Frequently Asked Questions

Understanding Professional Tutoring

Have you ever made a professional appointment, gone shopping in a new store, or called a new service provider? If so, did you create expectations for the experience? If so, were any of your expectations too high? Customers can establish intrinsic expectations of the service they seek. However, their expectations of what to expect may not be realistic by the provider's standards. This expectation conflict is often witnessed when a person requests tutoring assistance.  For example, students seeking tutoring help in the TLC believed a tutor was going to do their homework for them. That is an unreal expectation and a violation of academic honesty. Tutoring is academic support that helps students become independent thinkers and learners.

"Tutors are persons who, in a structured and supervised educational context, enter into a peer (or professional) teaching and learning relationship with one or more others (MacDonald,1994, p.6)."

In his book, The Master Tutor: A Guidebook for more effective tutoring, Dr. Ross B. MacDonald explains his definition of a tutor (quoted above) by breaking down the essential phrases therein. Let's take a look: So that the patron of tutoring recognizes that the tutoring session is authorized and approved by the college, Dr. MacDonald uses the phrase, "...structured and supervised educational context..." Next, he wants you to understand the term "peer" to mean that you are working with a student who is around the same grade level as you. Conversely, in the Teaching and Learning Center, we also utilize professional tutors. These are tutors who have acquired graduate degrees in the subjects that they tutor, and may have acquired sufficient life experience to support additional content in which they tutor. Further, the phrase, "teaching and learning relationship," speaks to the way the student and tutor work together for the purpose of giving and receiving academic support. This statement helps to distinguish a working relationship from a general or close friendship. If you are working with a tutor who happens to be your friend, recognize that their primary responsibility in that session is as a tutor and not as your friend. When these lines get blurred, it is recommended (when possible) to work with a tutor with whom you do not have a personal relationship.

Tutoring is an excellent support service provided to all BGSU enrolled students at no additional cost. Tutoring is an essential resource for students both on-campus and online. Tutoring is a unique form of instruction conducted individually or in a small group setting. The goal of tutoring is to help students learn how they retain information best to overcome learning challenges. This type of support can look different for each student. Tutoring helps students develop as independent learners and thinkers.  

However, there may be occasions when the TLC does not have a tutor that supports your specific course. In such cases, we call upon our colleagues in the Learning Commons located at the main campus. We also use the Ohiolink eTutoring service when necessary. 

Students who want to be successful in their degree program can call upon the Teaching and Learning Center and request tutors to help them with speeches, resume writing, presentations, practice interviews, and content review. We are falcons helping falcons.

In further reading, you will learn the rights and responsibilities of both the tutee (a person receiving help) and the tutor (a person giving help). You can review the code of conduct that contains students' rights and students' responsibilities while enrolled as BGSU students. Finally, you are given access to the policy on academic honesty to help you avoid the pitfalls that can get students expelled (including online students) from the University.  

MacDonald, R.B. (1994).  The master tutor: A guidebook for more effective tutoring. NY: Cambridge Stratford, Ltd.

Did you play a sport as a kid or in school? If so, you probably had a coach for that sport. The coach's role was to teach you to play the sport well by ensuring that you knew the rules of the game and that you knew your position in the game and all the responsibilities for that position. But more than knowing the foundations of the game, the coach's goal was to make sure you understood how to be successful in the game by applying these same fundamentals and winning the game. An academic coach is no different. 

The academic coach is here to help you understand how you learn best. The coach will teach you skills and strategies that support how to learn. Also, your coach will assist you in knowing how to be a competent student and the rules that help you in continuing to be a student. Finally, the coach wants you to understand how to be successful in academics by graduating with your degree.  

Coaching is not academic advising, as the two often need clarification. Coaches strive to encourage learning, growth, and development by choice but are not positioned to provide expertise in policies, procedures, or requirements. Trained coaches help build students' motivation, and self-awareness to recognize (and decide for themselves) what serves their best interests.

Scheduling weekly meetings with an academic coach is a great way for students to stay on course with their academic pursuits at BGSU Firelands. Coaches can assist you in reviewing your course load and developing strategies for studying, organizing, and time management.

Academic Coaches provide a wide range of resources, including:

  • Using Canvas
  • Understanding a syllabus
  • Access to resources in the Library
  • Mapping out of assignments
  • Note-taking methods
  • Organization
  • Referral Services to academic and personal assistance services
  • Study group strategies
  • Study Strategies
  • Test-taking strategies
  • Time management assistance
  • To-do lists

Finally, your academic coach serves as an accountability partner. Weekly appointments offer an opportunity to not only learn and develop college success strategies, but appointments also serve the purpose of keeping you on track with your studies and schedule for graduation.

Supplemental instruction (SI) is an approach to support students academically by merging the "what to learn" with the "how to learn". This method is designed to have students from the same course meet regularly, outside of their class, to support one another in comprehending the lessons and preparing for exams.  The key objectives of SI include:

  1. improve student's grades in courses, especially challenging courses;
  2. improve student retention;
  3. increase students' graduation rate.

SI meetings are free, and led by a trained student leader (who has completed the course) or professional tutor who facilitates interactive learning initiatives that produce small group, peer-to-peer interaction. Courses that are often viewed as high-risk (due to poor student success rates) as well as program majors that have low retention rates, are the target audience generator for SI.  SI:

  • puts students at ease of asking questions that they may be too afraid to ask in class
  • implements regular study time each week for the course
  • establishes peer-learning cohorts
  • affords students reinforcement of the content learned during class

Tutoring and SI are not the same. SI does not review graded assignments but covers the concepts taught in class, review class notes, discuss reading assignments, develop test-taking strategies, and review for exams. Therefore, students need to attend class if they want to participate in SI meetings. SI sessions are determined by the SI leader. Sessions can be held several times each week both on-campus or online. If an SI group is not formed for a course you are in, you can still use tutoring to support and reinforce what you are learning in the course. Remember to check in with your course instructor for their 'office hours' to discuss any course concerns you may have.  

Research indicates that students who participate in SI sessions withdraw from courses less often, and have a higher academic performance in the course than those who did not. Once SI is implemented for the course, the Teaching and Learning Center works collaboratively with the faculty who instruct the course to ensure SI meetings are assessed appropriately and well supported.  

Check with your professor to learn if your course is SI-eligible. If not, consider small group tutoring as a substitute.

In most cases, before a company publishes any information, be it online or in print, a content reviewer ensures that the material is accurate, high-quality, free of errors, and appropriate for the intended audience. Such a process can seem rigorous and systemic but seeks to identify if the author demonstrates the strategies to comprehend the content and represents that well in the publication. For you as a college student, the process is little changed. 

In higher education, faculty examine aspects of the course to learn where students need to come prepared with certain skills and knowledge sets rather than learn the skills while taking the course.  In a content review, a professional tutor works with you individually to assure you that you understand and can demonstrate the skills required for the course. Content review can be done with your homework (or presentations). The professional tutor will work with you and help you identify that your work meets the criteria of the assignment or helps you develop your work to meet the instruction requirements.

Students are encouraged to use the content review to work together with the support of trained tutors. Tutors conducting the reviews can provide general support for questions during their availability. If additional support is needed, tutors can also assist students in locating a one-to-one or small group tutor session for a later date.

Military family support is provided through Bowling Green State University.

Nontraditional and Military Student Services (NTMSS) provides assistance to support you as you make career and educational choices. Beginning, returning to, or continuing your college education can pose a variety of challenges. The NTMSS staff is familiar with the issues facing nontraditional and military students and can be a resource as you plan and complete your program.

Whether you are a nontraditional student starting or restarting your education, or an active-military or Veteran student, we can assist you in navigating the application process and easing your transition to BGSU.

Advisors are also available to assist current students. We can help you discover and utilize campus resources and develop programs to best meet your needs.

In the Writing Lab, writers help other writers improve their work. How do we do this? We provide one-on-one consultations with writers. In these tutorials, we talk with writers who are planning their papers, and with others who are in the midst of writing their papers. Wherever you may be in your writing process, a conversation with another interested writer can help you better achieve your goals.

There is no longer a need to physically come to campus to receive help with your writing assignments - they can now be completed online in a variety of subject areas. Students must complete the Feedback Request Form. The form should be submitted electronically with attachments of the paper you are working on and the related assignment sheet (if one was provided by the instructor). 

Students should provide at least two standard business days for papers submitted to be returned.

Student questions about Online Tutoring should be directed to the Writing Lab’s main email address (

You may also schedule a virtual appointment by calling 419-372-0705 or 419-372-0748.

Tutee (person receiving help)

Confidentiality and Respect

The tutee has the right to confidentiality and mutual respect from the tutor. Such respect includes but is not limited to appointment-keeping and punctuality

Intention to Learn from Instructor

Tutoring is not to replace instruction. The tutee is responsible for attending all classes and trying to learn from the instructor. Meet with the instructor during office hours to establish a rapport and obtain clarification of assignments. If you miss a class, please retrieve notes from a fellow classmate, or view a video if available Tutoring is not permitted during a scheduled class time.


The tutee is responsible for coming to tutoring sessions prepared. This implies reviewing notes, preparing specific questions to ask, and attempting all homework assignments prior to the tutoring session.


The tutee has the responsibility of contacting the tutor of the Teaching and Learning Center (419-433-5560, ext. 20705) if he/she/they is unable to attend a scheduled tutoring session. Tutoring services will not be extended to tutees who fail to show up for appointments more than three times. The tutee has the responsibility of contacting the director of the Teaching and Learning Center should a problem arise in the tutoring setting that cannot be resolved between the tutor and tutee.

Academic Honesty

The tutee has the responsibility t adhere to the academic honesty code of BGSU as outlined in the student handbook. This implies that you should be honest with your tutor as to graded assignments the instructor intended for you to complete independently. The tutor must also abide by the academic honesty code in the application of services.

Tutor (person giving help)

Confidentiality and Respect

The tutor has the right to confidentiality and mutual respect from the tutee.


The tutor has the responsibility of contacting the tutee or the Teaching and Learning Center if he/she/they are unavailable to attend a scheduled tutoring session. The tutor has the responsibility of contacting the director should a problem arise in the tutoring setting that cannot be resolved between the tutor and the tutee.


The tutor is responsible for being prepared to assist the student as best he/she/they can in a tutoring session. This implies knowing the subject for which the tutee is seeking help, preparing a specific structure for the tutoring session that is inclusive of input from the tutee, and (when possible) reviewing all available documents ( e.g., syllabus, assignment instructions)( prior to the tutoring session.

Academic Honesty

The tutor has the responsibility to adhere to the academic honesty code of BGSU as outlined in the student handbook. This implies that the tutor is not responsible for graded assignments.


The tutor has the responsibility to establish a rapport with the tutee that supports learning, recognizes the tutee's feelings, asks appropriate questions, and provides corrective feedback. The tutor has the responsibility to adapt his/her/their method of tutoring to individual learning styles. The tutor has the responsibility of keeping appropriate records, being aware of the professional services available to students, and researching sources of information that would assist the tutee in learning.

Updated: 01/31/2024 09:03AM