Clutch Prep targets UA in tutoring expansion

Clutch Prep targets UA in tutoring expansion

Clutch Prep CEO Marcio Souza. (Submitted by Patrick O’Keefe)

Samuel Yang

“We had these group tutoring sessions that were professor-specific. We were giving students supplemental reviews based on what the professor was covering in class,” Clutch Prep CEO Marcio Souza said. “The key thing that worked well in Miami was that it was highly relevant. We had to maintain that high level of ?relevancy for students.”

Clutch Prep, a video-based tutoring system, now offers textbook-specific material for five classes at The University of Alabama, one of fifteen schools selected for their first wave of expansion.

“We started seeing that some schools were having more students [using Clutch Prep] than others. That’s the criteria we started using to pick our first wave of schools,” Souza said. “[The University] was one of them.”

Souza, who is also Clutch Prep’s physics tutor, said their model is based on providing content, examples and practice problems.

“A lot of it is just personal experience with being frustrated in class. A lot of our professors will spend most class time sort of talking about theory,” he said. “What we’ve seen is that in problem-solving classes, students learn by seeing examples and by ?practicing on their own.”

Souza said Clutch Prep’s video equivalent of lecture is actually kept as short as possible.

“The most important part actually is being able to do it on your own,” he said. “We spend most of our time giving examples and practice problems because that’s where the real learning happens.”

Souza is one of Clutch Prep’s six core team members. After student demand at FIU led them to an office and then a website, Clutch Prep landed in Techstars, a startup accelerator in Chicago.

“The initial feedback from our FIU students when we did this locally – we still do this locally – is overwhelmingly positive,” Souza said. “People love this stuff.”

Their online activity has gotten similar reviews, he said. Students point to their organization and depth as assets. Currently, Clutch Prep has UA-specific material for Chemistry I and II, Organic Chemistry I, Physics I, Calculus I and Statistics I.

Clutch Prep is currently looking to hire a UA student as a student brand manager. The part-time, commission-based position will involve building connections with students and professors. Souza said the plan is to continue adding material for more math, science, engineering and business courses.

“Basically, anything that’s problem solving, we want to get to it eventually,” he said.

Clutch Prep’s website also allows students to input their requests for course coverage.

“You can tell us. We’re tallying that information,” Souza said. “We know already that the two classes that have the most demand are Organic Chemistry II and Biology I.”

Rocky Elmore, a senior majoring in physics and secondary education, received a mass email from a student in his organic ?chemistry encouraging him to check out Clutch Prep.

“It is a really good resource. I really like it. It’s very simple. It’s user-friendly,” he said. “The way that Johnny, [the Chief Academic Officer and tutor], creates the videos and the study guides, it’s very easy to use the material.”

Elmore, who has personally communicated with the tutors, said Clutch Prep allowed him to study and practice while learning, which helped with the fast pace of his in-person class time.

“I could tell it was helping, because I could start to understand the logic of some of the things that were happening in class,” he said. “Watching some of the videos, he kind of showed [how] ?everything was related to each other.”

Another feature of Clutch Prep he used was its interactive nature.

“With each video, for each chapter, Johnny has it to where if you have a question about that particular video, you can ask it, and usually within a few days, or within a few hours, he can answer that specific question,” he said. “It’s almost like having a professor, and you’re emailing him.”

Jesus Rodriguez, a sophomore majoring in chemical ?engineering, also used Clutch Prep for his Organic Chemistry class.

“It knew exactly how the book was laid out,” he said. “It gave exactly what I needed for the section I was in.”

He said the material did a good job connecting past content to current content while providing an overview alongside in-depth coverage. The only request he has is for mobile access to Clutch Prep, he said.

“They give you exactly what you need every time,” he said. “It’s a really great resource.”