Tutoring Services

About Online Tutoring



Are also HCC faculty members, who offer assistance with most of the academic and many of the workforce classes that you will take at HCC.


Help you stay on track with your coursework, understand assignments, and improve your study skills. You don't need an appointment and there is no charge for use of our services.


Provide free, confidential, and convenient academic support to HCC students in an online environment. They exist to help students achieve academic independence.


Are HCC personnel in order to ensure that the tutoring services provided are contextual and appropriate for our students taking HCC classes.

Tutoring Resources

Find a Tutor

Houston Community College offers free face-to-face and online tutoring to our students. Face-to-face tutoring takes place at our campus Learning Centers and online tutoring via the UpSwing Tutoring platform:


HCC Online Tutoring

HCC provides free online asynchronous tutoring in writing, math, science, and other subjects through the Upswing Tutoring platform hccs.upswing.io You simply create an account using your HCC student ID and HCC email password. Instructions, including a short video, are provided to make you familiar with the capabilities of this service. The asynchronous tutoring service is always available, including during breaks, holidays, and weather closings.  Tutors typically return submissions within 24 hours; however, turnaround times may increase during high-volume periods, so please plan accordingly.

Registration is simple:

  • Go to hccs.upswing.io
  • Use your own HCC student ID # (W-number) as your username and your HCC student e-mail password as your Upswing password

Watch the video on the bottom of the log-in page

Submit questions and papers 24 / 7 / 365 and get answers within 48 hours – and usually much faster!

  • 1302, ESOL, Geology/Geography,
  • Government, History, Human Services/Social Work, Humanities,
  • INRW, Math, Office Technology, Philosophy, Psychology, Physics,
  • Resumes and Letters, Sociology, Sophomore Literature, Student Success, Subjects Not Listed Elsewhere, Teacher Education


Tips for Successful Online Tutoring

  • Check the banner on the top of the log-in page for average turn- around time and information about 2nd drafts.
  • Send us only assignments for HCC classes.
  • Use your own HCC ID number.
  • Look through all the subjects from the drop-down menu to get your submission to the right place.
  • Only submit to ONE subject queue. Multiple submissions are delayed.
  • Give us all the information you have about the assignment so we can give you the best help possible.
  • Send us clean, unmarked drafts. We cannot work over someone else’s comments.
  • Check your HCC email for notification that your submission is ready for you to pick up by logging back in.

Face-to-face tutoring schedules can be found at: www.hccs.edu/findatutor



Cover Letter Checklist

  • Be sure the cover letter follows traditional letter format.
  • Send the letter to the correct person or contact at the company. Sending a letter that is addressed to someone else will not make you look good to a prospective employer. It suggests that you are not as observant as you think you are.
  • Address the person properly in the salutation. Do not use his or her first name or any nickname. Be respectful by using titles Mr., Mrs., or Ms., as part of the address. You may also use ‘To Whom it May Concern.’ Never address the person by his or her first name – or worse – assume that the person uses a particular nickname or a short form of his or her first name
  • Include the position for which you are applying in your cover letter.
  • Avoid advising the reader to ‘read your resume’ early in your cover letter. The cover letter should impress the reader and encourage the reader to go the next step and open your resume. Use the cover letter to promote your abilities and experience. State why you are the best person for the job.
  • Check your cover letter for grammar and misspelled words.
  • Include all information in your cover letter relevant to the position you are seeking.
  • Be sure that your cover letter is kept to one page.
  • Include your contact number, preferably your cell phone number in your cover letter.
  • Use an email address that is professional. Avoid using cutesy names such as coolsexylover@abc.net or handsomehunk@xyz.net, etc. This will not help you obtain an interview with any company. Create a proper email address and use it when applying for a job position.
  • Avoid stating any negativism about a former employer in your cover letter. This will not help you gain an interview. The person may think that if you ‘bad mouth’ a previous employer you will do it again.
  • Avoid offering ‘references upon request.’ If they need references, they will ask for them.
  • Do not assume that the employer shares your political positions. Do not list political campaigning and other such things in your cover letter.
  • Do not assume that the employer shares your religious beliefs. Do not tell him to “have a blessed day,” or include scripture quotations as part of your signature.
  • Use appropriate complimentary close phrases such as “Thank you” or “Sincerely.”


Resume Checklist

  • Include the position for which you are applying in your resume.
  • Check the resume for grammar and misspelled words.
  • Be sure all information in the resume is relevant to the position you are seeking.
  • Be sure it is kept to one page.
  • Include your contact number, preferably your cell phone number.
  • Avoid including unrelated volunteer work on a resume. If you can make it relevant, fine. Otherwise, leave it off.
  • Avoid offering ‘references upon request.’ If they need references, they will ask for them.
  • Being brief is highly appreciated, so full sentences are not usually necessary; the subject is assumed. For example: ‘Cited for punctuality and professionalism.’
  • Use an email address that is professional. Avoid using cutesy names such as coolsexylover@abc.net or handsomehunk@xyz.net, etc. This will not help you obtain an interview with any company. Create a proper email address and use it when applying for a job position.
  • Do not assume that the employer shares your political positions. Do not list political campaigning and other such things in your cover letter.
  • Do not assume that the employer shares your religious beliefs. Do not tell him to “have a blessed day,” or include scripture quotations as part of your signature.


Online Job Applications

Today, many businesses prefer the online application over the paper type in order to save time and money. When you complete an online application, employers may send it to other departments. It is an easy way for businesses to save applications for future job openings. This saves time and money because you do not have to write multiple application packets and mail them to selected businesses. This method allows an employer to communicate with prospective applicants via e-mail or other social networking resources.


Some steps are helpful in completing an online application:

1. Take care when creating an online user name and password for access to the employer’s site. Generally, it would be best to include your actual name rather than a nickname. Also, be certain to not lose your user name and password

2. Be sure to have a complete resume, social security card, driver’s license, and names and addresses of professional references

3. Read the instructions on the application as well as the application itself before completing the application.

4. Write “not applicable” or “n/a” in areas that do not apply to you. Most employers do not favor “see resume” when they want your response written in the requested space. 

5. Answer all areas as truthfully, honestly, and completely as possible.

6. Cite references and include the address and phone numbers of past employers, teachers, co-workers. Be sure that you have obtained their permission before you list them.

7. Keep your application as consistent as possible to your resume concerning dates of previous employment, job assignments, titles and any other information needed to transfer from the resume to the application

8. Finally, proofread your application completely before submitting it. Check for any errors, typos, misspelled words. Remember your goal is to obtain an interview

Online applications may also request pertinent documents as attachments. The documents that a business may request may be a resume’, university or college transcripts, cover letters, letters of recommendation or references. Be sure and use standard formats for attachments, such as .pdf, .docx, or .rtf.

Note that some businesses may delete certain applications when specific documents are not provided.



High School vs. College Expectations

College classes, expectations, and assignments are different from those in high school. Basic descriptions of high school and college atmospheres are shown below. High schools abide by rules set by a school district. High schools, themselves, have a little leeway within these rules, but generally, they must follow the rules and standards of the school district. College and university rules across the country are mostly similar to each other and adhere to rules for accreditation. Department policies vary widely but must generally follow the standards set by their colleges. Faculty members (professors and instructors) follow the rules of their departments, but the faculty members mostly have freedom to conduct their classes as they see fit. Those policies are clearly stated in your professors’ syllabi.



High School


Course Duration in the Classroom and on Assignments

Varies. Many high school courses last for the entire school year.

Courses are sixteen weeks or shorter. All classes, regardless of length, require the same number of hours of attendance and require at least twice the study time and effort as high school classes. Workloads are heavier, and grading standards are more rigorous.

Disruptive Behavior

Schools have policies to deal with different levels of disruptions. Teachers can decide how much to discipline a student in some instances.

Professors can kick you out of the room for any behavior they believe is adversely affecting instruction or student learning. This includes constant cell usage, sleeping in class, and chatting with classmates.

“But I tried really hard! Why didn’t I get an A?”

A teacher might consider this when assigning a grade for your work.

Professors only grade the finished product, not how much you tried to do well.

“I forgot my book.”

Teacher has to keep you in the classroom.

Professor can kick you out for being unprepared.

Late for Classes

Teachers must allow you into the room.

Professors can refuse you entry.

Missed Classes

ISD’s set attendance policies.

Professors set their own attendance policies.

Missed Assignments

Teachers must allow you to do the work within an established time, provided you have an excused absence. Other ISD rules apply.

Professors are not obligated to allow you to make up the work, if your excuse does not fall under federal guidelines, such as deployment and ADA compliance. You may receive a zero for missed work.

Missed In-class Exam / Midterm / In-class quizzes

Likely, same as “Missed Assignments.”

Often, same as “Missed Assignments.” Missed midterms often result in an automatic zero.

Missed Final Exams

Either the ISD or the high school sets the policy.

Colleges do not allow for late exams unless the excuse would violate federal standards such as deployment or ADA compliance.

Cheating / Plagiarism

Possible zero. ISD sets general rules as stated in the district’s handbook.

Professors have complete authority to decide what to do about this. The most common outcome is a zero on the assignment. For major assignments, professors often report students to the dean for violations of “academic integrity.”


High School vs. College Assignments

Any college student, regardless of high school success or other achievements, can experience difficulties adjusting to college courses. Even when you understand the course materials, you must approach courses and assignments differently than you did in high school. Understanding course structure, grades, and scholastic honesty will help you succeed in college. You can find the headings and subheadings for this handout by pressing Ctrl+F.  This will reveal the headings and subheadings in a navigation menu.

Overall Time Management

Pace Yourself

Classes do not meet daily, and courses do not last more than sixteen weeks. Especially during the first semester of college, it is easy to fall into the mindset of, “I don’t have this class tomorrow. This assignment can wait.”  Well, yes and no.You must organize your tasks so that you can complete everything on time. Reading assignments can be lengthy. A short one might be difficult, so you will probably have to read it more than once to understand it. Writing assignments are typically between four and seven pages long, requiring outside research.Unlike high school teachers, individual professors—not school boards—determine how quickly and thoroughly they go through the material. A high school teacher might spend a week discussing a chapter. By contrast, a professor might spend only one class period on a chapter and expect students to understand it well enough for an exam or writing assignment.

Falling Behind

If you fall behind too much, it is almost impossible to catch up to where you need to be on the syllabus and in time for your next major assignment. At the very least, the quality of your work will not be as good as it could have been, had you kept up with the syllabus.  Always speak with your professor if you are having trouble understanding the course material.


Below are explanations of some of the most common college assignments:

Collaborative Learning Assignments

Collaborative learning is effective at helping students understand the course material and applying it real-world situations.  Discussing topics with your peers allows you to add to your understanding of the subject and gain new insights.  This technique also helps foster class discussions among students and professors. 

Collaborative learning mimics working with colleagues in the workplace.  You learn effective communication skills and procedures in the classroom that carry over into a work environment.  Many jobs require employees to work together to complete a task.  Everyone must work together and hold each other accountable to complete the project.

Quizzes and Reading Assignments

Always read for the day. Often, your professor will not warn you of a quiz or in-class writing assignment. Likewise, a professor might give a quiz at the end of the class period, if (s)he believes people have not read the assignment.  It is also a good idea to try to read a little bit ahead of schedule.

Presentations – Individual

Treat this like an essay. Pace yourself with research, writing, and revisions. Make sure you have time to test your PowerPoint, Prezi, or other multimedia component before the day of your presentation. Practice your entire presentation to make sure you have enough time to cover everything the professor asks of you.

Presentations – Group

On the day you are put into your groups, exchange e-mail addresses with your partners and figure out which days and for how long all of you can meet.  You should plan for at least two meetings when everyone can attend. One person should be in charge of setting up a file-sharing folder through a program such as Google Docs or Dropbox. As soon as possible, everyone in your group should discuss how to approach your topic and style choices.  For example, does your professor want your presentation to be very formal?  The person with the best grammar should be in charge of final edits to visual aids and printed materials. Make sure to give this person enough time to review everything and make necessary corrections.  If your professor wants an essay with your presentation, consider having a tutor review your work.


Professors grade essays on content and structure. Even if you demonstrate that you understand the topic, professors will penalize you for grammatical errors and not following the essay’s requirements, such as page length and number of sources. Likewise, even if the structure is fine, your professor will penalize you for not (completely) answering the prompt. If you need to upload your essay to turnitin.com, give yourself time to attempt the upload more than once. Wait for the site’s confirmation receipt before logging out of the site.  If there was a problem uploading the file, “I thought it had uploaded!” is not an excuse about why your submission was late. Regardless of what your watch says, your professor uses the site’s timestamp to determine whether a paper was submitted on time.


Keeping up with your performance in a course is your responsibility, regardless of who pays your tuition.  Regardless of your age, professors cannot and will not discuss your grades with third parties, such as guardians, spouses, and employers.  This is federal law for all colleges.

Always arrange to meet with your professor if you are struggling to understand course material or have questions about graded assignments and your overall course grade. A professor cannot help you, if (s)he does not know you are having problems. Do not wait until almost the end of the semester to ask for help, after struggling with the course material for weeks.

“I made an A on the assignment worth the most points in the course. Why didn’t I get an A for the semester?”

Receiving a high grade for the largest project of the semester does not guarantee a high grade for the semester. All of your assignments contribute to your overall average to one degree or another. True, one grade can affect your semester grade. However, unless you fail a major assignment—especially with a zero—one grade cannot determine your final grade in the course.  Read the weighting formula that your teacher uses, and ask questions if you do not understand it.

Professors consider other factors, such as homework grades and in-class assignments. For example, if your professor often assigns in-class work and you miss several classes or weeks of class, you will likely receive zeros for those assignments. Your final grade reflects your overall performance in the class, not just one assignment.

“I tried really hard. Why didn’t I get a better grade for my semester grade?”

You should always try your best in any course, but “trying” is not part of a grading rubric; it is an expectation for any course. Simply attending every class does not entitle you to a high grade in the course. Sometimes, even your best efforts might not result in the most favorable outcome. If you are struggling, arrange to meet with your professor as soon as possible.


Plagiarizing, Cheating, and Overall Scholastic Dishonesty

Explanations and Outcomes of Scholastic Dishonesty

High school students are not expelled for plagiarizing or any other form of cheating, but college students can be expelled from the course and the college. At the very least, you will likely receive a zero for the assignment. Some professors report students to the Dean of Student Services. Refer to HCC’s “Student Procedures” page and student handbook to familiarize yourself with examples of cheating and definitions for “plagiarism” and “collusion.” In short, scholastic dishonesty involves not doing your own work by yourself and trying to pass off work and ideas by other people as your own.  The site also gives information about procedures and outcomes to academic violations:  http://www.hccs.edu/district/about-us/procedures/student-rights-policies--procedures/student-procedures/.


Tutoring is Free and Convenient!

Receiving tutoring is not cheating. Tutoring is free for currently registered HCC students. HCC offers in-person (also referred to as “face-to-face”) and online tutoring. Click here to learn more about face-to-face and online tutoring: http://central.hccs.edu/students/tutoring/.

All HCC campuses offer in-person tutoring, but hours of operation vary. You do not have to receive tutoring on the same campus where you attend classes. You are able to select your appointment time and tutor. Because you have limited time to meet with your tutor, come prepared with specific questions, your professor’s instructions, and any textbooks or course notes that will help your tutor understand the assignment. Click here to find a tutor: http://ctle3.hccs.edu/alltutoring/
Online tutoring is available 24/7 and does not require an appointment. Tutors review work in the order in which it was received, so you cannot request a tutor. Simply submit your work and your professor’s instructions through the online tutoring site.

Tutors, whether online or on the campus, guide you through the assignment requirements to help you understand how to improve your work. Tutors do not “fix” your submission by making the corrections for you. If you have questions about the grade you received on an assignment, you need to speak with your professor.


What Tutors Do and Don’t Do

English Tutors Do…

Make notes and comments throughout your paper to help you know what needs to be improved or corrected and how to make the necessary changes.
ask questions to help you think through your ideas.provide you with resources to help you become a better reader and writer.

English Tutors Don’t…

  • grade your work.
  • correct your work.
  • edit your work.
  • do your work.
  • give you topic ideas for your work.

Math and Science Tutors Do…

  • help you see where you became lost on a problem.
  • explain math concepts about which you are confused.
  • solve similar problems that you can apply to your own work

Math and Science Tutors Don’t…

  • grade your work.
  • solve problems for you.

Content Tutors Do…

  • ask questions to help you think through your ideas.
  • explain concepts about which you are confused.
  • provide you with resources to help you understand content subject matter

Content Tutors Don’t…

  • grade your work.
  • correct your work.
  • do your work.
  • tell you what to write.


Why and How Tutors Do What They Do

What should tutors do and how should they do it? Students too often want tutors (us) to edit, fix, write, or otherwise take ownership of their work. Nope, we don’t do that! They already have access to many real-time (synchronous) sources, from Grammar and Spell Check in Word to online web sites to face-to-face tutoring on campus to textbook-bundled software to friends and relatives. Some resources are better than others, but few leave a clear paper trail for the teacher to follow.
Here at HCC Upswing, we do it differently. Just as writing and grading take time, so does thoughtful tutoring. Our goal is not to fix a problem or two, but to teach students how to find and fix their own errors, assess their own ideas, and evaluate their content and structure. That takes time. We can think deeply about what the student has said, look at what the student has done in previous submissions or drafts of this one, and look at work on the same topic from other students in the same class – as long as we are not fighting a clock. Too often, students sit across from a tutor and follow our eyes across a page, almost hyperventilating every time we make a mark, back up to re-read a passage, or tap our fingers on the desk. It is important to understand that tutors are not T.A.’s. Both students and teachers need to use what we recommend in order to revise their work. Asynchronous (not real-time) STEM, content and writing tutors can check for plagiarism and consult resources to recommend other/better ones. We can carefully read the teacher’s directions to make sure that the student has included all relevant information. Since many papers are looked at by multiple tutors (content and ENGL for two drafts) each tutor can look at what the others have said to reinforce recommendations. Our STEM tutors evaluate the partial work a student submits, find the conceptual issues that lead to the inability to solve problems, write analogous problems utilizing the same concepts, explain the concept, and then offer to look at the student’s work after using the help from the tutor. Teachers can access tutor input by requesting it through the HCC Upswing tutoring administrators so you know what we do and don’t tell students – and whether students have really submitted work to us, when they submitted it, and whether they retrieved it. Another important effect of asynchronous tutoring is that students learn a bit about time management. We strongly believe that fast does not always mean better. Asynchronous tutoring involves the difference between a microwaved burrito and barbequed brisket. Both have a place in our diets, but they cannot be compared.


Contact Us

HCC Online

3100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002