Writing is a core skill that is essential for success in high school and college, as well as many graduate programs and future careers. 

However, many schools don’t teach students how to write effectively. Writing is a highly individual skill and the best way to learn is with one-on-one help. 

When school classes assign essays, most students are left to flounder. The students who are the most successful tend to benefit from writing lessons at home from their parents. But this is challenging and time-consuming—not to mention, many parents might not have honed those writing skills themselves!

Families have been increasingly recognizing the immense benefit of private writing tutoring. Learning how to write early on will have a positive ripple effect throughout the student’s academic and professional career, and a little bit of improvement can go a long way!

What is the Best Online Writing Tutoring?

  1. PrepMaven – best online writing tutoring overall
  2. Pearson’s Smarthinking – best big tutoring company for writing tutoring
  3. Skooli – best super-quick tutoring
  4. Wyzant – alternative for families on a budget
  5. Learn to Be – best free writing tutoring (for qualifying families)

The best of the rest:

  1. Tutor.com / The Princeton Review – disappointing quality from test-prep giant
  2. ArborBridge – pricey service with mystery tutors
  3. Learner – writing tutoring that includes ESL learners
  4. Club Z! Tutoring – tutoring franchise with (purported) writing curriculum
  5. Sylvan Learning – tutoring franchise that includes Spanish-speaking staff
  6. Varsity – uneven quality at higher prices
  7. Chegg – lightweight essay review on a membership basis
  8. TutaPoint – creative writing and quick editing but little expertise
  9. Tutoring Service of New York – new service with higher minimum package
  10. Preply – lower-cost tutoring marketplace platform
student writing assignment


Best Online Writing Tutoring in 2022

#1 – PrepMaven

Our Verdict — Best Online Writing Tutoring Overall

Price: $66–349/hour

PrepMaven offers high-quality one-on-one writing tutoring at an incredibly reasonable price, given the qualifications of its instructors.

All of PrepMaven’s tutors are Ivy-League grads, mostly from Princeton. (A few tutors are from elite universities that aren’t Ivies, like Stanford or Duke.) Many of PrepMaven’s writing tutors have won Ivy-League academic prizes for their written work. Not only do these tutors come from the most prestigious colleges in the US, but many also have professional writing experience. Among PrepMaven’s fantastic writing tutors are professional Hollywood screenwriters, journalists, published authors, and editors for academic presses.

What makes PrepMaven special is that they don’t just offer essay editing and support with school writing assignments — they also provide expert instruction in how to write, which is a foundational skill that will help students succeed throughout their lives. PrepMaven has developed an original writing curriculum through their sought-after Academic Writing Workshop and expanded this for students seeking individualized tutoring.

In addition to support with school writing assignments, PrepMaven can also provide students with educational enrichment outside of their school curriculum — this is especially beneficial for writing, which often isn’t taught effectively in schools. Students can work with PrepMaven tutors to craft research papers, literary analysis essays, or creative writing projects that will teach them essential writing skills.

PrepMaven also offers specific coaching through the college essay writing process and has 15 years of experience helping students to gain acceptance to their dream schools. Read here for more specific information about college application essay help.

Founded by brothers and Princeton grads Greg and Kevin, PrepMaven focuses on delivering consistently high-quality tutoring to students. Because PrepMaven’s tutors hail from the most elite universities, they’re uniquely positioned to coach students towards writing great school essays and papers. All tutors undergo a thorough training program and can use proprietary teaching materials to help students reach their goals.

To make high-quality tutoring accessible to more families, PrepMaven offers tutoring at several different price points. At the most affordable rate, students can work with current Ivy-League undergraduates who specialize in writing. At higher rates, students can work with coaches who are both Ivy-League grads and professional writers (screenwriters, journalists, editors), many who also hold advanced graduate degrees.

Best for:

PrepMaven’s one-on-one writing tutoring is the best option for any student wanting high-quality writing help or enrichment.

At a glance:

  • Cost: $66–349/hour, depending on tutor qualifications; minimum $450 package
  • Writing tutor qualifications: Princeton graduates and professional writers (or current Princeton students); all experienced and highly trained, some with master’s or doctoral degrees

What we like:

  • Experienced Ivy-League tutors — most of their writing tutors are Princeton grads or current students, with some from Harvard and other Ivies, and many tutors have won prestigious academic prizes for their writing
  • Professional writers option to work with professional writers in nonfiction (journalism, published academic authors, academic book editing) or creative writing (screenwriters, playwrights, novelists, poets)
  • Different pricing options to meet different families’ circumstances
  • Smaller, boutique company offers more individualized approach customized for each student

What we don’t like:

  • Because they take the time to pair each student with the tutor that will be the best fit, sessions are not instantaneous and usually it takes 1–3 days to schedule with an Ivy-League tutor

Princeton University
Princeton University

#2 – Pearson

Our Verdict — Best Big Tutoring Company for Writing Tutoring

Price: $38–42/hour, or $31–42 for a one-off essay review

Pearson’s name might sound familiar — they’re a massive publishing conglomerate. You may also have heard of them from the controversy that ensued when the standardized tests that they were commissioned to create for the state of New York were found to contain over 30 errors and invalidated (whoops!).

Pearson has brought their enormous resources to produce Smarthinking, an online tutoring platform. Tutoring is convenient and can be on-demand (with whichever tutor is currently available) or scheduled in advance, and is offered at reasonable prices. Our inside sources have mentioned that the Smarthinking platform itself is over two decades old and can be buggy, so we hope that Pearson updates their platform soon.

Pearson’s tutors have a stronger educational background than many of the other competitors, with 90% of their tutors holding a master’s degree or doctoral degree. However, Pearson pays its tutors below-market wages ($11–13/hr), so it’s difficult for them to retain good teaching talent. It’s not possible to view any specific information about their tutors. There is no requirement for tutors to have graduated from top schools.

For writing assignments, Pearson also offers the chance to request written feedback on an individual draft. This is a great idea, but it’s more limited in reality — writing tutors are allotted only 30 minutes to review each essay, which might work for recommending some small tweaks but isn’t nearly enough time for guiding a student in making substantial improvements. Furthermore, tutors are supposed to do these essay reviews in between tutoring sessions, so unfortunately they’re often rushed and distracted.

Best for:

  • Pearon’s Smarthinking is a good option for families who specifically want to work with a very large company.

At a glance:

  • Cost: $42 for one hour, $150 for 4 hours ($37.50/hr); $31–42 for a one-off essay review, depending on page length
  • Writing tutor qualifications: college graduates, 90% of whom also hold master’s degrees or doctoral degrees — but not necessarily not from top-tier universities

What we like:

  • Higher educational experience — most of their writing tutors hold advanced degrees
  • Instant tutoring — on-demand tutoring is available 24/7, and just enter your credit card information to start immediately
  • Reasonable pricing

What we don’t like:

  • Tutors aren’t necessarily from top schools, and it’s not possible to see any information about their tutors
  • Online tutoring platform is two decades old and has technological problems
  • Low pay means they struggle to retain good teaching talent
writing

Why is learning how to write important for future success? Jump below.


#3 – Skooli

Our Verdict — Best Super-Quick Tutoring

Price: $39–49/hour

Skooli is a newer online tutoring platform and the only one we’ve found that offers tutoring charged by the minute.

Families can purchase packs for 8, 16, or 32 hours, or purchase individual hours. Students can then use these hours in as little as 15-minute increments. This might be handy for students who want to ask a tutor quick questions, and who don’t care about developing a relationship with a consistent tutor.

Tutors for Skooli have college degrees, but haven’t necessarily graduated from a top-tier school. It’s not possible to see more details about individual tutors until after giving credit card details.

Their online interface is slick and modern, although according to our inside sources it crashes frequently.

Best for:

  • Students who want to work with a tutor to answer quick questions (sessions as short as 15 minutes).

At a glance:

  • Cost: $1248 for 32 hours ($39/hr), $672 for 16 hours ($42/hr), $352 per 8 hours ($44/hr), or $49/hour for individual hours, billed by the minute ($0.82/minute, minimum 15 minutes)
  • Writing tutor qualifications: college graduates

What we like:

  • Tutoring available in very short increments, with a minimum session length of just 15 minutes
  • Instant tutoring — on-demand tutoring is available 24/7, and just enter your credit card information to start immediately
  • Reasonable pricing

What we don’t like:

  • Students can’t work with the same tutor consistently, which is less effective for learning
  • Tutors aren’t necessarily from top schools, and it’s not possible to see any information about their tutors
  • Online tutoring platform has some technological problems and crashes frequently

#4 – Wyzant

Our Verdict — Alternative for Families on a Budget

Price: $20–600/hour

There are plenty of large platforms with large stables of part-time tutors and coaches available to work with students. Wyzant is one of the largest such platforms, with more than 65,000 tutors providing services through their website — including 4,260 online writing tutors. Students and families can pick individual tutors to work with from their roster and arrange tutoring services directly.

One benefit of this model is that tutors can set their own rates, which vary hugely. Families on a budget can find online writing tutors as low as $20 per hour.

However, these tutors might not have any teaching experience or training, and they may not have graduated from a top school or have professional writing experience. Some tutors on Wyzant with more qualifications may have much higher rates — as high as $600 per hour!

Best for:

  • Families on a budget who are willing to work with a freelance tutor directly.

At a glance:

  • Cost: $20–600/hour
  • Writing tutor qualifications: varies

What we like:

  • Marketplace platform means that some tutors list low rates for tutoring, which can make tutoring more affordable

Families can choose their own tutor directly out of over 4,000 writing tutors listed

What we don’t like:

  • No training for tutors — which leads to uneven quality of instruction
  • Families are hiring individual tutors, which means tutor qualifications vary enormously, and there are no guarantees
  • Choosing the right tutor out of 4,000+ is one more task for busy families

#5 – Learn to Be

Our Verdict — Best Free Writing Tutoring (for qualifying families)

Price: free (or voluntary contribution of $9–30 per month)

Learn to Be is a fantastic non-profit organization improving education for underserved youth in the US. Students work with the same tutor consistently, which allows them to build a strong relationship and allows for mentoring as well as learning.

Students working with Learn to Be have seen an average increase in test scores of 15.8% and an average GPA increase of 1.6 — nearly two full letter grades (for example from a C to an A-)! Tutors are volunteers who are passionate about educational equity, and range from current high school and college students to professionals or retirees.

The program works primarily with foster youth, homeless youth, and other lower-income families. Possible qualifications for free tutoring with Learn to Be include: student attends a Title 1 school, receives free or reduced lunch at school, comes from a single-parent home, is a foster child, is homeless, or qualifies for food stamps. It’s possible to work with a Spanish-speaking tutor through Learn to Be.

Best for:

  • Students who qualify for free tutoring (foster youth or low-income families).

At a glance:

  • Cost: $0
  • Writing tutor qualifications: varies

What we like:

  • Non-profit helping underserved youth
  • Completely free tutoring for qualifying families
  • Students work with the same tutor consistently, which builds trust and leads to a better individualized educational experience

What we don’t like:

  • Volunteer tutor qualifications vary — some tutors are high school students as young as 14 years old
  • Only for qualifying youth in the US (low income or foster youth)
writing assignment online

Read below: how learning how to write well can unlock success for decades to come


Best of the Rest for Online Writing Tutoring

#6 – Princeton Review / Tutor.com

Our Verdict — Disappointing Quality from Test-Prep Giant

Price: $60–75/hour for scheduled tutoring, minimum package $450; lower-quality instant tutoring at $26–35/hour, minimum package $350; monthly subscription instant tutoring at $36–40/hour

Back in 2014, Tutor.com acquired the well-known test-prep company The Princeton Review.

(Note that the Princeton Review has no connection to Princeton University.)

They now offer subject-area tutoring in over 80 different academic areas, including essay writing. The range of tutoring options is a little confusing, but it basically breaks down to three different models: families can choose between (1) packages of 6–60 scheduled tutoring hours with more highly-qualified tutors through “The Academy”, (2) one-off tutoring packages of 10–50 “instant tutoring” hours that can be used over a six-month period, or (3) a monthly subscription for 1–5 instant tutoring hours each month. Tutors are available 24/7 for instant sessions.

For students enrolled in The Academy’s scheduled tutoring sessions with packages of 24 hours ($1620) or 60 hours ($3600), they advertise a “guaranteed A.” This promise turns out to be a little deceptive, as the guaranteed “A” only applies to students who already have at least a B; for students who start with a B- or lower the guarantee is for one full letter grade. For students who work with a tutor through their Homework Help packages at least 2 hours each month for 3 months in one subject, they guarantee a grade increase of at least a half-step letter grade. (This guarantee doesn’t apply for students who already have an A- or A.) Of course, there’s a lot of additional rules in the fine print for these guarantees!

Unfortunately, we were disappointed with the quality of this offering from The Princeton Review. In contrast to their operations for standardized test prep (like SAT and ACT prep), their platform for subject-area tutoring does not provide instructors with training, so there’s very little consistency. Tutors are also capped at 2 or 3 sessions per day, so they’re by design part-time instructors who are teaching a little on the side.

While The Princeton Review / Tutor.com claims to count Ivy grads and experts with advanced degrees among their tutors, we found this to be misleading. Most of their tutors have only a BA, and most have graduated from local schools that are not even in the top 200 universities. Pay for tutors is minimum wage, so it’s difficult for them to attract good teaching talent.

Surprisingly for The Princeton Review, their subject-area tutoring is a tutoring marketplace platform (similar to Wyzant). Families select individual tutors to work with based on their bios and arrange the tutoring sessions individually. For us, this obviates the point of working with a large company like Princeton Review, where in theory the advantage is quality control and a standard curriculum, even if it comes with a more corporate feel. With this marketplace model, tutor quality and qualifications vary considerably, especially given that tutors do not receive any training or teaching materials.

Our inside sources tell us that their online teaching platform is outdated and has many technological bugs that make it crash frequently, and at least one year ago it only worked on PCs, not Macs!

At a glance:

  • Cost: The Academy tutoring packages: $450 for 6 hours ($60/hr), $1620 for 24 hours ($67.50/hr), or $3600 for 60 hours ($60/hr); Homework Help packages that can be used over a period of 6 months: $350 for 10 hours ($35/hr), $950 for 30 hours ($32/hr), or $1450 for 50 hours ($26/hr); Homework Help tutoring subscriptions: $40 for 1 hour each month, $115 for 3 hours each month ($38/hr), or $180 for 5 hours each month ($36/hr)
  • Tutor qualifications: college graduates

What we like:

  • Reasonable pricing for tutoring and a range of payment models
  • Tutors are available 24/7 for instant Homework Help packages

What we don’t like:

  • Tutor qualifications vary — most are from local or state schools, not competitive colleges
  • Online platform is buggy and crashes frequently
  • Challenging for them to attract good teaching talent as pay is minimum wage
  • Low quality of teaching, surprising for a big-name player in test prep

#7 – ArborBridge

Our Verdict: Pricey Service with Mystery Tutors

Price: $165+/hour, minimum package $2400 for 15 hours

Featuring crisp, minimalist visuals and a younger team, ArborBridge calls itself “the next generation of test prep.” They’ve always been remote and online, so they haven’t suffered the growing pains with the shift to online learning that many competitors with outdated platforms (like Pearson and Princeton Review) have experienced.

That said, their tutoring is quite expensive! Their rate is always at least $160 per hour, and the minimum package is a hefty $2400 for 15 hours of tutoring. They also advertise a “concierge” tutoring service with a more customized experience — price upon request.

Is it worth the price? We’re not so sure.

ArborBridge claims to have hired the “best” tutors but they do not list any specific qualifications for their tutors or provide any bios for their tutor roster. On their (slightly-defunct) Instagram page they have provided some fun facts about a few of their tutors, but they don’t list any educational background, years of experience, or relevant professional credentials, just favorite foods and television shows. There’s no indication that their tutors have graduated from top colleges, have teaching experience, or any other relevant qualifications — unlike services like PrepMaven or Tutoring Service of New York that only hire Ivy-League tutors. In fact, our sources have mentioned that their tutors don’t receive much training prior to teaching.

They also, unlike the Princeton Review, don’t offer any guarantees for raising grades or scores.

In the end, we’re not sure why ArborBridge has such high prices without offering particularly high-quality tutoring in return. Their website looks nice, though!

At a glance:

  • Cost: $160/hour, minimum package is $2400 for 15 hours (+ 1 bonus hour); $4800 for 30 hours (+ 3 bonus hours); $7200 for 45 hours (+ 6 bonus hours) — or “concierge tutoring” with “highest level of hands-on care,” price upon request
  • Writing tutor qualifications: unknown

What we like:

  • Known for good customer service
  • Younger, more modern tutoring service that’s built with technology from the get-go

What we don’t like:

  • Expensive, with a minimum cost of $2400 for 15 hours of tutoring
  • No information about tutor qualifications provided
  • No guarantees for grade or score raises
  • Seems more design than substance

#8 – Learner

Our Verdict — Writing Tutoring that Includes ESL Learners

Price: $40+/hour

Learner is another newer online tutoring platform. Unlike many of the other services on this list, Learner also provides tutoring services to adults, especially for non-native English speakers.

Specifically for writing, we like that they will develop a tailor-made writing curriculum for individual students. In their writing tutoring sessions, students can receive lessons on grammar and research paper writing, read examples of good essays, and get help from their tutor with homework assignments. On the whole, Learner seems to have a stronger focus on writing than some of the other tutoring services like Skooli or Varsity Tutors.

While they advertise that their tutors have degrees from “top universities,” it seems that the only necessary qualification for tutors at Learner is a college degree (not just from top schools).

Their “satisfaction guarantee” simply means that they’ll allow families to switch to another tutor if it’s not a good fit.

Their rates are reasonable for “average” tutors who do not have professional writing experience or degrees from elite universities.

At a glance:

  • Cost: $40+/hour
  • Writing tutor qualifications: college graduates

What we like:

  • More focus on writing tutoring than some competitors
  • Reasonable pricing for online writing tutoring

What we don’t like:

  • No specific tutor qualifications beyond a college degree

#9 – Club Z! Tutoring

Our Verdict — Tutoring Franchise with (Purported) Writing Curriculum

Price: varies by location (franchise)

Club Z! is a tutoring franchise, so pricing and other details vary by location. Tutors with Club Z! do not have any specific qualifications.

We’ve included them on this list because they claim to have developed a writing tutoring program, The Power of Words ©, which helps students write more effectively and efficiently for writing assignments and timed essays.

However, our sources have mentioned that they do not actually provide tutor training or teaching resources, so it’s unclear to what extent this writing tutoring program has actually been implemented.

They offer both online and in-home tutoring.

At a glance:

  • Cost: varies depending on franchise location
  • Writing tutor qualifications: not specified

What we like:

  • (Supposed) writing curriculum, The Power of Words ©

What we don’t like:

  • No specific qualifications for tutors — so unclear if tutors are college graduates, come from strong educational backgrounds, or have teaching experience
  • No training or teaching resources for tutors, leading to uneven quality

#10 – Sylvan Learning

Our Verdict — Tutoring Franchise that Includes Spanish-Speaking Staff

Price: varies by location (franchise)

Like Club Z! Tutoring, Sylvan Learning is a franchise, so pricing and other details vary by location.

While previously Sylvan Learning was entirely in-person, they have more recently pivoted to offer online tutoring as well via their “MySylvanMarketplace” platform. Families can find online writing tutoring via this platform.

Tutors with Sylvan Learning do not have any specific credentials like college degrees, elite educational backgrounds, or teaching experience. However, we like that many Sylvan Learning centers do have Spanish-speaking staff, which may be helpful for some families and students.

On the whole, we found their website and platform a bit challenging to navigate, and it was difficult to get answers to our questions. Since each of the Sylvan centers is locally owned and operated, the customer service experience can vary significantly.

At a glance:

  • Cost: varies depending on franchise location
  • Writing tutor qualifications: college graduates

What we like:

  • Some staff at Sylvan Learning centers may speak Spanish

What we don’t like:

  • No specific qualifications for tutors — so unclear if tutors are college graduates (let alone come from strong educational backgrounds) or have teaching experience
  • Confusing website and online tutoring platform

#11 – Varsity Tutors

Our Verdict — Uneven Quality Without Budget Pricing

Price: $60–95/hour

Varsity Tutors is an enormous tutoring platform offering online instruction in all academic subjects and test prep, including writing. These days their marketing has been ubiquitous!

However, Varsity Tutors’ size has many downsides — most notably, very uneven quality of teaching.

Tutors at Varsity need only a high school degree, and there is no requirement for tutors to have a college degree or teaching experience, let alone a top-tier educational background or professional writing credentials.

Tutors can join the Varsity team very quickly and are paid lower rates than nearly any other tutoring company (just $12–15 for sessions that cost families up to $95), so it’s difficult for Varsity to attract and retain good talent. Lucky families might get assigned a good tutor, but that’s not at all assured.

Varsity Tutors also does not provide any tutor materials, curriculum, or training, so it’s up to individual tutors to create everything from scratch, contributing further to the unevenness of quality.

With rates higher than the competition with similar types of tutors (no specific qualifications beyond a college degree), Varsity is significantly overpriced. We’d recommend that families either consider a more budget-friendly option that would offer the same quality as Varsity in the $30–40/hour price range, or else consider a service like PrepMaven (starting at $66/hour) or Tutoring Service of New York (starting at $112/hour) that pairs students with highly-qualified tutors with advanced degrees, professional writing experience, and Ivy-League backgrounds.

At a glance:

  • Cost: $60–95/hour
  • Writing tutor qualifications: high school graduates

What we like:

  • Large number of tutors, so certain to find a tutor to fit your schedule

What we don’t like:

  • No education or training requirements for tutors, along with low pay rates for instructors, means tutors are less-qualified than alternative writing tutoring services
  • Uneven teaching quality due to lack of resources for instruction
  • Overpriced given the lack of required qualifications for tutors

#12 – Chegg

Our Verdict — Lightweight Essay Review on a Membership Basis

Price: $20 per month

Chegg is one of the biggest tutoring platforms, so families may be familiar with their name already. We should note that they’ve pivoted several times in the past few years, so their service may have changed from what families have read.

Whereas previously (first as InstaEDU, then as Chegg Tutors) Chegg offered live tutoring instruction online, Chegg no longer offers one-on-one tutoring.

Instead, they now offer two subscription levels that allow students to view instructional videos, access answer keys for common textbooks, and receive asynchronous written feedback to homework questions. These questions are primarily answered by “subject matter experts” located in India.

We’ve kept Chegg on our list for online writing tutoring because the higher subscription tier, their “Chegg Study Pack,” does include the option to submit papers for limited written feedback with a 48-hour turnaround time. Students can submit up to 15 short papers per month, up to 3000 words each (about 6 pages double-spaced).

That said, this is not the same as active writing tutoring with live discussion and exercises directly with a tutor. The written feedback provided by Chegg’s essay review service is limited. Moreover, the essay reviews are done by different tutors every time, so there’s no opportunity to grow through working with one tutor consistently.

This service might work for students who want merely a quick check of their grammar or other small details on school assignments and don’t care about long-term improvements as a writer.

They also throw in an online tool to scan for plagiarism. Even if you didn’t intend to plagiarize, this tool can check for well-meaning “paraphrasing errors or missing citations.”

However, we don’t think it’s a good way to learn how to write. For the best educational experience, families should look for online writing tutoring services that provide one-on-one video sessions with a consistent tutor each time.

At a glance:

  • Cost: $15 per month for Chegg Study subscription, which provides homework resources only and no essay reviews; $20 per month for Chegg Study Pack subscription which provides essay reviews (up to 15 short papers per month, up to 3000 words each) and math question help in addition to the homework resources
  • Writing tutor qualifications: none specified

What we like:

  • Large number of written essay reviews per month, up to 15 short essays

What we don’t like:

  • Asynchronous, written feedback is not an effective way to learn
  • No education or training requirements for tutors, and no information about who the writing reviewers are
  • No option to work with the same writing tutor for each review, so no chance to grow with an individual tutor

#13 – TutaPoint

Our Verdict — Creative Writing and Quick Editing but Little Expertise

Price: $50/hour

Unlike many of the other online writing tutoring services, TutaPoint is one of the few that explicitly includes help learning creative writing. (The other services on our list that can teach creative writing are #1, PrepMaven, where students can even work with Ivy-League professionals in creative writing fields like screenwriting or publishing, and the Tutoring Service of New York.)

In addition to one-on-one tutoring sessions, TutaPoint also offers the option to submit papers for written feedback with a 24-hour turnaround.

Unfortunately, TutaPoint’s website is a little confusing and lacks a lot of important information about their tutoring services.

More significantly, they pay their tutors about a quarter of what they charge clients, and this makes it difficult for them to attract and retain good teaching talent. Tutors at TutaPoint do not have any specific qualifications. They do not necessarily have college degrees or teaching experience.

At a glance:

  • Cost: $50/hour
  • Writing tutor qualifications: none specified

What we like:

  • Creative writing included in their subjects available

What we don’t like:

  • No specified qualifications for tutors, so writing tutors do not necessarily have college degrees or teaching experience
  • Quality of tutors is lower due to low pay for instructors

#14 – Tutoring Service of New York

Our Verdict — New Service with Higher Minimum Package

Price: $130–155/hour

Founded by a former tutor with the now-defunct Ivy Global tutoring service, the new Tutoring Service of New York offers subject-area tutoring online, including literature and writing.

We like that they state that they teach both academic writing and creative writing — only #1 service PrepMaven and TutaPoint explicitly include creative writing.

Most of their tutors are current graduate students, many at Columbia University and NYU. The higher prices of the Tutoring Service of New York reflect the more elite educational background of the tutors. However, their minimum of $1200 for at least 5 sessions is high, especially since many other services have smaller minimum packages (compare $510 minimum at PrepMaven or $450 minimum at The Princeton Review), or else allow families to purchase one-off tutoring sessions (Pearson, Skooli, and others).

At a glance:

  • Cost: $1200 for five 90-minute sessions; $2000 for 10 sessions; $2700 for 16 sessions
  • Writing tutor qualifications: college graduates, mostly current graduate students at Columbia or NYU

What we like:

  • Qualified tutors with mostly Ivy-League backgrounds
  • Creative writing included along with academic writing

What we don’t like:

  • New service, so client reviews are still limited
  • Higher minimum tutoring packages

#15 – Preply

Our Verdict — Lower-Cost Tutoring Marketplace Platform

Price: $10–40/hour

Preply is a lower-cost marketplace platform. It’s significantly smaller than Wyzant, and currently there are only 45 writing tutors listed on the platform (compared with over 4,000 writing tutors listed on Wyzant).

Among those writing tutors listed, most don’t have high educational backgrounds. We spotted a number of grammar and punctuation mistakes on some of the tutor bios, which doesn’t bode well for their abilities as writing instructors. Preply is a more international platform, and some of the tutors are from other countries or located outside the US.

One benefit of Preply’s platform is that rates are very low, ranging from $10/hour to $40/hour. These rates are actually comparable or higher than the pay rates for most of the larger platforms on our list (like Pearson, The Princeton Review, Varsity Tutors, and TutaPoint), so don’t necessarily take these numbers on their own as indications of lower quality — just that tutors are earning a larger share.

That said, the writing tutoring available through Preply does appear to be lower-quality than other options.

At a glance:

  • Cost: $10–40/hour, depending on rates set by individual tutors
  • Writing tutor qualifications: varies

What we like:

  • Families can choose individual tutors on their marketplace platform

What we don’t like:

  • No specific qualifications for tutors and no quality control
  • Task of choosing the right tutor can be stressful

student studying for SAT with online tutor

Top 50 Online Writing Tutoring Services Considered

  • PrepMaven
  • Pearson’s Smarthinking
  • Skooli
  • Wyzant
  • Learn To Be – free tutoring for underserved youth in the US
  • Tutor.com/The Princeton Review
  • Learner
  • Club Z! Tutoring
  • Sylvan Learning
  • Varsity Tutors
  • Chegg
  • TutaPoint
  • Preply
  • Kaplan
  • TutorMe
  • StudyPoint
  • Lehman Tutoring Center
  • Spires
  • TeacherOn
  • Business Writing Center
  • UPchieve – free tutoring for underserved youth in the US
  • SpecialEdTutoring.com 
  • GilliamWritersGroup
  • Jamie Haverkampf, MFA
  • Suprex Learning
  • Superprof
  • UniversityTutor.com
  • Huntington Learning Center
  • MathTowne
  • Cluey Learning
  • Galaxy Grades
  • Clever Fox Education
  • Nurturing Wisdom
  • Paper.co
  • Themba Tutors
  • Tutoring Service of New York
  • Carla Castillo, carlaswritingspace.com 
  • Literacy Access, Ivy Sandz 
  • Kaplan Tutoring Services (separate from Kaplan)
  • ArborBridge
  • INC Education – focus on BIPOC students
  • Central Park Tutors
  • Special Education Resource
  • Parallel
  • Aralia
  • Revolution Prep
  • Prepclass
  • Studypool
Princeton University
Princeton University


Why is learning how to write important?

Writing is a core skill that is essential for success in high school and college, as well as many graduate programs and future careers

Consider the following:

  • AP tests that require short answers and essays: AP English Literature, AP English Language, AP US History, AP European History
  • College admissions essays
  • Scholarship essays
  • Writing samples for college applications
  • Exams and papers for college classes
  • Internship applications
  • Grant applications
  • Fellowship applications (Fulbright, Rhodes, Gates, NIH, etc)
  • Graduate school applications (medical school, law school, business school, etc)
  • Research paper samples for graduate school applications
  • Master’s and doctoral theses
  • Coverletters and resumes for job applications
  • Networking with potential mentors
  • Written updates for your supervisor
  • Quarterly and annual reports for your job
  • Advertising for your freelance business
  • Letter for your mortgage application
  • Instructions to your direct supervisee
  • Speeches for your best friends’ weddings
  • Emails to your boss asking for a raise

Effective writing is at the heart of nearly every life hurdle! 

The skills that you build when you’re writing school assignments will be incredibly useful throughout your life. They’re applicable in nearly any job that you can imagine! Even for STEM jobs like doctors or computer engineers, clear writing is a highly-valued skill — one that becomes increasingly important as one aims at higher roles.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 73.4% of employers want a candidate with strong written communication skills. According to the College Board’s National Commission on Writing, two-thirds of salaried workers in large US companies have jobs that require writing

“Writing skills are fundamental in business,” a survey respondent in the College Board report said, “It’s increasingly important to be able to convey content in a tight logical direct manner particularly in a fast-paced technological environment.”

A recent publication from the Harvard Business School agreed, noting that “companies will waste lots of time and effort if their executives and employees can’t communicate clearly.”

writing in future career

However, many people lack the writing skills to succeed in their careers. The College Board’s study found that a majority of US employers said that a third of workers fail to meet the writing requirements of their positions.

When I was teaching college students at the University of Notre Dame, many of my students (especially freshmen and sophomores) had brilliant ideas, but were not able to communicate those ideas clearly in writing.

If writing is such a key skill for success in education, career, and life, why do so many people lack this skill?

Unfortunately, many schools don’t teach students how to write effectively. Classes assign essays and leave students to flounder, especially in larger classes where well-meaning teachers might not have enough time to help each student individually. 

The students who are the most successful tend to benefit from informal writing guidance at home from their parents or other mentors. But this is challenging and time-consuming — not to mention, many parents might not have honed those writing skills themselves!

Families have been increasingly recognizing the immense benefit of private writing tutoring. Learning how to write early on will have a positive ripple effect throughout the student’s academic and professional career, and a little bit of coaching can go a long way!

student writing


Learning to Write for College Admissions Essays

Because they’re one of the most consequential writing assignments students face, let’s focus on college application essays for a moment.

Can a great college essay alone get you into Harvard?

No. You’ll need your grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities (as well as letters of recommendation and interview) to be outstanding.

But can a mediocre essay be the reason you didn’t get into Harvard?

Yes. There are thousands of amazingly-qualified students who graduate from high school each year. Great grades and test scores might be a prerequisite for admission to a competitive college, but they alone aren’t enough.

College essays are a key component of a student’s application. When done well, they transform a collection of numbers — GPA, class rank, SAT scores or ACT scores, number of AP classes taken, AP scores — into a picture of a real, individual person.

Essays do many things. Good college essays can highlight extracurricular achievements which otherwise would be overlooked in a sterile list. Strong essays often indicate the student’s future plans — how they plan to leave a mark on their college campus and on the world. They can shine a light on unique challenges that a student may have had to face on their journey.

Princeton University
Princeton University

College admissions officers only have a few minutes to spend on each application. College essays need to be original, interesting, and memorable. They need to grab the attention of the admissions officer and persuade them that this is the student out of hundreds or thousands of other similarly-qualified applicants who should be admitted.

College admissions essays are usually unlike any other kind of writing that students have done before. They’re a combination of memoir and marketing pitch, and they need to be creative but also highly strategic. That’s a tough assignment!

A great writing tutor can help students learn the essential skills that underpin this unique kind of writing.


Why work with a writing tutor?

You may want to consider working with a writing tutor if:

  • You want to improve your grades in your school essays and papers
  • You want to improve your performance on the writing portion of exams (like many APs)
  • You don’t know how to make an outline before writing an essay
  • You don’t know how to write a thesis statement
  • You’re not sure how to improve your writing based on feedback from your teachers
  • You’re not sure how to edit and refine what you’ve written
  • You have a hard time keeping yourself on track for your writing assignments and want an external structure to hold you accountable
  • You have no idea where to start in order to write your college application essays
  • You don’t know how to craft a compelling story for your college application essays
  • You feel overwhelmed by all of the different ideas you have and don’t know what would be the most strategic for college admissions—and what topics to definitely avoid for college essays
  • You’re tired of conflict between students and parents about college essays
  • You’re aiming at a competitive college (not just the Ivy League!) and know that you need your essays to be outstanding
  • Your grades, test scores, and extracurriculars aren’t exceptional, so you need your college essays to make your essay stand out from the pack
  • You’re unfamiliar with the US college admissions process (a common situation for international students and first-generation families in the US)
  • You want to learn to write so you can succeed in your later career
  • You know that if you learn to write well now, you’ll do better on every class, exam, assignment, and application for the rest of your life!

Any of these are good reasons to consider working with a writing tutor.

A good writing tutor should not only provide students feedback on writing assignments (comments like “your thesis statement should be clearer” or “your introductory paragraph needs a better hook”) — they’ll teach students how to effect those changes

A good writing tutor can provide lots of examples of good student writing and model how to improve the specific areas that need improvement for each individual student.

Remember, writing is an essential skill for most degrees and most careers — even in STEM! Learning to write well early on will make each subsequent education and career step easier and more successful.

writing


What makes a good writing tutor?

Of course, a good writing tutor should be someone who understands how to write well!

But in addition to that sine qua non, a good writing tutor should be an amazing teacher with experience, a strong educational background, and the ability to plan appropriate enrichment assignments.

Good writing has two components: 

  • a micro level: good grammar, a rich vocabulary, correct punctuation, and the other nuts and bolts of writing “correctly”
  • a macro level: being able to organize your ideas clearly and communicate them effectively — figuring out what you want to say, in what order to present your ideas, and how to connect them

Both are crucial to written communication, and a good writing tutor will teach both the micro level and the macro level.

It can be surprisingly challenging to find a good instructor who can teach both sides of writing.

Look for experienced tutors with strong educational backgrounds (i.e. who attended top universities) who have taught writing previously.

Harvard University
Harvard University

Writing is a highly individualized activity — learning to write is, after all, learning how to communicate. This means that individual tutoring is particularly effective for learning how to write more effectively. 

The personal nature of writing also means that students will learn better when they can establish a relationship with their writing tutor. Look for a tutoring service where students can continue with the same tutor and build a sense of rapport.

A good writing tutor can help students to succeed on any writing assignments they may have for school. They can teach students how to work through the entire process of brainstorming, researching, planning, outlining, writing, and revising an essay.

An experienced writing tutor can also create additional assignments for students that will teach them key writing skills for the future and enrich their education. 

These enrichment assignments might include research papers, literary analysis papers, or creative writing projects appropriate to their grade level. This can be a great opportunity to challenge high-achieving students and develop their skills beyond what is offered by their school.

writing


Summary

Best overall: The one-on-one writing tutoring from PrepMaven is the best out there both in terms of tutor quality and price. While PrepMaven’s tutors can certainly help with school assignments, they can also offer educational enrichment and coach students through creative writing projects. Starting at just $66/hour, students can work with current undergraduates at Princeton, Harvard, and other Ivy-League universities to improve their writing skills. Families can also work with experienced, professional educators and Ivy-League graduates at $149/hour. As a boutique tutoring service, PrepMaven offers careful attention to each student and boasts amazing customer reviews. Unique among the tutoring services we surveyed, PrepMaven doesn’t just offer assignment support — they can also teach students how to write.

Best of the big companies: The Smarthinking platform developed by publishing giant Pearson provides reasonably-priced tutoring both on-demand and scheduled in advance, and it’s better than the tutoring provided by other large companies. Their tutors have a higher level of education than many other options — the majority hold advanced degrees. That said, mosts of their tutors aren’t from top-tier universities, and they struggle to keep good teachers. In addition, their online platform is older and prone to crashing.

Best super-quick tutoring: If students want short-term tutoring available instantly, they might consider Skooli. Skooli is the only tutoring service we reviewed that offers tutoring by the minute. Tutors aren’t necessarily from top schools, and students can’t work with the same tutor consistently, so the quality of tutoring is lower, but on-demand tutoring can start as soon as you enter your credit card details.

Alternative for families on a budget: For families on a tighter budget, we’d suggest looking for an independent tutor on Wyzant. It’s a tutoring marketplace platform, so the quality varies hugely and there’s no oversight or qualification requirements, but you might find a decent tutor under $40/hour.

However, in our experience a good tutor can accomplish more with a student in one hour than an average tutor can do in five hours. With that in mind, it might be more effective to choose fewer hours of reliably high-quality tutoring.

Best free writing tutoring (for qualifying families): For qualifying lower-income families and students, Learn to Be is a fantastic option for free tutoring. Students can work with the same tutor consistently, which provides a good environment for learning. Tutors are volunteers with a wide range of backgrounds and experience levels, from current high school students to retired professionals.

Yale University
Yale University


Next steps

Ready to learn to write with one of our experienced tutors? Schedule a free tutoring consultation with Jessica (Director of Tutoring) or one of our founders to see what would be the best fit for your family.

Regardless of your current writing abilities and planned career path, learning how to write well is a skill that will pay dividends throughout your life

Remember that essays can be used to earn scholarships as well as college admission, so a few months of writing coaching now can pay off with up to $300,000 in tuition saved later.

Writing is also a highly-valued skill in the workplace, and employers are looking for graduates who are strong writers.

To start working with an Ivy-League writing coach today, set up a quick free consultation with our team.


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Emily

Emily graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University and holds an MA from the University of Notre Dame. She was a National Merit Scholar and has won numerous academic prizes and fellowships. A veteran of the publishing industry, she has helped professors at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton revise their books and articles. Over the last decade, Emily has successfully mentored hundreds of students in all aspects of the college admissions process, including the SAT, ACT, and college application essay.