The quick switch to online learning at the end of the last school year threw everyone for a loop. You probably found yourself in uncharted territory, questioning the viability of grades, status of standardized exams, and requirements for college admissions. To make up for those crazy few months and to get back on track, it’s important to use your summer break wisely. For many students, this means spending time with a summer writing tutor. But before you book that first session, keep reading to learn about another option.
The Secret to Getting Ahead
First, let’s back up a few steps and focus on time. Time is finite and just like summer break, we can’t add to it. This means you need to get to work sooner rather than later. Mark Twain summarizes this sentiment beautifully, “the secret of getting ahead is getting started”. Students that are looking to improve grades or get an edge over peer competition for the next school year, must get to work right now. With a limited number of weeks left in the summer, writing tutor schedules are filling up fast – I know this because my kids had to book a virtual math tutor before the last school year even ended!
Consider these Factors
Okay, so you know getting started is critical, but just as important are the factors of cost and staying healthy:
- Cost: Tutoring is expensive. The better the tutor and the more frequent the visits, the higher the hourly cost. The typical rate of a qualified writing tutor easily starts at $60 per hour with some topping off at over $100 per hour! Writing isn’t something that you can fix in an hour, so the hours you’ll need to reach your goals can really add up.
- Safety: Social distancing. The safest way to keep yourself, your tutor, and loved ones germ-free is to keep your distance. With many community centers and libraries closed and coffee shop meet-ups cancelled, inviting a tutor into your home is risky.
Be your own Summer Writing Tutor
So what’s the answer? Teach yourself! This might sound like a crazy idea, but it’s not. Writing is a very personal exercise and through the support of technology, you can have a summer writing tutor experience and get the skill-building practice you need to level-up your writing abilities. The best part is that you can do it on your schedule and save hundreds of dollars at the same time.
One way to do this is through the use of writing assistant software that will give you instant step-by-step instructions and feedback. Rather than spend cash on a human summer writing tutor or risk the spread of germs, you can easily do this on your own.
4 Tips for Self-Tutoring
- Get a trusted writing tool. We suggest a monthly subscription or a single paper plan (this is a super cheap option!) with Ecree.
- Find practice essay prompts online (or use examples below) and enter them into the writing software.
- Write / revise your paper as much as you want and get immediate tutor-quality feedback.
- Submit your paper and get a grade.
Once you have written and gotten feedback, you’ll have a better idea of what you are doing well and where you need to improve when writing your next paper.
Example Writing Prompts + Reading Links
- Personal Narrative: Is access to the internet a human right?
- Argumentative: What is the main theme of “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou?
- Personal Narrative: How does technology impact our relationships with others? Do you think that technology helps those relationships or hurts them? Explain.
- Argumentative: How does Sylvia Plath develop the theme of isolation in her poem “Tulips”?
- Personal Narrative: Describe a character from literature that you would trade places with, and explain why.
- Argumentative: How do the final four lines of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Time does not bring relief; you all have lied” contribute to the overall meaning of the poem?
Take the First Step!
Remember that quote from Twain about getting ahead and getting started? There is absolutely nothing stopping you from being your own summer writing tutor. Eliminate the back and forth edits with a human writing tutor, cut out the insane hourly costs, and make your own deadlines. When you’re ready, pick your writing prompt and get started.