Tutoring Frequently Asked Questions
- I am really struggling with the problem sets I am being assigned for homework. What can I do?
- English is not my first language and I am having difficulty with coursework. What can I do?
- Why should I care about Academic Integrity?
- I need help with proofreading and editing. Can I hire a tutor to help me?
- Everyone in my class is using tutoring services because getting into my program is really competitive. If I do not use these services, I won’t be accepted into my program.
- I am behind in the readings for the course and it is a really important course for my program. What can I do?
- Can I work in groups with my friends to complete a project?
- I’m not doing as well in my courses as I need to and a tutoring service seems like a good solution. What’s wrong with getting help if I need it?
- I am too shy to seek out support from my professor or TA and too proud to ask for help from the RGASC. What can I do?
- I am a student registered with Accessibility services and am looking for a tutor to help me with my work. Is there a list of approved tutors I can consult?
Visit the UTM Office of the Dean’s Tutoring: Academic Achievement or Academic Offence webpage for warnings regarding the risks of illegitimate tutoring services.
DO consider the following:
- talk to your professor or your TA during office hours
- book an appointment at the RGASC, and/or
- join a Facilitated Study Group (FSG) if there is one available for your course. View the current FSG schedule.
- ask another classmate for help or look at their homework
- go to a tutor and get them to solve the problem for you, or
- post your homework problem online and ask for an answer
Perhaps first consider why you are struggling in English. Is it a vocabulary/grammar issue? Is the class too difficult? Does the professor speak too quickly?
View our English Language Learner Support page for more information about how we can help.
As an alternative you could hire a tutor (in your native language) to help you.
A tutor CAN:
- review the textbook
- review the course readings, and
- help you understand these materials
A tutor MUST NOT use ANY of your professor’s:
- handouts, or
- other materials in the process of teaching (this violates intellectual property rights)
Before you decide to pay money for services, remember that the university encourages you to use its resources. You can also talk to your professor or TA. Remember, do not pay for or attend tutoring sessions where the tutor is using your professor’s notes, slides, handouts or other course materials (other than the textbook).
Every member of the university community has an obligation to uphold certain standards and to share knowledge with integrity. By respecting the principles of academic integrity, you are including yourself in a community of scholars, and you are ensuring that the degree you obtain at the end of your studies has been earned honestly and with integrity.
Visit the UTM Office of the Dean’s Academic Integrity website for more information including examples of what might be considered an academic offence at U of T. You can also book a face-to-face appointment at the RGASC to learn more about academic integrity.
We acknowledge that writing is a challenging task and that the editing process can be particularly difficult.
If you get assistance from someone who makes changes to your work (even a minor change like fixing a spelling mistake), you are violating the university's Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters.
Instead of hiring an editor/proofreader, consider making an appointment at the RGASC so you can learn strategies to edit your own paper. Knowing these strategies will save you time and money.
Everyone in my class is using tutoring services because getting into my program is really competitive. If I do not use these services, I won’t be accepted into my program.
Tutoring services that provide learning opportunities but do not contribute to helping you with assessed work may be perfectly acceptable options.
It is up to you to know the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters and to make your own decision about whether or not to pay for additional tutoring assistance. External tutoring services are not regulated by the university, so the quality of the service may not be very good.
You may want to consider alternatives instead, including:
- learn study techniques at the RGASC
- get help for papers/problem sets from your TA
- go to your professor’s office hours
- attend a Facilitated Study Group (FSG) if offered in your course
I am behind in the readings for the course and it is a really important course for my program. Can I hire a tutor to help me with the readings?
Yes, you can hire a tutor to help you with the readings, but first you may want to reflect on why are you behind.
Have you procrastinated? If so, there are strategies you can learn that may help prevent this from reoccurring.
Are you struggling to understand the content? If so, consider talking to your professor or TA. A tutor may not be able to provide the same level of understanding as the professor teaching the course. It's important that you can rely on yourself to get through the course readings, rather than relying on someone else to help you.
If you need help with reading, consider attending The Elements of Academic Reading Workshop Series, or make a face-to-face appointment at the RGASC.
This depends on the project. If you are being assessed as an individual, then working on a project with others would be a form of collusion.
Certainly, you are encouraged to get together with your peers and talk about the readings or course material, but you are not permitted to work together to complete an assignment (e.g. you couldn’t write the same paper as your peer and then submit the same/similar responses).
The RGASC offers Facilitated Study Groups (FSGs), which you are encouraged to attend. FSGs offer the same kind of group support, but in a way that is appropriate and that does not violate the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters.
I’m not doing as well in my courses as I need to and a tutoring service seems like a good solution. What’s wrong with getting help if I need it?
On the surface, there is nothing wrong with getting help from a tutoring service, but remember that not all tutoring options are good — plus, they are expensive.
There are free options available on campus that have been designed to support you with your coursework. Learn more about RGASC Appointments, Programs & Workshops and Facilitated Study Groups.
I am too shy to seek out support from my professor or TA and too proud to ask for help from the RGASC. What can I do?
We offer online appointments so you can make the appointment and submit your work without ever having to come to the centre.
Yet, being shy is something that can (and should) be addressed. We encourage you to try and talk with your professors or TAs at certain points throughout the term. If you go through university and never really talk to anyone, you may be missing out on a big part of your education.
I am a student registered with accessibility services and am looking for a tutor to help me with my work. Is there a list of approved tutors I can consult?
No, there is no such list of approved tutors at UTM. If you are looking for a tutor, you should be very careful about the kind of service you are purchasing. Like all students, you should read the answers to the nine FAQs above, be sure you understand the university’s policies regarding academic integrity and get support that will help you learn rather than provide you with easy answers.