84693Peer Tutoring

VARC offers FREE peer tutoring for all undergraduate engineering students. Tutoring is available for most lower-division math, physics, biology and chemistry courses, as well as many engineering courses.

Getting Started

Signing up for VARC tutoring is easy! Visit the “Courses & Schedules” section below to see what classes our peer tutors can help you with, then register for VARC and schedule your tutoring session through the VARC Tutoring Appointment Manager in myviterbi.usc.edu.

How do I know if I need tutoring?
Nearly all of our students can benefit from some form of tutoring! Even our VARC tutors sign up for tutoring in classes they need help with. Tutoring is most beneficial if you come early in the semester and make tutoring a regular part of your study schedule – don’t wait until the day before your midterm to come in!

Do I have to make an appointment?
We recommend that you make an appointment, and you may book an appointment up to the appointment start time. If tutors do not have any appointments, they can see you as a walk-in. So if you have a question, feel free to drop by! Keep in mind our busiest times are in the afternoons and evenings.

FAQs

Can I walk in for an appointment?

We recommend making an appointment beforehand, but tutors may be able see you as a walk-in if they do not have appointments already scheduled. If you have just a few quick questions, you are always welcome to come to drop-in hours.

I can't book an appointment. What's wrong?

If none of a tutor’s hours fit with your schedule, click the “I am unable to make an appointment” link and fill out the form. If possible, one of our tutors will reply to arrange another time.

If no hours appear for a particular class either all the tutors for that particular class are booked, or they still need to update their available hours. In any case, be sure to check back in and check for newly opened hours (due to cancellations or new hours being posted).

How can I prepare for a tutoring session?

Our advice is to start working on your assignment or studying for your test in advance of your appointment, so you can identify what you want to focus on during your session. Be sure to write down your questions, so you don’t forget anything. Your session will be much more productive if you are prepared with specific topics to discuss with your tutor.

Bring the following items, as needed, to your session:

  • Homework assignment (already started)
  • Textbooks
  • Lecture notes
  • Course syllabus
  • Past tests
  • Your questions!

How often can I see a tutor?

You can schedule up to two hours a week with the same tutor in no more than one-hour blocks.

Can I see a tutor on a regular basis?

Of course! Many students come to VARC on a weekly basis to see a specific tutor. Just be sure to book your appointments in advance!

I need to cancel my appointment. What do I do?

If there is one hour or more before your appointment time, log in the system and cancel. If there is less than 1 hour, contact VARC by email (viterbi.varc@usc.edu) or by phone (213-740-3881) to cancel.

Is VARC only for engineering students?

Yes. VARC services are for engineering and pre-engineering students, but USC has many other resources for students in departments outside of engineering. Check out the Center for Academic Support, the Kortschak Center for Learning and Creativity, the Math Center, Supplemental Instruction and the Writing Center.

Any other questions?

Staff members are at VARC from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. We check our email and voicemail throughout the day, so we will get back to you as soon as possible! You can also visit us in RTH 222.

Study Room

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VARC has a large study room that you can use for your individual study time or to meet with your study group. The study room is available for any Viterbi student to use from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.

VARC Resource Library

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VARC has a resource library full of commonly-used textbooks and workbooks to help you study. We also recently added GRE test-prep books. You are free to use anything from the resource library while studying in VARC. If you have any suggestions for additional books, please email us at viterbi.varc@usc.edu.

Employment Opportunities

Peer Tutors

Peer tutors help their fellow students achieve their academic goals through tutoring, mentorship, and support. All VARC tutors conduct one-on-one tutoring sessions and drop-in tutoring sessions. Tutors also may conduct academic success workshops, lead Supplemental Instruction sessions, help out at group study sessions, and advertise VARC services, as well as assist with new VARC projects and initiatives that come up throughout the year.

Good candidates for a VARC tutoring position must:

  • Be an undergraduate or progressive degree program engineering student.
  • Have at least a 3.50 overall GPA and a 3.30 major GPA.
  • Be enthusiastic about helping others.
  • Demonstrate good teaching and mentoring abilities.
  • Attend training meetings at the beginning of each semester.
  • Attend monthly team meetings.

Tutors work up to 8 hours per week for 13 weeks during the semester.

Application Process

When hiring, positions are advertised on the Viterbi Undergrad blog

Front Desk Assistants

As the first person students see when they come into VARC, front desk assistants are responsible for answering many questions about tutoring, resources, and other USC academic support programs. Front desk assistants also help out with a variety of projects for Viterbi Student Affairs.

Candidates for a front desk assistant position must:

  • Be undergraduate engineering students
  • Demonstrate good customer service and problem-solving skills
  • Work independently to complete projects and tasks.
  • Be receiving federal work study as part of their financial aid package.

When hiring, positions are advertised on the Viterbi Undergrad blog

Academic Support Network

VARC isn’t the only place for help with your classes! Be sure to check out these additional resources that are part of the Academic Support Network:


Employment FAQs

Do you hire graduate students?

Due to the mentoring components of our program, we only hire undergraduate and PDP students. Please check with your academic department for similar employment opportunities.

What classes can I tutor?

VARC offers tutoring in the math, science and engineering classes taken by Viterbi undergraduates. Tutors select classes to tutor based on their comfort level with the class material and how well they did in the class.

When are applications due?

Application deadlines are posted on this website. Applications are typically due towards the middle of the semester for a tutoring position beginning the following semester, so check here or in #ViterbiConnect for information about upcoming deadlines.

Can I be both a peer tutor and an SI leader?

Yes. Interested tutors may facilitate SI sessions based upon need, student interest and availability.

When will I be notified if I am selected for an interview?

We will inform you via email if you are selected for an interview, usually within one week of the application deadline.

Who can be a reference?

A faculty member, TA, academic advisor or past supervisor that you worked closely with may be a reference for you. Your reference should be someone who can speak to the skills that you will need as a tutor.

Will training be provided?

Yes. There will be an orientation and training for new team members, plus monthly team meetings during the academic year.