What kind of campus job pays over $30 dollars an hour? Certainly not part-time positions in food service, athletic training or research. Believe it or not, students across the country are being paid for something they (hopefully) already do: take class notes.
Chris Ugarte is a rising junior at Boston College, but the finance and business analytics major is already a seasoned entrepreneur. Over the past three semesters, Ugarte says he has made more than $1,000 selling his class notes and study guides through the online study guide marketplace for college students, Flashnotes.com. A macroeconomics final exam study guide for Professor Richard Tresch’s ECON 132 is his bestseller.
After Ugarte uploaded his first set of notes during freshman year, Flashnotes reached out to him and he started building a relationship with the company. A few months later, he assumed the leadership role of campus COO, built a team of 12 student ambassadors, and increased Flashnotes sales on the BC campus from $1,000 to $4,000 in just one semester.
“One problem with education is that students have to take courses that they might not be interested in,” says Matousek. “Flashnotes connects students passionate about those subjects with a chance to teach other students how to learn.”
Beyond simply buying and selling class notes, students learning from other students can provide another avenue for teaching and explaining course material. “Professors are so smart, but they forget what it’s like to learn,” says Matousek. The disconnect between how professors teach and how students learn is an obstacle to succeeding in the classroom. The solution? Peer learning.
“It really benefits students to learn from each other,” says Devon Sprague, director of the Center for Writing and Academic Achievement at Stonehill College, the school’s peer tutoring center. “There are so many diverse learning styles among students that it benefits them to hear about topics from a different perspective than what they hear in class.”
Devon finds that peer learning lets students discover different angles for understanding coursework. This method, she says, helps students better navigate the material due to seeing it from the point of view of someone else in their age group.
“I think peer learning is a really valuable resource for students because it helps keep them engaged,” says Sprague. “When students find a job as a tutor, it’s one more touch point between students and the institution. They serve as liaisons, bridging the gap between undergrads and faculty.”