Smarthinking Reviews

Updated Apr 14, 2020

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2.4
19%
Recommend to a Friend
50%
Approve of CEO
Smarthinking Senior Vice President & Chief Education Officer Christa Ehmann Powers, Ph.D (no image)
Christa Ehmann Powers, Ph.D
16 Ratings
Pros
  • "It's also a set-your-own-hours job, making it flexible and easy to work from home(in 28 reviews)

  • "Work from home, flexible hours, understanding management(in 14 reviews)

Cons
  • "Only 30 minutes to review a paper that includes three lessons in addition to three embedded comments(in 26 reviews)

  • "The way it was set up, the next essay/assignment in the queue was sent directly to you once you indicated you were ready to work(in 24 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. "Solid work-from-anywhere opportunity"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Online Tutor 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Smarthinking part-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Legitimate work-from-home job Flexible hours, part-time Interaction with students from all over the world Engaging work Opportunities to work on various tutoring platforms

    Cons

    Pay could always be better

    Continue reading
    Smarthinking2018-03-21
  2. "Good for extra cash"

    4.0
    Current Employee - Compte Payable 

    I have been working at Smarthinking part-time

    Pros

    Flexible, responsive, great way to earn some fun money

    Cons

    Not good backup if something happens to your day job, outdated scheduling system doesn't always work/sometimes hard to use

    Smarthinking2020-01-22
  3. Helpful (1)

    "Flexible Hours but Inflexible Methods"

    2.0
    Former Employee - Online Writing Tutor 
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Smarthinking part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    As a part-time online writing tutor, I liked how this job had flexibility in terms of scheduling, the ability to complete each day's required hours whenever was convenient, and the ability to work from home.

    Cons

    First of all, the pay is very low considering you are required to have a M.A. or a Ph.D. to do online writing tutoring work that undergraduates do (for the same or even higher pay) at campuses all over the country. More upsetting to me, though, was the complete inflexibility of the tutoring process. With strict time limits and a rigid structure for how each paper review had to be conducted, I never felt like I was doing my best work. Some papers are short with minimal issues that can certainly be treated effectively in half an hour with 2-3 highlighted areas for improvement, but the same cannot be said of many other essays. This structure is not useful for the tutors or, more importantly, the writers who have submitted their work for feedback. I also did not appreciate that the contract for this part-time, low-paying position prohibits accepting other tutoring jobs, not only while actively employed, but for one year after employment ends.

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    Smarthinking2019-12-01
  4. Helpful (2)

    "Demoralizing interference from helicopter leads with less knowledge and experience than tutors"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Online Writing Tutor in New Orleans, LA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Smarthinking part-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Working from home flexible hours

    Cons

    Soul stealing treatment of academic professionals with earned terminal and high degrees

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    Smarthinking2019-11-30
  5. Helpful (4)

    "This place is a joke and a soul killer to boot."

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Online Writing Tutor in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Smarthinking part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    You work from home and get to use your advanced English degrees for something.

    Cons

    Smarthinking/Pearson is never happy with anything you do. All the advice is contradictory. They cannot keep up with the minimum wage laws in most areas.

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    Smarthinking2019-11-05
  6. Helpful (5)

    "Too much work for the pay"

    2.0
    Current Employee - Online Writing Tutor 

    I have been working at Smarthinking part-time

    Pros

    The employee learns some excellent ways to tutor students and help them improve their writing.

    Cons

    There is no real-time communication with students.

    Smarthinking2019-10-02
  7. Helpful (3)

    "Just OK"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Instructor/Tutor in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Smarthinking part-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Flexible schedule, work from home

    Cons

    Too many guidelines/handbooks. Lead tutors are a bit too subjective at times. Low pay for high education level.

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    Smarthinking2019-08-31
  8. Helpful (5)

    "Ethical employers pay a living wage?"

    2.0
    Former Employee - Online Writing Tutor in Washington, DC

    I worked at Smarthinking part-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    It is a rewarding job in the education field, but Smarthinking employees are undervalued. We're treated like bargain- basement, low-level academic lackeys. This gig has become the digital equivalent of collecting tin cans for a living.

    Cons

    Pearson/Smarthinking pays so badly they can hardly keep up with the minimum-wage laws in the more progressive states anymore.They do not offer raises EVER yet continue to boast they hire retired professors and people with advanced degrees.

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    Smarthinking2019-08-14
  9. Helpful (3)

    "Flexible Employment"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Writing Instructor in Washington, DC

    I worked at Smarthinking part-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    The ability to work from anywhere with a laptop and your knowledge

    Cons

    mediocre pay challenging to meet expected time requirements for essay reviews

    Continue reading
    Smarthinking2019-04-23
  10. Helpful (7)

    "Constant time pressure - demoralizing audits"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Online Writing Tutor in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Smarthinking part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The Smarthinking training for writing tutors is thorough. The feedback formula that writing tutors must use is honestly helpful to the students. Definitely, their pedagogy follows the latest ideas about how to help adult writing students by focusing on higher level concerns first. At the beginning of every session, you are required to tell students what they did right in their essay, and that encourages the students to engage with the feedback that follows. In addition, the online training that comes through Pearson (Smarthinking is a Pearson company) is very interesting. I learned a lot about internet security and avoiding phishing scams, for instance. They pay you for completing all of the training. I feel that being trained as a Smarthinking writing tutor helped me to respond to other people's writing in other situations.

    Cons

    The biggest drawback to being an online writing tutor for Smarthinking is the massive pressure to respond to student essays very quickly, in 35 minutes or less. While my immediate supervisor was encouraging, I found the feedback from the periodic audits to be extremely demoralizing. I tried my best to follow the Smarthinking formula, yet I felt like I was repeatedly shot down for going a few minutes over time, or for missing some minor point of their rigorous tutoring protocol. As a writing tutor, you have to read and write very fast, almost faster than humanly possible. For this job, I needed to purchase a timer with an audible alarm. I also used macros in Microsoft Word. Since some parts of the feedback process are not yet automated, the tutor must manually do certain things that take up time, for instance, type a sentence of greeting and a personal closing on every essay. Dictation is probably the only way that tutors can keep up the pace. Even though I felt good about the writing help I gave to students, the stress level was very high. Smarthinking also has a visual accessibility problem. Everything a tutor writes must be in a particular, small font (9pt Verdana). If that font is too tiny to read comfortably, then you must spend time converting it back and forth. Although I used a Word macro for this, you still have to make sure that your feedback as a tutor is visually distinguishable from the student's writing. In addition, writing tutors must develop their own set of original examples to copy-and-paste into the instructional section. Smarthinking stresses that this must be original — can't be taken from anywhere else. My personal crib sheet, which I wrote for this job, was 63 pages long. I spent a few minutes between essays to update and bookmark this for use in future essays. However, the last time I was audited, the audit team told me I was being "too formulaic." There's really no way to win. You can do your best to follow the rules and provide good feedback for the students, yet still get shot down. One would hope that Smarthinking would eventually treat the tutors as well as they do the students. However, they charge colleges by the time used, so it's unlikely that this time pressure will change. It's their billing system that drives the tutoring stress. If you can read extraordinarily fast, think fast, and write quickly, using Word macros and a bookmarked cribsheet that you write yourself, you can possibly succeed in this job. I started at $10/hour.

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    Smarthinking2019-03-03
Found 69 reviews