Frequently Asked Questions
Getting Started with InstaEDU
- What subjects can I get help with?
- Who will be helping me?
- What happens if I select 'Start a lesson now'?
- How long will it take to match me with a tutor?
- Can I choose a specific tutor to work with immediately?
- What happens if InstaEDU can't find a tutor?
- How do I schedule a lesson?
- What does the 'Find the perfect tutor' message form do?
- How do asynchronous written lessons work?
- How does Test Prep on InstaEDU work?
- Who are InstaEDU's Test Prep tutors?
- How do I set up Test Prep lessons?
Payments and Trials
- What browsers does InstaEDU support?
- I can't find the subject I'm working on. What should I do?
- I can't see my tutor in the lesson. What should I do?
- What should I do if I'm not being heard during my lesson?
- What should I do it I can't hear my tutor in a lesson?
- What if my lesson isn't helpful?
- What if something else goes wrong?
- There's another feature I'd love to see on InstaEDU. How can I tell the team?
Tutors and employees
Getting Started with InstaEDU
How can InstaEDU help?
InstaEDU is a great tool for anyone who needs help grasping an academic subject, preparing for a test or working through a piece of writing. InstaEDU allows you to work with a tutor from a top college who can not only answer all of your questions but also help you grasp the larger concepts. You'll connect in an online learning space that includes video and text chat, a shared whiteboard, homework uploading and document editing.
How does InstaEDU work?
To get matched up with tutor, simply visit www.instaedu.com and search for any subject.
From there, you can browse our tutors. You'll be able to choose to work with a tutor who is available at that moment or send a message to any tutor to set up a lesson. If you choose to work with an tutor immediately, InstaEDU will find you a match in minutes. We'll then connect you with your tutor in the lesson space where you can work together for as long (or short) as you wish. You'll have access to video, audio and text chat and be able to upload documents, draw on a chalkboard and edit papers in real time.
If you want to message a tutor (or multiple tutors), you should receive a response within 24 hours. From there, you can get to know the tutor better and decide on a time to meet. When the time for your lesson arrives, simply click on the link in your confirmation email to enter the lesson space and get started.
What do I need in order to use InstaEDU?
To use InstaEDU, you must have access to a computer and you or your parents must have a valid credit or debit card. Please also make sure that you have the latest version of Flash installed so you can take advantage of video and audio chat (get it here: get.adobe.com/flashplayer).
What subjects can I get help with?
InstaEDU can help with all subjects from an elementary through college level. You can view a full list of the subjects we support here: http://instaedu.com/subjects/. If there's a subject that you can't find in our search box, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can add it.
Who will be helping me?
All of our tutors are current students at (or graduates of) top colleges like Stanford and Harvard. Studies have shown that better educated individuals are more effective teachers, and we want to ensure that you're working with the best instructors out there. We also screen each of our tutors personally so we can guarantee that you'll be working with someone who really knows how to teach. You can learn more about an individual tutor by checking out their profile and reading reviews left by other students.
What happens if I select 'Start a lesson now'?
When you request immediate help with a subject, InstaEDU starts notifying tutors who are currently online and who we think would be a good match. When one of them accepts the request, you'll have a chance to review their information before connecting in our online lesson space.
How long will it take to match me with a tutor?
Our average match time is about a minute, but it can take up to 5 minutes to match you with a great tutor.
Can I choose a specific tutor to work with immediately?
Currently, you are not able to choose a specific tutor if you want to get started right away, but you will be able to learn a little about him or her before you begin the lesson. If there's someone specific that you'd like to work with and you're not in a rush, you can easily send him or her a message and schedule a lesson.
What happens if InstaEDU can't find a tutor?
It's rare that we won't be able to connect you with a tutor if you ask to start a lesson now, but it can occasionally happen if there aren't many tutor for your subject currently online. If you've waited 5 minutes and we still haven't found a tutor, we'll help you message a handful of our best tutors to find a time to meet as soon as possible. Time isn't counted until you start working with a tutor, so it won't affect billed or free time.
How do I schedule a lesson?
Scheduling a lesson is simple. Visit InstaEDU's homepage and search for the topic you're interested in. From there, you can browse tutor profiles to find someone who you think would be a good fit. From each tutor's profile, it's easy to send them a message to find a convenient time to meet.
What does the 'Find the perfect tutor' message form do?
'Find the perfect tutor' allows you to start a conversation with several awesome tutors and choose which you'd like to work with. Simply use the message form to say what you're working on, when you'd like to meet and any additional questions you have. When you submit the message, we'll send it to a handful of tutors that we think would be a great fit, and you'll start receiving replies from them shortly.
How do asynchronous written lessons work?
If you don't want to do a live lesson, you can choose to submit a question and receive a written lesson from a tutor. In doing so, you'll also specify the due date and the amount of time you'd like you tutor to spend on the lesson. When a tutor submits the lesson, you'll receive an email letting you know and the tutoring time you specified will be counted as tutoring time for billing purposes. If you don't receive a written lesson before the due date you specified, the time will not be counted.
How does Test Prep on InstaEDU work?
You and your tutor will connect in an online learning space that includes video and text chat, a shared whiteboard, homework uploading and document editing. Throughout your course, we'll send you practice SAT or ACT tests to take, then grade and analyze them, so you can get used to the test and track your progress. We'll also send you each an SAT book, so you can work together on the same exercises.
Who are InstaEDU's Test Prep tutors?
All of our test prep tutors are (or were) students at top colleges, aced the SAT or ACT themselves, and have experience helping other students master standardized tests. We personally screen each one to ensure that you have the best possible experience.
How do I set up Test Prep lessons?
We know how important the SAT and ACT are, so we take a very hands-on approach to getting you started. You can check out our tutors and submit a request here. Someone from our team will follow up with you shortly to get started.
Can I use InstaEDU without a webcam?
While we recommend working together over video chat for maximum effectiveness, you can also choose to work via audio or text-based chat.
Do I need any special software in order to use InstaEDU?
You don't need any special software to use InstaEDU. All you need is the latest version of Flash (get it here: get.adobe.com/flashplayer) and an Internet connection. That's it!
Payments and Trials
How much does InstaEDU cost?
InstaEDU tutoring starts at just $24/hour depending on how much tutoring you're interested in. We offer three subscriptions, which can be updated or canceled at any time. Each subscription includes a free trial. Subscription minutes do not roll over week-to-week. Our three subscriptions are:
- 15 minutes/week at a rate of $9/week (additional time just 60¢/minute)
- 30 minutes/week at a rate of $15/week (additional time just 50¢/minute)
- 2 hours/week at a rate of $48/week (additional time just 40¢/minute)
If you choose not to continue your subscription, you can still use tutoring time at a rate of 75¢/minute. SAT and ACT packages are sold separately. You can learn more and view those packages here.
How does the InstaEDU free trial work?
We want to show you how awesome our tutors are before asking you to pay, which is why everyone gets the first week of their InstaEDU subscription for free. This includes 15, 30 or 120 minutes of tutoring time, depending on which subscription you choose. You can change or cancel your subscription at any time. If you use less that your weekly subscription time and cancel within the first week, your card will never be charged. Your trial time is valid for the first week you sign up and does not roll over into any additional weeks.
What counts as tutoring time for billing purposes?
The following things are counted as tutoring time:
- Time spent in a live tutoring lesson with a tutor while the lesson is in progress
- Time bid on an asynchronous written lesson where a tutor submits a lesson
- Scheduled lessons that are missed without being canceled in advance
- Half of a scheduled lesson duration that is canceled less that 24 hours in advance
- Lessons less than 5 minutes will be counted as 5-minutes
- All partial minutes are rounded up to the nearest minute
Please note that subscription minutes do not roll over week-to-week and subscription rates are not reduced in the case of unused minutes.
How do I change or cancel my subscription?
To update or cancel your subscription, just visit http://instaedu.com/profiles/change-commitment/. (You can also access this from your Account page.)
How is my credit card information stored?
To ensure a high level of security, we use Stripe, a third-party payment processor, to handle all of our transactions. This means that there's an entire company focused on keeping your information secure, while we focus on getting you the study help you need. All credit card numbers are transferred over SSL and are encrypted on a disk with AES-256. You can learn more about Stripe's security practices here: stripe.com/help/security.
What information is required to sign up for InstaEDU?
To sign up as a student or parent, all you need to share is your first name and email address. Before working with an tutor you'll also need to enter payment information.
What information do you use if I sign up with Facebook?
We offer signing up with Facebook as an option solely to make things a little more streamlined for our members. If you choose to use Facebook Connect, we'll pull in your name, email address, birthday and education history. None of this is displayed publicly.
I'm a parent. Can I create an account for my student?
Absolutely. We offer the ability for parents to set up InstaEDU for their students and communicate with tutors. Once a parent creates an account for their student, the parent can control billing and see details about the student's lessonss, including length of lesson and which tutor they worked with. Payment information from a parent account is never shared with the student.
How do I update my account information?
To update your account information, visit: http://instaedu.com/profiles/edit/
How do I change my password?
To change your password, visit: http://instaedu.com/profiles/edit/
I forgot my password. What should I do?
Visit http://instaedu.com/password-reset/ and enter your email address. We'll email you a link to reset your password.
What browsers does InstaEDU support?
You can use InstaEDU on Internet Explorer (version 8 and up), Mozilla Firefox (version 3 and up) and Google Chrome.
I can't find the subject I'm working on. What should I do?
If you have trouble finding something in the search bar drop-down, first make sure you are searching for a subject, not a question. You may also want to double check that everything is spelled correctly. If that doesn't work, try searching for a similar subject. If you are still unable to find the subject you'd like help with, contact us at email@example.com and let us know so we can add it.
I can't see my tutor in the lesson. What should I do?
It can take up to 30 seconds for a video to load. While you're waiting, you can still communicate with your tutor via the chat box in the lower left-hand corner of the screen.
What should I do if I'm not being heard during my lesson?
First, make sure you have approved the flash dialogue on the left-hand side. Once you have, hover over the image to display the controls. Click on the microphone control to make sure it's turned on. If you still have problems with the audio, you may want to try another browser (Firefox, for example).
What should I do it I can't hear my tutor in a lesson?
If you can't hear your tutor, first check to see if your speakers are turned on. If they are and you still can't hear, send your tutor a message using the chat box in the lower left-hand corner to let them know. They'll be able to adjust their microphone controls by hovering above their video image.
What if my lesson isn't helpful?
The vast majority of our members find their lessons with tutors very helpful, but if--for whatever reason--you feel your tutor was not as helpful as you would have liked, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and are happy to refund lessons in almost all cases. Remember that you can also ask your tutor to void a lesson if they weren't able to answer your question. This will automatically make the lesson free and cue the search for a more qualified tutor.
What if something else goes wrong?
If you encounter any other problems during your lesson email us at email@example.com, or chat live with an InstaEDU team member by using the chat box in the lower right hand corner of the page.
There's another feature I'd love to see on InstaEDU. How can I tell the team?
We're always looking for ways to improve the site and would love to hear your feedback! You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What does it mean for InstaEDU to be in "Beta"?
InstaEDU is a new website and we are constantly working with users like you to make it the best service possible. This means that you may find things on the site that aren't perfect - we'd love your feedback so we can improve them as soon as possible. Please email us at any time at email@example.com.
Who runs InstaEDU?
InstaEDU was started by Alison Johnston, Dan Johnston and Joey Shurtleff, a team of recent Stanford graduates. We also have five other awesome employees who help make InstaEDU great. You can learn more about the team at instaedu.com/about/.
Where is InstaEDU located?
InstaEDU is headquartered in San Francisco, CA, but we work with students around the world. Our office mailing address is:
611 Mission St., 6th Florr
San Francisco, CA 94105
How can I get in touch with InstaEDU?
We're always interested in hearing from members and potential members. Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, send us a live message using the window in the lower right-hand corner, or find more ways to get in touch here. We do our best to respond to every message as quickly as possible.
I'm a member of the press interested in writing an article about InstaEDU. Who should I reach out to?
We'd love to talk with you about InstaEDU. Please email us at email@example.com.
Tutors and employees
Who can be an InstaEDU tutor?
Anyone who has teaching experience and currently attends or has graduated from a great college should apply. We only request that you have 1) Facebook for authentication and 2) a webcam on your computer. You'll also need a U.S. billing address and social security number in order to get paid through our payment provider.
How do I become an InstaEDU tutor?
To become an InstaEDU tutor, start by signing up here: instaedu.com/become-a-tutor/. You'll be asked to complete a profile, let us know which subjects you can help with, and complete a brief tutor screen.
Where can I learn more about being an InstaEDU tutor?
Check out the Tutor FAQ page here: instaedu.com/expert/faq/.
What jobs are available at the InstaEDU headquarters?
Check out our jobs page here: instaedu.com/about/jobs/.