Number of students attending tutoring sessions drops from previous years, fall semester
Over the past three years, the number of students attending weekly tutoring and the number of tutoring sessions have dropped, but the number of students coming to walk-in tutor sessions has increased.
Tutors, who blur the line between instructor and student, can be found throughout the Learning Centers at Rutgers, and help students with an array of subjects ranging from social sciences to the arts and humanities.
The Plangere Writing Center, which is is located on the College Avenue campus, had 84 tutors and 651 students attend weekly tutoring in the Fall 2016 semester, according to statistics from Maria Knapp, a Plangere administrative assistant. Two years later, the amount of tutors remained consistent at 83 but the amount of students attending weekly tutoring fell to 476.
In contrast, though, the number of students who walked in for tutoring in the Fall 2016 semester was 157, while in the Fall 2018 semester it rose to 214. Knapp said this was because last semester, the Plangere Writing Center added extra walk-in hours during the later months.
There was also a difference in the amount of students who attended tutoring between the fall and spring semester. In the Spring 2017 semester, while the number of tutors was similar at 72, the number of students who came to weekly tutoring was almost cut in half from the Fall 2016 semester at 327 students. For this semester, there are 92 students enrolled in tutoring and 45 tutors, though that number could rise as the semester progresses.
“Traditionally, we have more tutors and students in the fall semesters,” Knapp said.
Regardless, Rutgers tutors and tutees shared their positive experiences with the program.
“I really like it. Originally, I just signed up for it because I needed some summer work, but as you go on, you realize it’s really rewarding to teach people things and to see them understand the material,” said Austin Briffa, a School of Arts and Sciences senior.
He also detailed some of the requirements toward becoming a tutor for the Learning Center.
“You’ll need an A in the class you want to tutor in, a generally good GPA and professor recommendations as well,” Briffa said.
Before becoming an full-fledged writing tutor, the applicant must be eligible to apply as an intern by having good grades in their classes and submitting a writing sample subject for review. If accepted as an intern, they must then attend a weekly class and engage in mandatory tutoring sessions for an entire semester.
Briffa said he likes when students have a "lightbulb" moment in their heads. He said seeing the efforts of his teachings lead his students toward understanding difficult concepts is part of the reason he continues to tutor. He is even considering a career in education for the future.
Another tutor at the Plangere Writing Center is Priyanka Patel, a School of Arts and Sciences senior. She said that tutoring and having the opportunity to help others perform better has been a rewarding experience.
“I don’t usually interact with too many international students on a day-to-day basis, but whenever they come in here, they're really working their hardest and trying their best to do well in their classes, and just trying to do better with their understanding of the English language,” she said. “It’s just so gratifying to see that I can help them achieve their goals to do better in their classes.”
Tutoring still has its challenges for her, though.
“I think the biggest challenge of being a tutor is assessing your student’s learning style as quickly as you can, so that they can get the most out of the time and sessions they have with you,” Patel said.
Meanwhile, Haleigh McGowan, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences first-year, shared some of her experiences as a tutee for Expository Writing at the Plangere Writing Center.
“It’s been very helpful. I did it last semester for Basic Composition, and this semester it’s been really helpful, especially for structuring the essays and forming new ideas,” she said.
Patel gave some final words of advice for those hoping to be tutors.
“My advice for anyone wanting to become a tutor is to do well in your classes and just apply! It's a great experience, so don't hold off applying,” she said.