Honest Varsity Tutors Review – Read Before Applying! (2022)

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Varsity Tutors Review Summary

US-based Varsity Tutors hires North American graduates to provide tutoring for school children, college students and professionals. Applications are quick. Most teachers receive $15 an hour, and while some subjects, groups and short-notice classes pay more, lessons are long and the company retains a high profit margin.

Pay (per hour):$15-30
Native / Non-Native Speakers accepted?US, Canada
TEFL / TESOL / CELTA required?No
Degree / diploma required?Yes*
Adult / child students?Both
Class size:1+
Minimum hours (per week):0
*unless you are a current college student in a high demand subject (e.g. Math, Science, etc.)

Varsity Tutors Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Quick application and video interview process
  • A wide range of subjects can be taught
  • Teachers can cancel with 24 hours’ notice and are paid for student cancellations/no shows
  • Twice-weekly payment schedule
  • Group classes and ‘instant tutoring’ opportunities pay more

Cons:

  • Must be legally able to work in the USA to apply
  • Average pay, especially considering tutors have to submit their own invoices and create the curriculum
  • Big discrepancy between what the company charges students and what it pays its tutors
  • Booking rates vary depending on demand for the subject and time of day
  • Long tutorials can last up to 2 hours

What Is Varsity Tutors?

Varsity Tutors were founded in 2007 and offer both in-person and online tuition, supporting schooling, college students, and professional qualifications. The Varsity Tutors headquarters is in St. Louis, Missouri and, while they have some international students, most of their 100,000 users and 40,000 instructors are from the USA.

Is Varsity Tutors a Scam or Is Varsity Tutors Legit?

Some people online have accused Varsity Tutors of being a ‘scam’. These claims are generally based on the large discrepancy between what the company charges its customers and what it pays its teachers, with some courses costing up to US$95 an hour while the Varsity Tutors pay rate is $15 for most people. Though this is a particularly large mark-up, especially considering teachers must also produce their own curricula, it is a common and legitimate business practice in this industry. Students still receive the services they purchase and tutors are paid based upon the contract they signed, so it cannot be called a scam per se as no one is being defrauded, even if it might seem unfair. In spite of this, the company still has a Trustpilot score of 4.9 out of 5.

How Does Varsity Tutors Work?

Varsity Tutors offers online and in-person tuition through its franchises which are located across the USA. On top of private, one-on-one tutoring, they also have group classes, summer camps and workshops linked to local school programs. Varsity Tutors online classes can be delivered on 400 or so topics, from elementary to undergraduate level and professional exams.

Students are paired with tutors based on over 100 matching criteria, including their learning styles, needs and personalities.

The Varsity Tutors online tutoring platform and dashboard are bespoke, and can be explored in these videos:

How Much Does Varsity Tutors Pay Their Tutors?

The Varsity Tutors salary varies depending on the difficulty level, demand for the subject, and geographic region of the student. Varsity Tutors rates range between US$15-30 per hour, with most teachers receiving $15 for private online classes (in-person tuition usually commands $18-20 an hour, while Math, Science and specialist knowledge in academic testing earns more). Make sure you try and negotiate, as this is allowed.

After you have taught your first few tutorials, you can receive invitations for group classes, workshops and summer camps that pay $20-$30 an hour, while there is also ‘instant tutoring’ available which pays 2-4x the standard rate (if you can accept within 15 seconds), though you cannot rely on securing these regularly.

While officially it is possible to receive a pay increase of $3-5 after the first month, it seems that many Varsity Tutors teachers never get this raise.

The Varsity Tutors pay schedule is twice a week, with teachers responsible for submitting their own invoices. Varsity Tutors payment is made via direct bank deposit or paper check.

Here are the Varsity Tutors contract terms of use.

Varsity Tutors Hours

The are no set Varsity Tutors hours or minimum hours requirement. Teachers are flexible to work as little or as much as they choose.

After-school timeslots and some subjects are more in demand than others (e.g. Math), but additional hours can be picked up by being invited to school-based tutoring programs once you have taught your first few private classes.

Classes are 45, 60 and 90 minutes long, with exam/test prep sessions lasting up to 2 hours.

Scheduling is done through an app, with notifications received through the portal, email or text message.

The Varsity Tutors cancellation policy allows teachers to cancel a session with 24 hours notice, while they will still receive payment if a student cancels late or does not show.

Varsity Tutors Requirements

  • Must be legally able to work in the USA (you do not have to be physically based there). Canadians are accepted but have a different application process (see section below)
  • Previous teaching or tutoring experience
  • Completed Bachelor’s degree (undergraduates studying in-demand subjects such as Math and Science will be considered with proof of enrollment)

Varsity Tutors Hiring Process

If you have a US Zip Code, you can start your Varsity Tutors job application here (Canadians must email recruitment@varsitytutors.com as the online form does not recognize Canadian postal codes).

You will have to enter your email address, then submit the following details:

  • Personal Information
    • First Name
    • Last Name
    • ZIP Code
    • Phone Number
    • Referral Code (optional)
    • Agree to Terms of Use
  • Which subjects would you like to tutor/teach? (list below*)
    • Which Professional Certifications subjects would you like to tutor?* (if applicable)
  • Which of these languages do you feel comfortable tutoring in? (that you speak fluently)
    • English, Spanish, Pashto, Dari, Urdu, French, German, Hindi, Arabic
  • What student age group(s) are you interested in tutoring/teaching?
    • Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten-2nd Grade, 3rd-5th Grade, Middle School, High School, College (Undergraduate), Graduate Students, Adult Learners
  • Do you have experience tutoring or teaching students with the following special needs?
    • IEP, 504 Plan Accommodations, ADHD, Autism, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, Memory Issues, Processing Disorders
  • Are you interested in providing students with help regarding study skills, learning strategies, or organization? Yes/No
  • What best describes your level of education? (you must provide documentation to prove this if offered a contract)
  • Education Information
    • School
    • Degree Type
    • Major(s)
    • Graduation Year
  • Do you have prior tutoring or teaching experience? Yes/No (this is not a requirement – experts from a variety of backgrounds have been successful on the platform)
  • How many years of tutoring experience do you have?
    • None, Less than 1 year, 1-2 years, 2-5 years, more than 5 years
  • How many years of classroom teaching experience do you have? (include any student teaching experience)
    • None, Less than 1 year, 1-2 years, 2-5 years, more than 5 years
  • Are you currently a classroom teacher? Yes/No (includes both in-person and online teaching)
  • Do you have a teaching certificate? Yes/No (respond ‘Yes’ even if your certificate has expired)
  • Select the level your certification applies to:
    • Early Childhood, Elementary School, Middle School, Secondary/High School
  • Select your certification’s area of specialization: (select all that apply)
    • CELTA, Computer Science, English, ESL/ELL, Gifted, Math, Science, Special Education, Structured Literacy Practice, Other
  • How many hours per week are you interested in tutoring/teaching?
    • Less than 5 hours, 5-10 hours, 10-20 hours, more than 20 hours per week

*Here is the list of subjects you can select from:

  • Geometry
  • Middle School Math
  • Study Skills and Organization
  • Algebra
  • Calculus
  • Elementary School Reading
  • SAT
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • College Algebra
  • Middle School Reading
  • Middle School English
  • High School English
  • Python
  • Biology
  • Essay Editing
  • PSAT
  • Spanish
  • ACT
  • Statistics
  • College Economics
  • LSAT
  • College Application Essays
  • Linear Algebra
  • Computer Programming
  • Middle School Writing
  • French
  • Financial Accounting
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • C++
  • Elementary School Science
  • College Computer Science
  • Differential Equations
  • Elementary School English
  • Special Education
  • Professional Certifications
    • Bar Exam
    • CFA
    • CPA
    • CSET
    • NAPLEX
    • NCLEX
    • NMLS
    • PMP
    • Praxis (all types)
    • Real Estate License
    • Series 65
    • Series 7
    • SIE
    • USMLE
    • Other
  • Other

While recorded primarily to reassure prospective students, this video gives some hints into what Varsity Tutors looks for during their selection process:

Varsity Tutors Interview Process

Upon submitting your information, you will receive an immediate response on the screen as to whether you have progressed to the final stage of the Varsity Tutors application process, which is a recorded video interview. You can continue this on your computer, a tablet or mobile device via an emailed link to your saved progress, though it should be completed within 3 days (if more time is needed you can request that your application be put on hold).

Before recording, ensure you accept the pop-ups to allow for cookies and camera and microphone access.

The Varsity Tutors video interview takes approximately 25 minutes to complete and comprises:

  1. Section 1
    • 3 video questions assessing your suitability for the role (30 seconds prep and 3 minutes to answer each, with 1 retry allowed)
  2. Section 2
    • a 10-minute mini lesson (10 minutes to prepare, 1 retry allowed)
    • a 500-character written answer (no time limit)
  3. Section 3
    • a personality game with 56 choices to make (no time limit)

There is the opportunity to attempt practice questions first, to become comfortable with the setup (though note that the practice prep time of 1 minute is double what you’ll get for the real questions).

Varsity Tutors Interview Questions

Below are the Varsity Tutors interview questions that we received when going through the process:

Section 1

  1. Please introduce yourself, briefly outline your resume, and tell us about any prior teaching or tutoring experiences that you have had. We are interested in knowing how long you were at each position, the subjects you tutored or taught, and the age groups of the students or people you instructed.
  2. Tutors on the Varsity Tutors’ platform are not only excellent coaches or mentors, they are also content knowledge experts in their field or fields. For purposes of this interview, we are most interested in the SPECIFIC subjects you’ve included on your application in which you are an expert. For example, not just “math,” but “geometry, and calculus 1.” You may have the opportunity to add or remove subjects in the future as needed; however, with respect to the subjects on your application what qualifies you to be an expert in those subjects? Have you taught, instructed, or tutored students in those subjects? When was your last academic exposure to those subjects?
  3. What age group or groups do you think your personality is best suited to, and with whom you are most qualified to work? How do you modify your approach when working with different ages? Please provide examples of changes in your approach when working with students of different ages.

Section 2

  1. Now let’s see you teach. For one of the subjects you are applying for, create a mini lesson on a practice problem, concept or topic related to that subject. You’ll have 10 minutes to prepare and up to 10 minutes to teach.
  2. Do you have any experience taking or tutoring academic standardized tests (e.g. Advanced Placement, ACT, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc) or professional certification exams (e.g. the Series Exams, CPA, Praxis, etc.)? How did you score and are you able to provide verification of those scores? Feel free to use a bulleted list. (500 characters written answer)

Section 3

This section contains 1 game for you to complete. The game has its own time limit and set of instructions that you will be able to read before starting. There are 56 pairs of images, and you have to select the one which you feel best represents you:

Here is a recorded video of a teacher undergoing their Varsity Tutors interview:

Varsity Tutors are usually quick to inform successful applicants, usually within hours (but sometimes minutes) of submitting the video interview, though they are allowed to contact the company with any questions. Unsuccessful candidates will not be told.

You will then have to submit your ID and credentials for verification, sign the contract and undergo a background check (within 72 hours otherwise your account will be set to inactive). This process can take a week before you can complete your profile and start receiving classes. There are also additional competency certifications you will have to take if you wish to tutor in an area outside of your expertise.

Working for Varsity Tutors Reviews

The Varsity Tutors Glassdoor page gives the company an average rating of 3.7 out of 5, with 70% willing to recommend them to a friend (from filtering 1,339 ‘tutor’ reviews). Generally, the positive comments mention the flexible schedule, usability of the system, and nature of the students, while there are Varsity Tutors complaints about the low pay (in relation to class prices), unpaid prep time in creating one’s own curriculum, and technical glitches on the learning platform. There are mixed reports concerning the quality of communication and consistency of booking opportunities.

Here is a recent sample from these Varsity Tutors employee reviews:

The Varsity Tutors Indeed page gives the company a similar rating of 3.8 out of 5 (averaged from 633 reviews). Again, these Varsity Tutors job reviews praise the flexibility and criticize the pay and lack of curricula, while hours can be inconsistent, especially in the daytime during the week:

Conclusion – Is Varsity Tutors Worth It?

Varsity Tutors have gained a somewhat bad reputation on account of the large discrepancy between what they charge students and what they pay their educators. While this is not a scam, it does undermine teachers’ faith in the company. That being said, even their lowest pay rate of $15 is more than what many online teaching companies offer outside of China. While the tuition here is different to ESL, if you have other expertise, are happy delivering longer classes after school, and can put aside the moral objections, then Varsity Tutors has opportunities that are worth considering in this current competitive climate.

You can apply for Varsity Tutors jobs here.

Other non-China companies can be found here.

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