Top Ten Reasons Why I Tutor Medical Students

  • /Reviewed by: Amy Rontal, MD
  • A lot of times when I talk to other med students about working as a tutor, I’m constantly met with resistance or hesitation. To some, tutoring must seem like a huge, time-consuming process that couldn’t possibly fit into their schedules. Others imagine that involves an enormous amount of prep work or time spent between sessions. Maybe it’s concern that a tutor would have to be at every student’s back and call 24/7.

    I think most people don’t really understand what tutoring actually entails and that it’s entirely manageable on a med student’s schedule. Through my time at Med School Tutors, I’ve found that in reality tutoring is more than doable during medical or graduate school  especially during fourth year, PhD years of a MD/PhD program, or other graduate school years. Even more importantly, I’ve found it to be immensely beneficial! Here are the top ten reasons to become a tutor:

    1) Tutoring medical students give you an opportunity to make a difference.

    As a tutor, you not only get to help students reach their fullest potential academically, but you also get to serve as their coach, mentor, and advocate along the way. Most people will agree that Step studying and exam-taking are the most stressful times in medical school, so it’s awesome to be able to support and encourage students during these difficult times

    2) Medical exam and coursework tutors get flexible schedules.

    The majority of students that tutors work with are off from rotations or courses to study full time, in which case they can usually meet virtually any time of the day/week. Even for students still in rotations or classes, most can find time to meet on nights or weekends. I have never experienced a problem with fitting a student in, even on busier weeks! 

    You can really make tutoring fit into just about any schedule. My sister (an MD/PhD student who also tutors for MST) and I are both serious athletes and train at least 10-12 hours a week on top of our studies. We have found tutoring about 8-10 hours a week in addition to our courses/rotations has been very manageable and enjoyable.

    3) Supportive environment. A good tutoring company will have staff, coordinators, and point people that are extremely helpful and understanding.

    In my experience with MST, I’ve found that both the office and tutoring personnel are always are available for questions, concerns, or support. We often receive emails thanking us for our work and letting us know that we have their support or guidance whenever needed. It truly is a family type of environment.

    4) Extra cash to pay off those med school debts!

    As med students and residents, most of us are in pretty substantial debt from medical school. For example, tutors at MST start with a rate of $60/hr and have many opportunities for raises and bonuses. Most tutoring companies will also offer other paid opportunities, including writing blog posts (like this one!). The income potential as a tutor can be invaluable for starting to pay back loans and helping cover flights and travel expenses during interviews  or just supporting travel and social activities!

    5) Networking with other doctors!

    Companies like MST consist of a vast group of tutors, including medical students, residents and beyond from all around the country and world. When I started here, I was paired with a more experienced “tutor mentor” to guide and support me in any way needed. As a med student, this is a great way to interact with residents in various specialties!

    6) Teaching experience!

    Tutoring provides a substantial amount of experience in teaching. For those of us going into academic medicine or interested in teaching medical students, this is a great opportunity to hone your skills as a teacher.

    7) Keeping up your critical thinking skills and staying up-to-date on information.

    Once major exams like Step 1 are in the rearview mirror, the finer details of the material can become fuzzy over time. As a tutor, you are constantly studying high yield information in order to teach and review it with your students. Therefore, important USMLE information will stay fresh in your mind (which is particularly helpful when you yourself have to sit for Step 2 or 3!)

    8) Opening doors to other opportunities.

    There are often many other ways to become involved in a tutoring company besides tutoring itself. At MST, for example, tutors can write for the blog, work with the consultation team to better advise students on med school admissions/residency and institutions on their curricula, work with the development team to help create resources like Memorang’s flashcard decks, participate in podcasts such as My First Cadaver, and much more!

    9) Having an innovative and fluid environment.

    A good tutoring company always welcomes input and suggestions from current tutors about how to improve their services. If you’re looking into working for a  specific company, ask whether they send tutors surveys or if they ask tutors about their experiences in sessions. You’ll want to work most at a place that does its best to implement positive changes based on your ideas while there.

    10) Having fun and gaining a sense of accomplishment!

    I truly enjoy my time as a tutor for MST. At the end of every week, I feel incredibly grateful to have had the chance to impact several student’s lives and help them on their paths to becoming successful physicians.