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Rype App Review: I Wouldn’t Recommend It To Anybody

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Quick Review

1.8 

Summary

Rype is a resource that provides language learners with access to one-on-one lessons with teachers. It’s aimed at providing a solution for the busy learner that needs a great deal of flexibility with their study time. Users purchase a subscription package that contains a certain number of lessons per month. The lessons are 30-minutes long and are easy to schedule.

Platform

The platform is very easy to use, but there aren’t many teacher details and lessons take place on Skype.

Teachers

There seems to be a range of experience levels on Rype and a very small number of teachers.

Value

The hourly rates are higher than similar online tutor options and you have to commit to a  subscription.

Price

The price varies per subscription package and number of lessons each month.

Number of Lessons Six-Month Subscription Monthly Subscription
8 Lessons/month$59.99/month$79.99
12 Lessons/month$84.99/month$99.99
20 Lessons/month$159.99/month$179.99

The availability of online one-on-one language courses has skyrocketed in recent years, and it’s made it possible for just about anyone with an internet connection to find a suitable language tutor.

Naturally, each online tutor directory takes a slightly different angle in offering their service. Some have higher per-hour rates as a tradeoff for teachers with more advanced credentials, some are catered to the learner that wants the least expensive option.

This review covers one that tries to position itself as the go-to app for busy language learners with tight schedules.

This image shows the name "Rype" in bold black letters.

Rype is a language-learning platform that gives learners the chance to book 30-minute lessons with teachers after signing up for a subscription plan. Among their several marketing claims, they’re supposed to be the best option for the busy language learner.

In my case, these marketing claims didn’t translate to experience.

For this review, I tried out the resource for learning Spanish. I also had a look around the site to see what it would be like to learn the other languages on offer.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find the kind of hyper-flexibility I was looking for. Instead, the resource I tried felt limited in just about every aspect. There aren’t very many teachers on Rype, there isn’t much information on the teachers, there’s no material provided by Rype, and the lessons take place on Skype.

There are a couple, as in two, things I like about the platform — overall, I’m not a fan. There are a lot of other language learning apps that’d I’d recommend over Rype. Read on to learn more about my experience.

The Rype Platform

The layout of this resource is simple enough. There are just two main tabs: Schedule and Reservation. Below is the first screen you’ll see when you log in for the first time, the Schedule tab.

This is the main screen on the Rype App platform, showing pictures and bios of available teachers.

There’s nothing special or crazy happening here. You filter your search by language and time and then scroll through the available tutors.

Each tutor has a headshot and a bio. If you like the sound of the bio, you can go ahead and schedule a lesson. I did see one that had a link to an introduction Youtube video, but most of the bios simply describe the teacher’s experience and list their hobbies or add information about what lessons are like with them. Often times there’s even less information.

This isn’t like other one-on-one lesson apps that allow you to see and sort by a teacher’s preferred student age, specialties, or native country. I guess the idea here is that they’ve all been “handpicked” and should be able to more or less deliver the Rype experience, whatever that may be. Instead, the selection process doesn’t lend itself to too much thought.

Teachers

The number of teachers on Rype is different for each language, but the overall variety is quite small.

The greatest number of options is for students learning English (still under 50 teachers), but the majority of English teachers are not native speakers.

For the rest of the languages, I counted how many teachers I could choose from on a random weekday in the current week. I left all hours open, 12 AM to 12 AM. This is how many I could choose from.

Arabic: 11
Portuguese: Between 4 and 8 (depending on the day of the week)
French: 24
German: 9
Italian: 11
Japanese: 3
Mandarin: 7
Russian: 10
Spanish: 41

Not very many! Especially for Japanese, Portuguese and Mandarin. The most I saw for Japanese was four teachers. This test also didn’t take into account timing. The numbers are even smaller for those that have restricted schedules.

Going through each of the languages also showed that a lot of the teachers teach multiple languages, so the number of unique teachers across the platform is very small.

As for Spanish, all of the bios I read were of teachers from the Americas. You might be out of luck if you’re particularly interested in studying with a teacher from Spain.

Also, while the number of Spanish teachers is comparatively high to the other languages on Rype, consider that the number of professional teachers on italki is close to 700.

Rype teachers are required to have teaching experience but are not required to have had training or credentials.

Scheduling a Lesson

The scheduling process is as straightforward as the platform layout. Once you’ve selected a teacher, choose a time slot that works for you. Lesson times are all based on your local time.

This is the lesson scheduling page, showing the available lesson times for the selected teacher.

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Choose the time that works for you and that’s that! This teacher had availability from 1:30 PM to 12:00 AM my time, and I was able to schedule a lesson for the next day.

Availability varies, though, and this teacher seemed to be one of few that had so many times that worked for me. Some teachers only have morning hours and some only have them in the evening. Fortunately, you can use the slider on the left side of the screen to filter teachers by availability.

The vast majority of Spanish teachers are from the Americas, so you may have better luck with timing if you live in the U.S.

I’m on Central European Time, and setting the time filter to 12 PM – 5 PM showed that there were 28 Spanish teachers with compatible schedules. A similar filter on a search for teachers on italki came up with 420 results. Narrowing those results to only professional teachers, there were still 205 options on italki.

Once you’ve scheduled a lesson, you’ll be able to see it on the Reservations page.

The Reservations page shows the lessons you have scheduled. This screenshot shows a lesson scheduled with Barbara for March 3rd at 5:00 PM.

The Lesson

This was a frustrating experience. The first two lessons I booked didn’t work out. The first teacher just never added me on Skype, and the second one added me ten minutes into the lesson and said hello. I took the initiative to add and message both of these teachers on Skype.

I found out later that the second teacher never received a notification from Rype about the lesson. I can only assume this is what happened with the first teacher as well.

Now, you only get two lessons as part of your free trial. So after this setback, I was unable to schedule any further lessons, and my trial time was running short! Other than a desire to give a complete review, I found little incentive not to cancel my free trial early to avoid accidentally getting charged a subscription.

There is an option to report problems with lessons, including late teachers or no-shows, and I took advantage.

This is the screen users can use to report a problem with their Rype experience.

Upon completing the report, you have the option to ask the teacher for a refund. It’s interesting that Rype phrases it this way, making you “ask the teacher” for a refund instead of just offering one for teacher no-shows. I don’t like it.

Fortunately, I did get refunded for both lessons, and I had enough time to reschedule before the trial subscription ended.

The lesson experience ended up being very much like a simple chat with a native Spanish speaker over Skype. My teacher had a nasty cold, so I’d like to cut him some slack, but there was no screen-sharing or goal-setting or much of a plan at all. Also, the camera was zoomed in way too close to his face and there were some minor connectivity issues.

All in all, there was nothing customized or premium-feeling about the lesson. Rype likes to advertise the personalization of the experience, but from what I can tell, all of this is up to the teachers (who are getting paid around $5 per lesson). How much personalization you get out of your lesson seems to depend on the teacher.

Negative Reviews of Rype

A little searching on the internet shows that there’s a decent amount of anti-Rype sentiment out there, mostly linked to negative experiences with the resource.

Here’s a former Rype teacher’s account of working for the company. According to this person, many of Rype’s claims are just false.

This one details an issue that seems to be relatively common for people trying to take advantage of the free trial. Canceling your trial in time and not getting billed can be difficult, apparently. Several users have filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau.

I found several more reports of negative experiences, but many of those were from several years ago.

It’s best to take it all with a grain of salt, both the negative and positive reviews, but a series of independent negative experiences is a signal to take caution.

Pricing

A 7-day trial to Rype is free of charge. After that, the prices of plans vary by the number of lessons you can take per month.

This image shows the price for a six-month subscription to Rype with 12 lessons a month. It costs $84.99/month.

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An interesting note here is that the price per hour is actually higher if you purchase the plan with the most lessons per month.

The price for 8 lessons/month is $59.99/month for a six-month subscription or $79.99 paid monthly.

The price for 20 lessons/month is $159.99/month for a six-month subscription or $179.99/month if you want to pay monthly.

Alternatives

There are a few websites that make very strong alternatives to Rype.

Verbling is one of them; it’s got more teachers than Rype, meaning better flexibility. Verbling also has stricter requirements for teachers, meaning they’ve generally got higher qualifications. The price per hour is similar, but the range on Verbling means you can find teachers that are more expensive as well as those that are cheaper.

Another option is Preply, which is a super large collection of tutors of varying qualifications and prices. The prices with Preply can be pretty inexpensive, which is appealing, but it’s worth noting that the company takes an extra-large commission from its teachers and doesn’t pay them for trial lessons.

An even stronger contender is italki. It’s got a massive database of tutors for tons of flexibility and is significantly less expensive on average than Rype. You do have to load your account with “credits” in order to purchase lessons, but I still find this more flexible than Rype’s subscription model.

It’s hard for me to imagine a scenario in which Rype makes more sense than italki. Nonetheless, Rype posted its own review of italki explaining this very thing. Writing reviews of competing resources is a large part of their marketing strategy.

I found the review problematic and am actively resisting the urge to refute just about every point it makes. Some of them are simply inaccurate — italki is significantly cheaper per hour than Rype, you’re not going to get “stuck” with one teacher on italki unless you choose to, and there’s undoubtedly more scheduling flexibility with italki.

Rype tries to justify its pricing model by likening it to a gym subscription, where paying for each lesson on italki is like “paying the drop-in price.” They’re saying that a monthly financial commitment will give you extra motivation to get serious about language learning. That may have some truth to it for some people, but just know that you won’t be getting a cheaper price per lesson by signing up for a subscription.

The only thing I actually do like about Rype is that its lessons are 30-minutes long. I like this lesson length, and it does make for some extra flexibility for people with busy schedules. You can find this lesson length and others on italki as well, but it isn’t as common.

Finally, if you’re serious about learning Spanish in particular, Baselang is like Rype on steroids. It also uses a subscription model and is a bit more expensive, but you get unlimited one-on-one lessons and a thorough curriculum. The teachers are all from Venezuela, the scheduling flexibility is outstanding, and there are several different course types to choose from.

Final Thoughts

Usually, even if a resource isn’t for me, I can imagine a scenario in which it would make sense for someone. I’m finding it really difficult to do that with this one.

This isn’t something I’d sign up for, and I don’t see myself ever recommending it to anyone.

To recap, the things I like about Rype are that the interface is easy to use and that the 30-minute lesson length is easy to fit into a busy schedule. Outside of these, I’m just not very happy with it.

The number of teachers is exceptionally low, I’m not a fan of the subscription model, Rype doesn’t provide any of its own material and lessons happen on Skype.

If you’re interested in one-on-one lessons, you’ll find more scheduling flexibility, teacher variety, and cheaper prices elsewhere. If for some reason you need a sizeable chunk of money taken out of your bank account each month to get you to study, then maybe this one’s for you.

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