A volunteer tutor gives his or her time to work with students, and help them with subjects in which they are struggling. As opposed to a paid, private tutor, who will charge for these services, a volunteer tutor simply donates time to help others. In some cases, such as at colleges or universities, students may volunteer their time to tutor other students in order to earn extra credit in classes, or to give their resume a boost. Typically, a tutor will have a specific subject in which he or she tutors other students, though someone working with younger students may be able to provide more general help.
The amount of time a volunteer tutor devotes to his or her volunteer work each week is largely a personal decision, based on the amount of free time she has in addition to work or school. Tutors and their students will generally work together in the beginning to set up a schedule. This can vary depending on whether the student needs long-term tutoring in a particular class, or simply needs help studying for a large test such as the SAT or GED. In this case, more intensive tutoring over a shorter period of time may be required.
Some volunteer tutor programs attempt to make it more of a mentor program, or a big brother/big sister program. In this case, volunteers might be assigned to work with youths who are at risk, or who come from needy families. In addition to tutoring him or her in schoolwork, the tutor/mentor might do other after-school activities with the student. This can help to keep the child out of trouble, improve his or her grades, and even boost self-esteem. Many volunteers find it to be very rewarding work, particularly those who enjoy working with kids or who want to work in the educational field.
In other cases, a volunteer tutor might work with older students who are struggling in a specific subject. The tutor might be a college graduate student, a teacher, or an expert in the field who wants to volunteer some time. If this individual has a solid understanding of a subject that the student is struggling with, he or she can usually provide specific, one-on-one guidance, and help to assist the student in learning the material. The tutor might also be very helpful when the student is preparing for specific tests or writing a paper.