Smarthinking "essay" Reviews | Glassdoor

Smarthinking Employee Reviews about "essay"

Updated 1 Dec 2019

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2.5
26%
Recommend to a Friend
57%
Approve of CEO
Smarthinking CEO Christa Ehmann Powers, Ph.D (no image)
Christa Ehmann Powers, Ph.D
18 Ratings
Pros
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)

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Reviews about "essay"

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  1. "Solid work at a good company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Freelancer - Essay Editor in Kirkland, WA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Smarthinking for more than a year

    Pros

    The support system was fantastic, with numerous resources, email group support, and live chat at the ready for any tricky questions. The work was engaging, with a broad variety of types of writing to review. Because the guideline is three corrections of larger-scale topics (like paragraph organization) and three corrections of smaller-scale topics (like comma placement), it's less overwhelming than having to do, say, a full edit of the writing in question. It's also a set-your-own-hours job, making it flexible and easy to work from home.

    Cons

    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. This means you have no control over what type of writing you'll be working on - it could be a technical piece, it could be a high-school essay, it could be a rough outline, it could be a college paper, and any other number of things. While this is absolutely fair, it's hard to mentally prepare ahead of time for what you'll be working on. It can also be difficult work at times - papers with errors every other sentence or terrible organization, etc - and it can be a challenge to identify the top three errors to focus the tutoring on.

    Smarthinking2019-06-05
  2. "Flexible Hours but Inflexible Methods"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    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
  3. Helpful (3)

    "Flexible Employment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

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    Smarthinking2019-04-23
  4. Helpful (7)

    "Constant time pressure - demoralizing audits"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
  5. Helpful (4)

    "Pros and cons"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Writing Tutor 

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

    Pros

    Work from home, flexible hours, understanding management

    Cons

    It's really sort of a soul-sucking job. Essays are supposed to be "tutored" in 30-minute increments, which is often just impossible. A 15-page essay with no thesis, no organization, and no content development can't be corrected in 30 minutes. It just can't. Additionally, there's really no incentive to work harder or stay with the company long-term. Pay is - truthfully - embarrassing. It's a decent job to earn Christmas money, but after a couple of years of it, I'm desperate to find another way to earn fun money.

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    Smarthinking2018-12-11
  6. Helpful (2)

    "30 Minutes Not Enough"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Writing Tutor in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    You get to work from home and do something you love.

    Cons

    Crazy expectations and confusing training. How can I pick one thing to concentrate on in an essay, but write about three things? I do not have a Phd in English to be insulted by a lead tutor.

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    Smarthinking2018-09-28
  7. Helpful (2)

    "It's okay"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 

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

    Pros

    -Work from home -Flexible hours -They share the nice things students say about you with you every now and then, which is nice

    Cons

    -Relatively low pay for the education level they require -30 minutes to review an essay (okay for essays less than 4 pages, but after that it gets more difficult to stick to the time frame -Lead tutors check up on you and review your work quite often (last semester, my lead tutor checked up on me constantly; the one I have this semester is much more laid back)

    Smarthinking2017-11-11
  8. Helpful (10)

    "Unrealistic expectations"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Writing Tutor 
    Doesn't Recommend

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

    Pros

    Flexible hours, work from home. This service is run by a major text book publishing company that is highly concerned about creating a safe, inclusive environments .

    Cons

    The expectations are absurd. Essays can range anywhere from first year college students composition papers, ESL papers, business reports, and resumes to PhD dissertation chapters. The tutor must create three original, personalized lessons for each paper in 30 minutes, even if the paper is over 20 pages and the subject matter is not even close to the tutor's field of study (such as nursing graduate papers or resumes for business majors). The essays are downloaded by the students, and the tutor has no idea what type of essay will appear or if the student includes any type of assignment instructions. Lead tutors always look for something wrong in the tutor's response and never, ever give high ratings for a tutor's work. If the tutor has a Ph,D. (and many do), they get a whopping $12/h. Those with masters degrees get $10. These rates are lower than what fast food workers make, and high expertise in writing, grammar, style, and career advice is required. Then the tutor's hard work and expertise is continuously bashed during reviews.

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    Smarthinking2017-11-13
  9. Helpful (6)

    "No Adjunct Heaven"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    Current Employee - Writing Tutor 
    Doesn't Recommend

    I have been working at Smarthinking part-time

    Pros

    .Fun and rewarding job for educated, book-loving types . Respectful managers with polished communication skills . Students probably learn more nuts-and-bolts information here than in the classroom. .Positive attitudes and enthusiasm for teaching and learning comprise the overall company tone.

    Cons

    The unrealistic, 30- minute essay review time will easily lead to wage theft. For years, I altered my review times to meet the stated requirements. Another mainly live academic coaching( involving occasional proofreading) job I do pays 20 minutes per draft page and several more dollars an hour. Decent pay makes workers feel more valued and improves morale. Plus, it ensures well-educated people aren't struggling so much financially.

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    Smarthinking2017-08-03
  10. Helpful (6)

    "Bad for students, Bad for tutors"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Online Writing Tutor 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    It's a flexible and convenient way to make some pocket change online.

    Cons

    They pay $10/hr to people with an undergraduate degree, $11/hr to people with a graduate degree, and $12/hr to people with a doctorate. That's ridiculously low pay. I started working at Smarthinking with 2 years of tutoring experience under my belt, but my experience wasn't factored into my pay. I lived in New York City at the time, making $10/hr. They only give part time tutors a max of 19 hours/week, but usually they give you less. You have 30 minutes to respond to each essay. This includes reading the essay, embedding comments, and writing 2 pages of responses to the essay in order to help the student understand recurring issues. Tutors get warnings if their average time is over the 30-minute limit. Smarthinking encourages the use of templates to save time while simultaneously sending critical remarks when feedback isn't personal enough. I received feedback maybe once or twice a semester, with no interaction with peers or anyone the rest of the time. They don't send you feedback from students unless it's positive, which never allowed me to actually know what my students needed in their sessions. It's an isolating work environment, and tutors are one stop along a conveyor belt. It's bad for the students and bad for the tutors.

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    Smarthinking2017-08-15
Found 25 reviews