By Morgan Hume, Contributing Writer
Northborough – As schools navigate remote learning in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, many students are grappling with the loss of in-person instruction and the negative effects of learning from home. Cynthia Rajeshkanna and Melissa Dai, two high schoolers from Northborough, were two of the students experiencing this problem.
But they decided to do something about it.
Rajeshkanna and Dai, both 16, recently launched a free online tutoring service called “Aptitutor.”
Aptitutor is made for kindergarteners all the way up to seniors in high school. The goal is to give all students access to quality academic support, especially in a time where afterschool resources are not available.
As Rajeshkanna and Dai, along with students across the country, adjusted from learning in the classroom to learning at the dining room table, they realized they were not receiving the same quality of education. They were also noticing that not all students had access to the kinds of learning they had, such as SAT preparation.
“It came to our attention that with the shift to shorter online classes, students weren’t receiving the thorough, comprehensive education that full-length, in-person classes offer,” said Rajeshkanna. “On top of that, free supplemental education was not readily accessible.”
They set out to build a strong and qualified network of tutors that could offer their support and guidance to all students. Tutors applying to be a part of Aptitutor go through a hiring process, which consists of a written application followed by an interview on Zoom. The founders say this examines the applicant’s academic and social skills, since tutoring is a job that requires brains and interpersonal communication.
Aptitutor offers a wide variety of classes, ranging from computer coding to art. Tutors offer an in-depth look into a specific topic in a 30- to 40-minute lesson on Zoom. Students are able to register for upcoming classes on Aptitutor’s website.
The founders added they feel many of today’s problems stem from lack of education. In the future, they hope to offer a course about the issues going on throughout the country and the world.
“We’re all learners,” said Rajeshkanna.
The next step for Aptitutor is applying for a 501c status so the service can become an official nonprofit in the state of Massachusetts. They said they hope to file for the status by the end of the summer. The girls also hope to receive educational grants to help them keep moving forward.
They have also received strong support for their enterprise from the community.
Rajeshkanna and Dai said they are passionate about what they are building and they believe everyone deserves access to high quality learning. They are working to spread the word about their free service and are asking others to do the same. More exposure will help them build a bigger network that can encompass even more instructors and students.