Three Penn seniors launched a new tutoring organization, StudyREV, to make getting academic help at Penn easier and more flexible.
Engineering seniors Maxwell Deng and Anushrut Shah and College senior Stefan Tzvetanov began a test run of StudyREV in March but fully launched the service this semester. Originally a tutor with the Weingarten Learning Center, Tzvetanov said he found Penn's tutoring rules to be rigid, particularly how individual tutoring sessions are offered in weekly timeslots for only up to two classes per student.
Tzvetanov said he wanted to create a more flexible tutoring service, so the founders made StudyREV's policies less strict. Through StudyRev, tutees can request help when they need it instead of being assigned weekly timeslots. Tutors can work as their schedule permits, and tutees pay as much as they are willing or able to.
“At Penn especially — we’ve spent three years here now — people don’t really benefit from each other a lot. We underuse and undervalue each other. We wanted to create that environment of collaboration,” Tzvetanov said, “It’s just us acting as the middle point between the people that want help and the people that can, and maybe the overlap as well.”
Currently, StudyREV has around 350 users, with 80 registered tutors, the founders said. All tutors are Penn students who have submitted a transcript to demonstrate they received an A or A- in the class they are tutoring for. Most tutors are undergraduate students, though there are a few graduate student tutors. After each session, tutees have the opportunity to rate their tutors, which is visible to others, the founders said.
To get a tutor, students submit a request on the StudyREV website specifying the class they’d like help in, what material they want to review, and the amount they’d like to pay. After a few hours, they are matched with a tutor.
Each matched tutor and tutee pair discuss price, length, and frequency of tutoring sessions and how they’d like to meet, whether online or in-person, the founders said. Tutors can choose which requests to accept based on their availability, and tutees are able to request specific tutors.
College sophomore Rodolfo Pena said finding a tutor through StudyREV was simple and quick. Pena said he initially requested a tutor at Weingarten but never heard back, so he requested tutors at StudyREV instead. Pena said he has found his tutors knowledgeable and helpful.
As an organic chemistry tutor for both Weingarten and StudyREV, College junior Shivani Patel said she enjoyed tutoring with both, but said her experience as a satellite tutor with Weingarten was not as personalized since students would just drop in without forming a long-term relationship with her. Satellite tutoring services are generally small-group sessions held during timeslots where students can attend as needed.
Patel said she likes the individualized interface StudyREV offers, particularly how students are able to request the price they are comfortable with and meet with tutors as often as they want.
Shah said tutors for MATH 103, MATH 104, and organic chemistry have been especially popular this semester. Moving forward, Tzvetanov said the group wants to further establish its brand, recruit more tutors and tutees, and improve the matching algorithm. So far, he said, students have been reasonable with pricing and he has heard that tutors have been effective.
The name, StudyREV, comes from "study" and "revolution," which Tzevtanov said reflects their purpose.
“What really differentiates [Penn] from the rest, and maybe the top universities, is people. The people are really good, they're really bright, they're really smart," Tzevtanov said, "There are different strengths, people just go to different things. That's why we call it a revolution."
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