What Does an Essay Tutor Do?

C. Mitchell
C. Mitchell
An essay tutor should have experience with a variety of styles and be a strong writer.
An essay tutor should have experience with a variety of styles and be a strong writer.

The main job of an essay tutor is to help someone improve and strengthen writing skills. Tutoring usually covers everything from proper grammar and sentence structure to narrative flow, topic choice, and persuasiveness. Most of the time, an essay tutor works with writers one-on-one to help achieve specific results. For some, this means scoring well in an English class or learning how to convey certain ideas in written English. Tutors can also help with more specific essay preparation, particularly for essays used as part of university applications or scholarship proposals.

Essay tutors may help students develop vocabulary and other grammar skills.
Essay tutors may help students develop vocabulary and other grammar skills.

An essay tutor will usually start by candidly assessing a student’s writing ability. This often takes the form of reading past work or having students complete a diagnostic written exercise. In order to provide effective study help, tutors need to have a sense of where the student is coming from.

From there, the tutor will usually work with the student to come up with a game plan of core goals. A student who is struggling in a writing class usually needs a different sort of help than a person who is learning to speak and write English as a foreign language. High school and university students who are crafting essays for applications or scholarships need a different sort of help entirely.

Essay tutors may work with students on an individual basis.
Essay tutors may work with students on an individual basis.

In all cases, an essay tutor’s main goal is to provide academic coaching and one-on-one teaching guidance. This usually involves far more than simply identifying errors in written work. Most of the time, the tutor works with the student to help him or her learn to identify mistakes and make corrections independently. A private tutor will usually give suggestions and identify areas of weakness, but actual corrections are almost always the responsibility of the student.

An essay tutor's job requires more skills and expertise with older students.
An essay tutor's job requires more skills and expertise with older students.

Working with an essay tutor is not usually a way for students to automatically get better grades on written assignments. Tutors are more like supplementary teachers than editors or proofreaders. Students will often come away from tutoring better equipped to write well, but this is a direct result of the work they themselves have put in. Any essay tutor who promises to write essays or correct and strengthen mistakes unilaterally is more properly described as an essay writing expert, and should be viewed with some skepticism.

Essay tutors can help students improve written grammar.
Essay tutors can help students improve written grammar.

In most of academia, submitting written work that is not wholly original is considered plagiarism. An educational tutor is often recommended for struggling students, but with the understanding that the tutor will limit his or her assistance to improving a student’s general writing skills. Under no circumstances should a student turn in work that an essay tutor has written or substantially modified.

Plagiarism is most often a concern in the online tutor realm. A great many bona fide essay tutors exist in the Internet space who communicate with students over video chat, e-mail, and web conferencing. Some so-called “tutoring” sites are also in the business of selling essays, however. This practice is not tutoring at all, and these sorts of services do not usually help students master the nuances of writing.

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    • An essay tutor should have experience with a variety of styles and be a strong writer.
      An essay tutor should have experience with a variety of styles and be a strong writer.
    • Essay tutors may help students develop vocabulary and other grammar skills.
      Essay tutors may help students develop vocabulary and other grammar skills.
    • Essay tutors may work with students on an individual basis.
      Essay tutors may work with students on an individual basis.
    • An essay tutor's job requires more skills and expertise with older students.
      An essay tutor's job requires more skills and expertise with older students.
    • Essay tutors can help students improve written grammar.
      Essay tutors can help students improve written grammar.