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How to Choose the Right US Online Tutoring Website

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As with all of the categories we review, our investigation into the best USA Online Tutoring and Homework Help services is one of the most comprehensive and all-encompassing you will find anywhere online. We have gone to great efforts to ensure that all of the major players in this category have been subject to the same in-depth review process. Even with all of this information to hand, it can still be hard to know what to look for when you’re choosing a tutoring service that fits your needs and expectations. This buying guide helps our readers interpret the information included in our reviews to help them make an informed decision.  

What is Online Tutoring?

Online Tutoring is a general term that encompasses a wide range of different resources, tools and services that help students by allowing them to supplement their regular learning and improve their grades. One of the most impressive uses of modern technology in this field, as well as the basis of what most online tutoring services offer, is providing access to a great expert tutor who can help them by working through problems and tasks and introducing them to new concepts. Tutors give lessons or tutorials through webcam, webchat or by recording videos, giving students the opportunity to benefit from real-time teaching without having to travel or attend a learning center. Services commonly also include a range of additional resources that help practice examination techniques and build confidence.

Key Considerations & Features:

The exact content of the services we have reviewed within this category varies considerably, not least with regard to the amount of resources and materials provided and the levels and subjects covered. The list that follows outlines the features and considerations you should look out for when choosing an online tutoring service:

  1. Subject Coverage:
    Not all online tutoring services cover al subjects universally, in fact, many limit themselves to providing tutoring support for only a couple of subjects, such as math or science. It’s important to take the time to consider whether or not a particular service provides not only the subject coverage you need now, but also provides support for subjects you may study in the near future. Common subjects covered include English, Math, Science, Languages and Social Studies, though some services do include coverage all the way up to college level and thus provide a greater level of coverage.

  2. Age Range / Level Coverage:
    As well as appropriate subject coverage, it’s also essential that the service you choose covers that subject to the required level. Many services begin coverage at kindergarten level, with resources and tutoring tailored to meet the needs of children who are that young. Most services continue their coverage right through to 12th Grade, with some services also continuing to provide support through state exams and at college level. Be sure to check that the service you’re thinking of signing up to is able to provide the right level of service for what you require.

  3. Tutors:
    The most important set of resources at any online tutoring service are the tutors themselves. A service with experienced, quality-driven tutors who have the academic, intellectual and educational capacity to encourage students to achieve better grades is far better than one where tutors are simply in it for a little extra money! Although almost all services will require tutors to possess a degree in their chosen subject, or a teaching qualification, look out for those that give specific mention of their recruitment processes to find services that only hire the best – that’s where the best results will be found, after all!

  4. Technology:
    A student’s capacity to engage with their tutor will, to a large extent, be determined by the technology employed by the service. The best online tutoring services will help students and their tutors to interact with each other in a discursive environment by using webchat, video messaging, and interactive learning environment technology (often described as “virtual whiteboard”). All of these tools and features help to build learner confidence and ensure that the learning experience is rich and enjoyable, too.

  5. Flexibility & Variety:
    Without a doubt the best services in this market will offer students the flexibility to structure their learning around their own schedules. With this in mind, be sure to look out for services that offer 24/7 support (either through tutor lessons or by commonly used “question-answer” services), as well as those services that let the students themselves (or parents) set the pace, content and structure of lessons. Being able to structure your learning in this way will have an incredibly positive impact on the overall quality of the results achieved.


Pricing, Packages & Subscriptions

There are two main pricing structures in operation on the sites we have reviewed within this category. Some services offer the services of tutors on a pay-by-the-hour (or by the minute) basis, meaning you only pay for the time you spend with a tutor. On these sites it is common for additional resources to be available free of charge, while tutor-time is commonly priced at around $30 per hour.

With other services, users will pay for a monthly subscription and can have unlimited access to the resources on offer at the site (although the cost of these subscriptions varies considerably). Discounts are commonly available for families paying for services for more than one child, or for whole classes - as with anything, shop around to get the best combination of quality and price.

The Bottom Line

As with anything, it is essential to find a service that provides the right combination of value for money and quality. There’s simply no point paying for a service that doesn’t adequately cover the subjects or topics you need support with, so it’s essential you check out exactly what each service covers before you sign up.

Luckily, our specific reviews for each service within this category give you a clear idea of the coverage you can expect, making it easier for you to make your choice. While some services are clearly more expensive than others, quality is definitely the most important consideration – sometimes paying a little more is worth it for the right teacher and the best set of resources. Good luck!