Upswing Tutoring Review Summary

Upswing provides online tuition for US college students in various subjects. They pay $13-16/hr biweekly, requiring 2-5 hours a week minimum across fall and spring. Tutoring experience and a degree are preferred, though professional expertise is also considered. There is, however, a waiting list for some positions.

Pay (per hour):$13-$16
Country requirements:United States
Degree/diploma required?Preferred (professional experience required in lieu of degree)
Teaching certificate required?No
Teaching/tutoring experience required?Preferred
Class size:1v1
Student age/level?College students
Minimum hours (per week):2-5
(during the fall and spring semesters)

Upswing Pros and Cons


  • Offers a variety of tutoring subjects, including some less common ones
  • Biweekly payments
  • Flexible schedule, with low minimum hours requirement (except during ‘surge’ periods)
  • Mostly positive views of management


  • Waiting list for some positions
  • Only paid for 15 minutes waiting time if a student cancels
  • Must remain active for the fall and spring semesters
  • Payment only via PayPal

What Is Upswing Tutoring and Is It Legit?

Upswing is a legitimate online tutoring company that was founded in 2014 with the aim of “empower[ing] the historically marginalized to overcome systemic personal or educational obstacles to achieve their life goals”. Their legitimacy is underlined by partnerships with dozens of higher education institutions across the United States, where they have helped around 50,000 students through hundreds of thousands of tutoring sessions.

More than 400 Upswing subjects are supported, in the primary fields of:

  • Accounting
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Biology
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • English
  • Finance
  • Nursing
  • Math
  • Physics

How Does Upswing Tutoring Work?

Upswing online tutoring is fully remote and conducted through a virtual classroom featuring a whiteboard with video, audio, and chat functionality, allowing tutors to work from most locations with a reliable internet connection and computer.

The company adopts a teaching philosophy that is built around the Socratic method (which tutors are expected to be familiar with) and the development of critical thinking skills to foster student independence, along with a service to help tutees become better essay writers.

This video provides an introduction to the company, as well as a glimpse of their online platform:

How Much Do Upswing Tutors Make?

The Upswing tutor pay rate ranges between US$13-$16 an hour, depending on the position. For example, a Writing Tutor will earn $13 for asynchronous tutoring and $15 for a synchronous session.

If a student cancels a 1-hour session, then the tutor only receives pay for 15 minutes of waiting time.

Tutors must have a PayPal account to receive payments fortnightly from Upswing.

Upswing Hours and Schedule

Upswing offers ’round-the-clock’ student support across the whole week (including weekends), allowing tutors to set their own schedules, though ideally they will cover the peak times of 5-9pm EST or 6-10pm CST, Sunday to Thursday.

Upswing tutors are also expected to provide a minimum of 2-5 hours a week for both the fall and spring semesters, with some positions requiring 20-30 hours during the following ‘surge periods’:

  • September 25 – October 5
  • October 27 – November 7
  • November 28 – December 10

The amount of work you receive from Upswing will depend on your availability and student demand, with text and email alerts sent out when a session request is made.

Upswing Tutoring Requirements

Here are the requirements for Upswing tutoring jobs:

  • Subject matter expert, or advanced knowledge gained during the attainment of an undergraduate degree, graduate degree, or professional experience in the subject area of interest (four-year graduate and postdoctoral degrees preferred).
  • Received excellent grades (3.5 GPA or higher).
  • Enjoy teaching others and helping people through problems with a desire to help others reach their goals.
  • Have access to reliable, high-speed internet, a quiet, distraction-free environment to conduct tutorials, and a reliable laptop/desktop with camera and microphone functionality.
  • Can tutor a minimum of 2-5 hours per week during the fall and spring semester.
  • A background in teaching methodology, instruction, or experience tutoring at the college level i.e. in a math or learning lab or in a writing center, is highly preferred.
  • Responsive to session requests.
  • Top-notch verbal and written communication skills.

The requirements are slightly different to be a Remote Writing Tutor:

  • Graduates with a degree in English/writing, or writing professionals.
  • You should be familiar with tutoring methodology, and love working with students who are developing critical thinking skills.
  • Familiarity with the Socratic method of tutoring, which prioritizes inquiry and higher order concerns.
  • Fast and reliable internet, access to MS Word/Google Docs and a laptop/desktop computer. 
  • 3.5 GPA or higher with a transcript that demonstrates success in a writing intensive program. 
  • Commitment to 20-30 hours during surge periods (September 25-October 5, October 27-November 7, November 28-December 10).
  • Provide thorough, insightful, actionable written feedback to student essays/writing assignments.
  • Comfortable with reviewing a diversity of writing i.e. health sciences, argumentative essays, history and student work that may address controversial subjects i.e. politics/religion. 
  • Writing center experience is highly preferred (“We are not looking for proofreaders or editors”)
  • Once hired, expect to onboard between 2-5 business days.

Upswing Application Process to Become a Tutor

To apply, visit the Upswing careers page, where positions currently accepting applications will be listed under the ‘Tutor Team’ section. If you do not see your specialist subject at this time, you may apply for the generic ‘Tutor (Remote)’ role, where your application will be added to a candidate pool for future consideration.

Select the ‘Remote Contract’ you are interested in, then click the ‘Apply Now’ button within the job description, where you will be asked to upload your resume or submit the following information:

  • First, Middle and Last Name
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • Street
  • State
  • City/Country
  • Zipcode
  • Attach Cover Letter
  • Social Networks and Web Links
  • Highest Degree Received
  • Education (all colleges attended)
    • Degree
    • Field of study/major
    • Institution/school name
    • Start and End Date
    • Grade
  • Attach College Transcripts
  • Which subjects would you be interested in tutoring?
  • Provide a detailed description of your qualifications to teach the selected subjects.
  • How many years of tutoring/teaching experience do you have?
  • Provide a description of any previous tutoring and/or teaching experience you might have.
  • Have you ever worked with Upswing before? If yes, please explain.
  • Were you referred to the role by a current Upswing team member? If so, what is their name?
  • How did you hear about Upswing?

Successful applicants will have to complete an online interview to confirm the strength of their wifi connection and their technical aptitude, as well as pass subject matter evaluations to determine that they have an appropriate level of topical expertise for the subjects selected.

60-120 minutes of onboarding will take place 2-5 business days after being hired, while new tutors are closely monitored with sessions reviewed semi-weekly. Tutors will also receive ‘spot checks’, monthly stats, and report cards with student feedback.

Upswing Reviews – What Is It Like Working for Upswing Tutoring?

The Upswing Glassdoor page gives the company an overall rating of 4 out of 5, with 75% willing to recommend them (at the time of writing). I have collated the comments from Upswing tutor reviews that have been left over the last year, which praise the management, flexible schedule, and social mission, though there are complaints about the changing culture and lost income from cancelled sessions, while the pay rate is simultaneously considered both ‘good’ and ‘poor’ depending on the perspective:

  • Advantages:
    • “The company is worth to work [sic]. Highly recommended to work here[management] are approachable.
    • Schedule flexibility is nice. Great when I started.
    • pays in between 12-16$ s which is good
    • Remote work -All online -Pick your own schedule. -The organization has contracts with school districts, paid for by taxes, but the students don’t have to pay for tutoring
    • Work where and when you want! Helping a community in need. Even though virtual, management is easy to reach and has a team feel
    • good management, responsive, always resolves problems”
  • Disadvantages:
    • “There are changes happened but this is minimal only.
    • The culture here is changing (and not for the better)
    • The con is abondoned sessions and time clash with the schedule
    • Very poor pay (competitors pay2-4x more) The max you can make is $16/hr No benefits No cancelation fee for tutors Student can cancel up to the last minute Only paid 15 min base pay if a student doesn’t show up, even if the student booked a full hour No pay increase (not in the 2 years I have worked there) You are micromanaged (ie. If you don’t respond to a students session request you will get an immediate email asking why you didn’t respond (every time!), even if you already let your student know No chance for growth
    • Could be compensated more but other than that none!
    • uncertain income, students canceling classes, no shows, and these make tutors lose money”

There are more Upswing tutoring reviews on Indeed, providing an average score of 3.8 out of 5, though only two have been written in the last year. These concur with the previous comments regarding flexible hours and lost pay from cancellations, though they also complement the platform’s user interface:

Upswing tutor review from Indeed
Upswing tutoring review from Indeed

Conclusion – Is Upswing Tutoring Worth It?

Upswing provides an opportunity to tutor some subjects that are not often covered by online tutoring companies. However, availability is dependent on demand, and for some disciplines there will be a waiting list, making this a longer-term option for many rather than a quick way to make money.

Considering the competitive and unpredictable nature of the online tutoring/teaching industry, it might be worth lodging an application for future Upswing tutor jobs, just in case, but also check out our full list of remote companies that are hiring now.

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Dr Daniel Spence

Daniel Spence is the founder of Online Teaching Review. He has been an international teacher since 2008, an award-winning academic, author of two books, and holds a PhD, MA, BA (Hons), and TESOL.

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