Colgate University sophomore Michael Sorin was recruited to play varsity soccer, a demanding sport in terms of physicality as well as time. One night his freshman year, he got back to school late from an away game and started studying for his economics exam taking place the following day and found that he desperately needed help. His professor’s office hours were long past and no friends were around who could assist him. Does this situation sound familiar to you? It’s safe to say that we can all name someone (most likely ourselves) who knows what it would have felt like to be in Michael’s place. It’s a problem that all college students face during their time in school; sometimes you just really need some last-minute help. This is why Michael founded InstaTute: an on-demand tutoring platform that is designed for the busy college lifestyle.
InstaTute is a TIA venture that started up earlier this year. TIA is Colgate’s business accelerator and student incubator that mentors students and alumni in starting their own businesses and/or developing their ideas and making them marketable. With the assistance of TIA mentors, Michael has been able to develop a business plan and start seriously thinking about making InstaTute a permanent installation at Colgate and hopefully expanding to other schools.
Michael and his partner Michela Hendell ‘18 tested the first version of InstaTute in their Intro to Statistics class last semester. Michela vetted tutors for the class, making sure they were doing well in the course and were available to help their peers. About fourteen sessions were scheduled during the initial pilot. Overall, students gave very positive responses to the sessions, which validated Michael’s decision to go ahead and develop InstaTute fully.
Right now, the website is up and running. Students can request a tutor to help them in one of the seven classes available or simply with essay writing. The benefits of this system for students needing help is the fast response time of tutors and the chance to meet according to their availability and location. A student can schedule a tutoring session for immediate assistance or up to 24 hours in advance. The pros for tutors lie in being able to make their own hours as well as being able to work more hours during the week than the Colgate tutoring center allows, thus allowing them to earn more money.
A testimonial from student Colleen Heaney demonstrates the main advantage of the program. She says, "I loved how immediately my tutor came. It was truly instant.” InstaTute caters to the modern need of having things on-demand while providing a great service to students who are like Michael's freshman-year self and need help balancing extracurriculars and schoolwork. Right now, they're looking for more students to sign up to tutor, so if you're in need of some quick cash, what better way to make some than by helping out your peers?