Get a Peer Tutor

Requesting a Peer Tutor


Students seek formal peer tutoring from other students for many reasons:

  • to discuss new information and concepts they are learning
  • to review material they already know
  • to refresh their mastery of material they have forgotten
  • to prepare for a test, exam, or presentation
  • to get academic assistance beyond the help provided by the course faculty and teaching fellows

Request a BSC Peer Tutor

Submit your request on tutoring.fas.harvard.edu. All tutees are required to complete the online tutee orientation once a year. This orientation provides helpful advice and information on ways to get the most from your peer tutoring experience, academic integrity, fees and billing.

Thank you for your patience during the launch of the new BSC online peer tutoring system. We are working to fulfill peer tutoring requests as quickly as possible. Please contact us directly with questions or concerns at  bsctutor@bsc.harvard.edu or 617-495-2581 or stop by the BSC at 5 Linden Street.

About the Tutors

Almost all peer tutors are Harvard undergraduate students although occasionally Harvard graduate students do serve as peer tutors. All peer tutors meet the requirements outlined on the BSC’s website.

Costs and Financial Aid

The standard fee is $18 per hour. Program subsidies and individual financial aid often help to cover the fees:

Harvard College

Harvard College undergraduates pay $7 per hour; the rest of the fee is subsidized by Harvard College. 

Students receiving financial aid from Harvard will receive a credit at the end of each academic term for their peer tutoring charges on their termbill in proportion to their financial aid package. If you have a financial aid package and would like to know the amount that you will be credited for the fees, please contact your financial aid officer or email the Harvard College Financial Aid Office.

If you have any concerns about being able to afford the fees, please contact the BSC and the Financial Aid Office. The College wants peer tutoring to be within financial reach of all students; College staff are readily available to consult with you about these concerns to figure out next steps.

Graduate Schools

Eligible graduate students should speak with their program dean or director to determine eligibility for financial support.

Harvard Extension School

Harvard Extension School students should contact the School's Undergraduate Degree Programs Office to determine their eligibility for peer tutoring and financial support.

Billing

All peer tutoring is term-billed and all financial transactions for peer tutoring take place through the Bureau of Study Counsel. The tutor reports hours worked directly to the BSC. The BSC then charges the tutee’s term bill and pays the tutor.

You will receive an email every Sunday morning with a report of the hours your tutor has submitted. If the hours are incorrect, please contact bscfinance@bsc.harvard.edu before 10:00 a.m. on Monday.

Tutors are not permitted to accept any kind of payment directly from a tutee.

Tutee Responsibilities

Keeping us updated will help us find you and other students a tutor more quickly.

We ask that you:

  • contact your tutor
    • within 24 hours of being matched
    • at least 24 hours in advance of canceling a tutoring session
  • notify the Bureau of Study Counsel
    • if you want to cancel your tutoring request, even if you have not been matched yet
    • with any questions or concerns
  • abide by the College’s policies on academic integrity as outlined in the Handbook for Students and the Honor Code.

Scheduling and Receiving Tutoring Sessions

Scheduling and Cancellations

It is up to you and your peer tutor to determine where, when, and for how long you meet. You can set a regular weekly time or schedule one session at a time as needed.

If you need to cancel an appointment, notify your peer tutor 24 hours in advance; the peer tutor has a right to charge you for one hour if he or she has not been notified.

Prep Time

By advance mutual agreement between you and your tutor, your tutor may charge up to one half hour of preparation time for each tutoring session.

About Writing and Editing

Peer tutors cannot provide writing or editing help. They can, however, help you review the course content and think through your ideas. BSC academic counselors can help with some aspects of the writing process and connect students with the available resources at Harvard.

Harvard College:

Harvard College students can find a list of writing resources at the Harvard College Writing Program Writing Center.

Graduate Students:

Graduate students can find a list of Harvard writing resources at http://writing.fas.harvard.edu. Graduate students can also check with their program director to see if their program offers department-based writing support.

About Electronic Media

Peer tutoring must take place in person, rather than electronically (e.g., via email, video chat, or social networks). The use of electronic communications are certainly appropriate for scheduling and logistical issues, but not for peer tutoring.

Although we understand it may seem more convenient, some of the reasons electronic peer tutoring is not allowed include:

  • Keeping track of electronic tutoring hours can be complicated and unwieldy - and a source of misunderstanding about what constitutes "bill-able" tutoring time. 
  • The potential for plagiarism (whether intentional or unintentional) increases when the tutor provides content in a format that can easily be cut and pasted. 
  • It is difficult to maintain boundaries on tutor availability once the door to electronic communications is opened; the BSC's peer tutoring program does not expect tutors to be available 24/7 via electronic means, even for "quick questions." 
  • Effective peer tutoring requires close attention to nonverbal cues; this kind of awareness is difficult to achieve using electronic means.
  • The BSC's peer tutoring program is private in accordance with FERPA and Harvard College policies, and electronic media are not private.

Questions and Concerns

Whatever the reason, if peer tutoring does not feel helpful to you, please let us know immediately. We will work with you to find another peer tutor or resources within the community.

We welcome your feedback on any aspect of your peer tutoring experience. You may speak with a staff member by coming to the BSC at 5 Linden Street or by calling us at (617) 495-2581.