutoring Agencies
There are lots of tutoring agencies and education companies online that actively seek out great tutors. Generally speaking, there are two types of agency:
1. Those that are public and enable tutees to come directly to you after seeing your profile on their site, and
2. Those that are private and allocate you tutees as they see fit.
Tutoring agencies usually charge a commission on each lesson you give, which can vary from 10% - 30% of your hourly rate. Other agencies don’t take a commission from you directly; instead, they may add a mark-up price to your hourly rate, which is charged to the tutee. In some cases, an agency may charge tutees an introductory fee for the release of your details. In any case, getting your name out there and joining several agencies at once can ensure you a steady stream of tutees.
Work on Your Online Profile
Nowadays, people tend to search for private tuition online, so you’ll want to make sure that your online profiles stand out. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus are all good social media platforms for student tutors and can be a great way to establish your authority in your local area. Likewise, registering on private tutor directories like The Tutor Website can help bring you more work.
One piece of advice that I think is essential to crafting your online profile is to give some thought to your profile photos. When you set up your social media pages and register with online communities, you’ll want your profile photo to look as professional as possible. You don’t need to go as far as looking out your shirt and tie, but you also don’t want to upload any photos of you looking worse for wear on a night out. Your profile photos set the tone for how people will view you and your tutoring business, so make it count.
Keep Your Holidays Reasonably Free
A lot of tutors find themselves busiest during school and university holidays. Being a student yourself, however, this can put you in the difficult situation of deciding whether you’ll tutor during term time. A few hours a week might be fine but be aware that working while studying can sometimes affect your academic performance, particularly if you find your tutoring sessions becoming stressful. As an alternative to taking on lots of work during term time, you might want to keep some of your holiday days free so you can work without having to worry about studying and take on extra students.
Be Prepared to Travel
You should consider how far you’re willing to travel to tutees’ homes and think about potential travel costs. If you live in a remote area, your ability to travel will greatly increase your ability to make money through tutoring. Although being able to drive is a big plus, the cost of petrol can be expensive and public transport will invariably take you further, faster.
If you're registered with a good agency (like #Tuition), your travel expenses should be covered throughout the course of your lessons.
Charge What You’re Worth
If you’re to make a reasonable income tutoring, you need to make sure you’re charging what you’re worth. The going rate for tutoring as a student tends to be between £20 and £35 per hour, which enables you to sustain a good part time income with only a few students taking one weekly lesson. As a student, you have the added advantage of having completed your GCSE’s and A Level’s not so long ago, meaning you’re arguably in a better position to impart your wisdom than anyone else.
By Anthony Beaumont - Founder, Hashtag Tuition.
For more information on marketing as a private tutor, check out our posts How to Market your Private Tutoring Business Online and How Can I Market Myself as a Private Tutor in my Local Area?
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tamuc/14120891628