Students Offering Support (SOS) is an international network of student volunteers on various university campuses across North America. Volunteers Exam-AID Instructor their peers in exam prep sessions when they need it most- right before exams. A minimal donation made by each participant is used to fund education-oriented development projects in Latin America. Since 2004, SOS chapters across the globe have supported over 25,000 students through Exam-AID sessions to raise more than $1 million for rural Latin American communities to assist in funding building projects that create greater access to education.
Click below to watch a video from our founder & Executive Director about what SOS is all about:
SOS was founded in 2004 by Greg Overholt, a second year student at Wilfred Laurier University. Greg avidly volunteered his time in high school through traditional fundraisers, but as he was transitioning to University, he was in search of a more innovative way to have a wide-scale positive social change. He did not find the volunteer experience he was looking for on campus and so with some of his colleagues, they decided they would design their own impactful volunteer experience. Peer-to-peer learning, with the proceeds being used to fund education-oriented projects in rural areas was the decided upon mandate that felt meaningful and purposeful to the newly founded SOS team. Two years after launching SOS, the organization took the volunteer experience one step further. SOS volunteers could travel to the community project they choose to fund and help with the build for two weeks during their summer break, making the 360 degree model of volunteerism come full circle.
SOS was recognized as a National charity in 2008 and chapters began to grow across the country. Today SOS has 30 active chapters in Canada and the US.
Meet our entire team and read their bios, from the chapter presidents to course coordinators and Exam-AID instructors to trip leaders and outreach participants. All of these smiling faces are helping to make SOS the best student club on campus.
Ryerson SOS is a student-run organization consisting of 6 volunteer committees: Committee of Administration Committee of Finance Committee of Logistics for Business Committee of Logistics for Nursing Committee of Marketing Committee of Outreach Trip
A core tenant of SOS Exam-AID sessions is that our student instructors review materials in a way that is both familiar and relatable to the students, without losing sight of the course content. Exam-AID Instructors create interactive and participatory review sessions that effectively and actively involves Gen Y students to not only learn the materials, but learn how to study effectively. This unique style of participatory learning creates a wonderful peer-to-peer mentorship relationship between students and SOS volunteer instructors.
Our Exam-AID instructors are compassionate and engaged students. They are not paid to be there. They are teaching their peers because they care to help other and develop as leaders. Our volunteers are not just tutors. They are student leaders who create an environment where learning extends well beyond the material covered for the upcoming exam. Check out the video below about what an Exam-AID is and why students participate.
As an SOS volunteer, you have the opportunity to see your hard work pay off in a big way. When you volunteer with SOS, you become part of an incredible network of national student leaders. You’ll have the chance to help your peers, connect with like-minded people, develop tangible skills in leadership, public speaking and gain real-world experience demanded by employers and grad schools (not to mention the opportunity to travel abroad and get your hands dirty!).
But text is boring. Watch the video to the right to find out what volunteering with SOS is all about. Or take the plunge and define your own experience by applying here.
If you are interested in finding out more about the parent organization, Students Offering Support, you can find more information about the following through these links:
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, don’t hesitate to e-mail our Director of Operations, Alanna Tobia.
What is the format of an Exam-AID session?
An Exam-AID session is roughly three hours in length, which goes through course material chapter by chapter. There are interactive components where students solve problems and can ask questions at any point. There is also a Q&A period at the end.
What is the difference between SOS and SOS Tutoring?
SOS Tutoring is a for-profit company with crash course group review sessions for courses that are much longer and in-depth. SOS sessions are 3-4 hours in length, give you a great overview of the material directly covered on the exam and are taught by a undergraduate tutor who has recently taken the course and received a grade of A or higher.
Where does the money actually go?
The money raised in an SOS session does not go to the tutor. 85% of the proceeds go directly to funding a community project that is uniquely chosen by each university chapter. The other 15% of the money raised goes to cover the costs of operations (marketing, logistics, IT, etc). This percentage is kept as low as possible in order to have the biggest impact possible in our partnering communities.
Do you only tutor first year courses?
The bulk of courses SOS chapters teach are first year courses. However, many chapters offer second year courses, with some even offering third year courses! Be sure to check out the Exam-AID section to see what courses your chapter will be offering.
I missed the course for my section, can I buy the package?
Possibly! An SOS chapter can choose to sell the Exam-AID package online (through a PayPal payment), but this is made available on the registration site only after the Exam-AID session has finished. Check the Registration page after the Exam-AID (or follow us on Facebook) to be kept in the loop.
Can I pay by cheque? If so, who do I make it out to?
We do accept cheque. Make it out to (put in their chapter name, ie: Windsor or Queens) SOS. Please make sure you put the course name in the memo section, and provide your name and telephone number on a separate piece of paper with your cheque to give to the registration desk attendant.
Do I have to pre-register to attend?
You do not have to pre-register for a session in order to attend, however we recommend you do in order to ensure you have a spot in the session. Many sessions reach capacity (as per campus regulations) and so it is always better to be safe and pre-register your spot. Please make sure you arrive no less than 5 minutes before a session as your pre-registered spot will be unreserved at that point.
If a session is fully booked, do I get priority if I am pre-registered?
Yes! If you are pre-registered for a session you are guaranteed to get into the session as long as you arrive 5 minutes before the start of the session.
Can I come to the session late?
You can attend a session late if need be, however, we would advise against attending a session after 30 minutes because you are missing valuable content.
Is it worth my money?
A student pays thousands of dollars in tuition each year. Raising your grade point by a few percentage points or reducing the time needed to study for the cost of a IMAX movie ticket should be a no-brainer! A research study done on SOS sessions has proven that our sessions increased their mark by 10-15%. Would you prefer to go from a 75% to an 80%? Or see John Carter in 3D?
Why would I pay for an SOS session when my school offers free tutoring session?
SOS sessions simply provide another alternative to the great resources provided by your university to help you study for exams. SOS volunteer tutors put in 20-25 hours for each Exam-AID session, reviewing all the material covered and creating fun questions and presentations that have proved to help! AND, with a great take-home package, often that in itself is worth the price of admission.
Why volunteer with SOS?
SOS is an organization that provides students the opportunity to gain real world experience for your professional development (and resume!) while working to create equal access to education in Latin American communities. During the school year, you will work collaboratively with other students leaders, applying your leadership skills to run your SOS social enterprise on campus. There is no other campus club that can give you a hands-on experience like SOS!
Can I still volunteer if I can't or don't want to teach?
Many volunteer positions exist within a chapter that require a varying range of skills. From finance to marketing, to being course coordinators - there is something for everyone! Be sure to check out the volunteer section to see which positions are available.
How much time do I have to commit to my volunteer opportunity?
Every position requires a different amount of time and the time commitment can vary. Being an SOS Ambassador, your time commitment could be as a little as one-two hours per week. A tutor's preparation for an Exam-AID session (if spread out over several weeks) can be 4-5 hours a week. A VP role could range from 7-10 hours a week. Be sure to check the position description to get a better understanding of time commitment.
Are there any volunteer awards, benefits, or recognition programs?
Yes! SOS head office holds an annual volunteer gala every year where we recognize chapters and individuals who have done outstanding work during the school year. For our volunteers, based on your involvement, we can provide a discount of 15%, 25% or 40% towards a Princeton Review course to help prepare for an upcoming MCAT, GMAT, LSAT, or GRA test! With our connection to Ernst & Young and HSBC, we connect our superstar volunteers directly to hiring managers to help our volunteers have a great chance at co-op, intern, or full-time positions!
Do on-campus volunteers get a discount on an SOS outreach trip?
Yes! All volunteers get a $100 discount on our outreach trips to say thanks for all your hard work. BUT, in addition, each year we give out 30+ scholarships to on-campus volunteers to provide an additional $100 and $500 contribution towards your outreach trip for those who have gone over and above helping raise marks and raise money for their development project.
What if I cannot volunteer on campus, are there other opportunities?
To view upcoming international volunteer opportunities check out the chapter's trip section here. Additionally you can see a full list of all the currently available trips for the upcoming year on the head office site here. If you are interested in doing a longer international internship (2-3 months) within one of our Latin American communities, e-mail the SOS head office at email@example.com