How to Start Tutoring as a Student


Most college students are broke but you don’t have to be! You don’t need to invest any money initially to get started tutoring, especially as a college student. Here’s how I got started making some cash from my tutoring services and you can do it too!

1. Pick a subject to specialize in.

Your major is the obvious choice. Stick to one subject to avoid the ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ appearance. If you try to appeal to everyone by listing as many subjects as possible, you will lose potential clients to other tutors who specialize. If looking for a math tutor, I’d pick the person who provides specifically calculus tutoring over the other person who offers lessons for everything from Ancient Civilizations to Zoology.

2. Advertise your services!

Craigslist is a great place to start. I still advertise there and it is also where I get the majority of my clients. Learn how to write a good craigslist ad by reading this blog post. Another essential resource is SGLessons which is an online tutor directory. When people Google ‘tutors in [area],’ this site will most likely appear on the top of the search results so make sure you have a profile made so clients can find you! Flyers are also an option and you can use the campus computer labs to design them and maybe even print them for free! Good locations to post your fliers are at grocery stores and libraries.

3. Base your hourly rate on your experience tutoring.

To determine a decent starting price, check out what other tutors are charging in your area on UniversityTutor and Craigslist and set an hourly rate on the lower end of the spectrum. Raise your rates as your experience grows as well as when you start to get more clients than you can handle. If the demand for your services raises, so should your hourly rate. You’re worth it and you deserve it if the demand for you grows!

4. Be easy to contact.

My cell phone number (with the note “Call or text anytime!”), email address, Facebook profile, Twitter Account, and LinkedIn profile are all made available to the public in my advertisements and on my websites. I recommend that you do the same because your clients will have different modes of communication that they prefer and you want to eliminate any barriers that may prevent prospects for contacting you. For those of you who are afraid of spam, over the past year I’ve only had 5 texts that were spam and 2 spam emails made it through my Gmail filter.

5. Specify where you can tutor.

Before I had a car, I had clients come to me at my college campus so that we could have access to the technological resources as well as the quiet study rooms. You can also have clients meet you at coffee shops or other businesses within walking distance. People happily obliged. Don’t let the lack of a car stop you from tutoring! If you are lucky enough to have a car, specify that you’re willing to travel to meet at libraries, homes, or wherever you’re comfortable tutoring. If you have to commute over 20 minutes you may want to consider charging for gas.

6. Be prepared for anything!

You will sometimes encounter students that are completely unprepared so always have paper, writing utensils, and your schedule with you. Bring your college textbooks to refer to figures, the glossary and also consider checking out books from the library that may be useful. Both parents and students will appreciate your preparation, especially if it enhances the session. Your schedule is important because you’ll need it to schedule future tutoring sessions!