Local students launch online tutoring company to help kids get back on track after ‘tough’ hybrid year

By Taylor Pace

The pandemic has undoubtedly made learning more difficult, as classes abruptly shifted to online and hybrid models last year. 

Recognizing that students might need more help given the circumstances, Grade 11 Waterloo Collegiate Institute students Mariya Turetska and Paris Cai decided to launch Compass Tutoring, an online tutoring service for students from Grades one through 10. 

“Overall it’s been a pretty tough year for everyone — we can vouch for that ourselves as students. So we realized the need for extra assistance,” Cai said, adding that “children deserve to have quality education.”

They launched the site June 20th, and already have about five clients, as well as between 10 to 15 tutors for math, science, computer science, French, and English. 

So far, a number of the tutors are mutual friends of theirs, but others approached them after learning of the company on social media.  

However, Cai notes that they have a very strict screening process to ensure the tutors have “the best grades and the best abilities.” 

“One of our requirements for all of our tutors, no matter who they are, is that they all must have previous tutoring experience, because we provide paid services, and we want to make sure that our clients have the best possible tutoring,” Turetska said. “And also, all of our tutors must have a 90 or above in the subject that they want to tutor.”

Some of the tutors are featured on the website with links to their LinkedIn and social media accounts so customers can learn more about them before signing up. 

As tutoring can only be purchased in packages, if someone is interested in signing up, they have the option of undergoing a free 30 minute assessment before signing up to determine which package is best for them. Rates range from $12 to $25 per hour depending on the package. 

“We have a personalised package, a fast package, and a standard package depending on the student's academic needs. So we'll meet with them and we'll recommend which package we think is best for them. And then after that, we'll pair them with the tutor, they'll get to know each other,” Cai said. 

Currently, Turetska and Cai are doing all of the executive work, but plan to expand their team when September rolls around and demand increases. 

“In terms of the business side of it, it’s a real life lesson. You learn as you go,” Turetska said. 

But she notes that a lot of students already tutor – so their company just makes the process more convenient for an existing demand. That includes both Cai and Turetska, who each have prior tutoring experience in a range of subjects, from French to math. 

The decision to offer strictly virtual tutoring services stems from the pandemic moving courses to online formats in general, but also out of convenience. 

“Online is definitely more convenient for both tutors and students, and it can open our client base to a wider array of people,” Cai said. “Whereas if we did face to face services, it would really restrict us within our own community — which is great, we love helping them, but we'd also like to expand beyond that.” 

While some people might be apprehensive about online services like this, the pair believe their company is advantageous because it’s students tutoring students, rather than adults tutoring students.

With a closer age range between student and tutor, Turetska says the students aren’t shy, and aren’t afraid to ask more questions.

“And it's because it's a friendly environment; because there aren't any adults, they might feel more comfortable studying and even a bit more motivated to try harder problems or to go out of their comfort zone,” she said. 

They also offer a satisfaction guarantee – so if you aren’t satisfied after the first couple lessons, you can get your money back. The first lesson is also free, so students are able to get to know their tutor and decide whether or not they want to continue. 

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