Whether it’s the education system as a whole or the syllabus or the school teacher, many learners find schooling a tiresome procedure and this is only made worse when there’s the added challenge of learning weaknesses.

Academic support refers to any form of supplemental academics and it doesn’t only apply to those learners who display learning shortcomings. Sometimes the strongest student needs just as much help to achieve academic success. The reason for poor school performance can often be boiled down simply to boredom.

And this is where the value of an experienced private tutor really starts to show. Teachers are often overwhelmed by the admin and protocols of the education system, not to mention the increasing number of learners per class. It’s impossible to provide individualised support to learners who are struggling academically. So the one-on-one nature of private tutoring is invaluable.

For many of us, one of the biggest concerns about employing academic support services is the cost.

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How to Gauge the Tutor Prices South Africa Offers

South African bank notes
Every Rand counts and fortunately we have access to affordable private tutoring in South Africa - Unsplash

Costing Tends to Increase the Higher a Learner’s Level Is

Generally tutor prices per hour will be anything between R100 – R180 per hour. However this is a very rough estimate and you may find an excellent tutor that charges double this amount.

But it is to be noted that private tutoring for primary school learners will be less costly than high school tutors and varsity tutors. This is because the higher the grade or learning level a student is in, the more advanced the supplementary tutoring will need to be.

Usually a high school math teacher will be more knowledgeable than someone who has been trained to teach primary school maths and thus the high school tutor will charge more.

So the simple formula usually is that the higher the learner’s level, the higher the tutor’s level and the higher the cost.

You Pay More for Experienced Tutors

As with any profession, a tutor with a lot of qualifications and experience will tend to charge more for their tutorial sessions.

But there is nothing wrong with being tutored by a student tutor who is just starting out and has little experience in tutoring but a keen understanding of the subject-matter that you need help with. Some students who are studying to be teachers may begin offering tutoring lessons before they’re qualified and this will mean they’ll be more affordable.

Some Subjects Are Pricier Than Others

That’s right, not all subjects are equal when it comes to pricing private tuition. It has a lot to do with supply and demand in the vicinity. Sometimes there will be a greater need for language tutors than there will be for maths tutors and so the language tutor will probably charge more.

What Kind of Academic Support Are You in Need Of?

  • Homework help
  • Maths
  • English
  • History
  • Test prep
  • ESL
  • Physics, Chemistry, Biology
  • Foreign languages such as French, Italian, German, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, etc.
  • Academic coaching
  • Study skills

Usually you’ll pay less for academic tutoring than you would for private sport coaching or cultural private tutors (such as drama of music).

child playing piano
With skills such as music and sport it's best to receive some tutoring in person - Unsplash

And then more general tutorial services such as providing homework help will also be less costly than being tutored for specific subjects such as geography, math and science. This is because the more specialised your needs are, the more knowledgeable and qualified a tutor will have to be.

Essentially even someone with no educational qualifications can facilitate after-school academic support such as helping with homework assignments and test preparation. This kind of individual tutoring acts as a substitute for parental supervision and doesn’t require such specialised skills.

How Does Location Effect Tutoring Prices?

The tutoring prices South Africa has to offer are very reasonable but they can still fluctuate in relation to your whereabouts.

Major cities such as Johannesburg and Cape Town will be more expensive than smaller towns when it comes to hiring tutoring services such as home tutoring and even small-group tutoring. You will also need to factor in the cost of transport and the impact of traffic as after-school tutoring often involves travelling through peak traffic when everyone is leaving work.

aerial view South African city
The price of personal tutoring tends to be higher in cities, mainly due to travel expenses - Unsplash

For these reasons sometimes online tutoring can just be a better option. Not only does it tend to be less expensive but you won’t have the stress of factoring in your travel time as well as the tutor’s travel time. This means that there would in fact be more time and financial resources to work in a few more tutorials every week which would far more likely lead to student success, not to mention peace of mind.

You can find online tutoring services for almost anything from cooking to geometry but for some things one-on-one tutoring is far more effective when done in person. If you’re hiring a private tutor for the sake of learning an instrument for instance, it would be best to connect with them in person, even if this isn’t for every lesson.

What Are the Costs of Using an Academic Support Platform?

The costs will vary from one platform to the next but it helps to know how costing is calculated and there are a few basic ways that these sites manage their fee structure.

If you are planning on making use of an online tutoring agency then you can expect to simply be charged a fee for helping you, the tutee, get in contact with the best tutor for your needs. These fees will differ from one organisation to the next depending on the services they offer and the quality of tutors they provide.

Most of the time a potential tutor will offer you a free first hour which is valuable for both the student and the tutor. In this hour you can decide if you are a good match and discuss what kind of tutoring programs you have in mind. It’s also a nice opportunity to assess if the tutor uses teaching methods that suit your learning-style.

Of course the whole point of getting extra tutoring from a personal tutor is to receive a tailor-made lesson and break away from the standardised instruction of the classroom. Tutors will adjust their approach according to each learner’s needs and address an individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

But it’s still best to meet face to face (even if it is on facetime) and make sure that there is a rapport between tutor and tutee.

The fee that you will be expected to pay the platform is there to cover running costs of the site and ensure quality service.

The More Tutorials You Take the Cheaper It Can Get

There are plenty of tutors who like to work according to a sliding scale and will provide you with a bigger discount the more hours you book with them. Basically, the more weekly tutorials you book the less your rate per hour will be.

green plant growing out of coins
Investing in tutoring will help students to grow and sometimes more is just more - Unsplash

Let’s say a tutor charges R180 per hour, as you begin to book more hours with them their rates could gradually drop, a bit like this:

  • 5 hours = R900 (R180 per hour)
  • 10 hours = R1 500 (R150 per hour)
  • 20 hours = R2 400 (R120 per hour)

But this will also depend on how much time you need to invest in extra tutoring which can be established in the introductory tutoring session that is usually free of charge.

Are There Ways to Lower the Cost of Supplemental Academics?

The world of academic resources and tutoring has expanded significantly and we are now spoilt for choice. You can choose an online tutor or home tutor; group tutoring at tutoring centers or a personalised mentoring and tutoring program.

Where supplemental instruction such as tutoring used to be a privileged service for the affluent it has thankfully become accessible to people from all walks of life.

So if you’re a stressed out student in need of a university tutor or a worried parent wishing to arrange after-school tutoring for your child, then don’t put off looking for a private tutor. It’s well within your reach.

Here are a few hints to help you economise when it comes to professional tutoring:

  • Don’t just book one tutorial at a time, instead book several tutorials at once and you’re sure to get a better rate.
  • Small-group tutorials are also very effective and the cost is then shared among the tutees. Some learners end up feeling more confident within a group as they realise they aren’t alone in their struggles.
  • Weekly tutoring isn’t always necessary and some learners/students will benefit from a short series of intensive holiday tutoring or exam preparation.
  • Online tutors tend to be less expensive because there are fewer costs involved such as travelling expenses.

No matter the subject-matter or learning difficulty you will find a tutor that’s right for your needs. Platforms such as Superprof can give you access to scores of talented academic tutors.

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Kyla

Born from a family of creatives, Kyla has a passion for the arts and interior design.