KU student starts not-for-profit tutoring service

KU international relations PhD student, Laura Brent, started her not-for profit tutoring service, Essay Angel, in the hopes of helping university students achieve the best grades during their studies. She offers help with academic essay writing.

“I started tutoring just to support myself during my PhD but I just fell in love with it,” Brent said.

Brent foud it frustrating that tutoring is usually done for profit and se felt students were being exploited.

“It was especially upsetting because I think undergraduates at university are our future doctors, lawyers, nurses, civil servants, art teachers and journalists as well.

“I think tutoring undergraduate students should be an act of generosity and not one of exploitation really. So I decided to pause my PhD for a little while and set Essay Angel up properly to try and reach as many students as possible.” 

Essay Angel logo. Credit: Laura Brent

What was it that inspired you to start Essay Angel?

“I am genuinely really worried about undergraduates at the moment,” Brent said. 

“You know, there’s whole layers of crises at the moment that are affecting undergraduates and I just think there must be so many students staying at home and feeling really desperate, and it keeps me awake at night. So that’s why I’m doing it.”

Brent added: “Also, I am like the world’s biggest nerd. I just love it. I love writing essays. I love researching and I love research methods.” 

Brent said she finds the work incredibly rewarding, watching her students reach their potential: “It’s truly about them getting confident about studying, really learning how to learn. It’s just the one thing that brings me the most pleasure.” 

How does Essay Angel work?

“This is sort of what I’m trying to suss out at the moment,” Brent explained. “I have a couple of tutees at the moment and they’re all incredible.

“At the moment, I charge between £50-100 a month or £10 an hour depending on your financial situation. That is not just an hour’s tutoring. It means you can ask me questions on WhatsApp during the hours that I’m awake too. 

“So if, for example, somebody has five essays to do in one go, I’ll speak to them every day,” Brent said. “If it’s a bit quieter, then we’ll meet once a week, so it’s not just one hour a week. It’s a really flexible and holistic service that’s being offered.” 

Brent is also developing her website. “I’m not very tech-savvy but I am learning as I go. I’m also creating Twitter and Instagram accounts and setting up media marketing as well for it. I am beginning to start thinking about reaching out to sponsors as well.”

What are the biggest challenges?

“For me at the moment, my biggest issue is reaching students,” Brent explained. “I don’t like the term ‘hard to reach’ because I think it’s very, very lazy. However, it is that group of people that don’t often speak up about how they’re finding it and they are the ones that I can help the most.

“I’m actually just thinking of going to the universities and wandering around libraries and actually just handing out flyers and doing it the old fashioned way. 

“Obviously, I’m doing the social media stuff. My background is in sales and marketing, so that stuff is easy-peasy for me,” Brent said. “I also want to run some free workshops and organise those to be on campus.”

Person writing notes. Credit: Green Chameleon on Unsplash

What would you say to students who want to reach out and access academic help?

“I would really, really encourage students, and I encourage my tutees also, to reach out to their [university] tutors if they’re having a hard time and to just be honest with them,” Brent said. 

“My main thing is to just really make yourself vulnerable and tell people if you’re having a hard time because there are armies of people like me and tutors and your supervisors and your lecturers that want to help.”

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