The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Do you get it now?

Making sense of on-and-off-campus tutoring options

It’s Tuesday, 9:46 p.m. and the place is buzzing. Girls are gathered around one table, and a group of guys are walking through the door. Is this Café Brazil? CC’s Coffee Shop?

No. It’s SMU’s Althshuler Learning Enhancement Center, and the crowd is here to study, not socialize.

The LEC provides on-campus tutoring, a service that many students use for help with subjects ranging from rhetoric to 5000-level science classes. But the LEC is only one of several tutoring options available to SMU students.

“The LEC is a great resource, but if you need intensive help, outside tutoring is a great option,” Drue Gawel, a private tutor who advertises in the Daily Campus classified section said. Gawel has a background in tutoring mathematics and also helps students with study skills and strategy.

For his services, Gawel charges $60 an hour, the priciest tutor interviewed. Other prices ranged from $10 to $60 per hour. While the LEC is free of charge to undergraduates, student tutors make from $7-$9 per hour.

For specialized study, such as LSAT preparation, Study Hall, located in Snider Plaza, offers courses for a flat rate of $400. Owner Henry Davis, who teaches all of Study Hall’s classes, focuses much of his energy toward area high schools.

Davis does refer many of these students to SMU.

“SMU is underrated by most people in Dallas, and is regarded highly as a quality school nationally,” Davis said.

Online tutoring services will gladly offer you help as well, but it can be more tedious to find the right choice. Many sites are focused more toward high school students, and finding help with that microeconomics homework may take some searching.

There are a few sites, such as, that do offer help for classes ranging from Spanish, chemistry and any math up to calculus II. This site has a partnership with over 200 institutions; among the biggest names are Baylor University and Texas Instruments.

With so-called “e-structors” ready to help, claims to have worked with 26,561 students online. Prices for such sites can vary, and one must usually pre-schedule for a specific tutor.

Most student tutors, though, don’t offer their services strictly for the money, and are usually available without an appointment.

“I just think that it’s always good to help out fellow students,” Cason Pierce said. A sophomore economics major, Pierce tutors between two and three nights a week, and although he has done outside tutoring for a fee, Pierce now exclusively works at the LEC. He and other LEC student tutors are in high demand.

This is what drew sophomore business major Evan Radler to seek outside help from a private tutor. Radler, who has used a tutor for three of his semesters at SMU, also wanted to further understand the concepts in his pre-calculus, calculus and statistics classes. He said that along with helping him understand the material, his tutor also coaches him in study skills such as test preparation.

“With an outside tutor,” Radler said, “you can stay ahead and be prepared with what you’ll need to know for the future.” He also likes that his tutor will meet him at on-campus locations at hours that fit his schedule.

Tutors are ready to help all SMU students, from first-years struggling with pre-calculus, to seniors. “Every student has something available [from a tutor],” said Ann Shattles, one of three “Learning Specialists” at the LEC. “Every student can benefit somehow.”

“A good tutor should try to make himself obsolete and should stand up and cheer when his student succeeds,” Associate Director of the LEC Ben Thomas said.

Thomas also said that if you are a student struggling to bump a B to an A, it’s all about “taking risks, without short-changing yourself.”

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