Where is the tutoring performed?
Generally, it is done at the client’s home for convenience. If the client’s home is too noisy, or the client prefers to meet elsewhere—such as a Barnes & Noble’s, Starbucks, library or other agreeable location—that is fine as well.
It is okay to have a little noise, as that better simulates testing conditions. During most tests there is some background noise—not total silence. However, if a home is extremely loud an alternate location would be ideal.
What locations do you service?
At the present time, we cover Broward and Palm Beach Counties. We also work with some students from Dade County, usually at an agreeable location in Broward.
What subjects do you tutor?
Almost all subjects are covered, and they range from Prekindergarten up to Graduate School. Additionally, we have worked with children as young as five up to adults in their eighties.
We also work with adults who are sitting for professional tests such as real estate or mortgage exams. For further information please call 561-929-4080
What distinguishes you from some of the large, franchise tutoring companies?
First, and foremost, attention to the students is a lot greater. At some of the large centers it is not uncommon for one instructor to be working with four or five other students at the same time, and many times the one tutor is dealing with different subjects and different age ranges.
We do not believe this is a successful way to teach anybody! By working one-on-one, or in very small groups upon the client’s request, we are able to accomplish a lot more; the student gets a greater understanding of the material, and most importantly learns just what the student needs to know.
Ironically, we often hear from our clients that it costs them the same amount or less to have their student seen one-on-one, in their own home, as it does to take them to one of the large franchised centers—where their child will share one tutor with up to four other students.
What are your rates?
Rates will vary slightly depending upon the difficulty of the material, the location, and the number of hours of tutoring. There are packages available, in blocks of hours, which lower the rate. Call for further information.
Do you offer referral fees?
Yes, if you refer someone who does two hours or more, in total, for tutoring, test preparation, or other services you will receive a $50 referral fee! If you wish you can have the referral fee applied to an hour of tutoring instead.
Can you tutor for online classes?
Yes, we have helped many students with online classes. Although online classes have many advantages—such as saving on time and travel—perhaps the greatest downfall is a lack of support. After all you are on your own, with a teacher you have to email whenever you have a problem, and you lack the support of other students. Having a tutor can make all the difference between understanding and succeeding in the class versus getting lost in the shuffle. Another good thing is grade forgiveness, which some schools offer when students get below a C average in a class, they are often allowed to make up the class—typically online—and replace the old grade with the new one. This is a great way to boost your GPA!
Are standardized tests like the SAT*/ACT* really important?
Absolutely, for many schools these tests are about equal to four years of high school grades.. The tests “level” the playing field and make it possible to compare a student in Manhattan, Kansas with someone in Manhattan, NY.
Grades vary dramatically from school to school, and even teacher-to-teacher in the same school. A student who struggled to earn a 3.1GPA at one school might have gone to an easier school district, taken the easiest courses, and earned a 4.0GPA. The tests are supposed to reduce the great disparities in grading, and allow colleges to compare students on an equal footing—this way colleges get a more complete picture of a student.
Can I really increase my test scores?
The answer is unequivocally yes! If you could not increase your scores, and potentially by a lot, there would be no test prep. industry. Very similar to studying a subject, you can increase your scores by learning the techniques for the test—whether it be the SAT/ACT, GRE, GMAT, FCAT, etc. For example, the SAT & ACT have very similar patterns that they have been using for decades. Somebody who is well versed in the tests can show you the techniques and give you confidence along the way—while you watch your scores climb and open doors to more and more colleges.
How many times can I take a test?
That would depend on the test. For the SAT/ACT, most colleges will allow you to take each exam up to four times —and typically they will add your best parts to give you one overall score. For example, if you got your best reading score on the first test, best math on the second, and best writing on the third, most schools will combine those best parts to give you one overall score. Bright Futures scholarship will combine the best parts of either the SAT or ACT to give you one overall score. If a person takes more than three of one test than they typically average your scores.
For other tests, like the GRE and GMAT, scores are usually averaged, so you’ll want to make sure you are well prepared to take additional exams.
How much preparation time is needed?
For most of the standardized tests, eight weeks, or approximately two months, is ideal. We meet once a week for typically an hour and a half to two hours. In between sessions, students study vocabulary, math formulas, and do speed reading exercises. On some weeks they will take practice exams as well.
Can I get extended time on a test?
Yes, you can if you provide the documentation to prove that you have special needs. This can be a lengthy process, so you will want to have your extended time application in at least two months prior to the test date. Testing companies have different requirements for granting extended time, so there have been cases where one test, such as the SAT, granted extended time, while ACT did not. The bottom line is to have all your documentation and send it in as soon as possible.
College Applications & Essays
When should I apply to colleges?
Generally the earlier the better. Many colleges such as University of Central Florida (UCF) and Penn State are rolling admissions—basically meaning first come, first serve. In fact, it is not uncommon for some rolling admissions schools to be sending back acceptance letters in September, so that means spots fill up quickly. As more spots are filled, the schools become increasingly selective with students they accept.
Additionally, you will want to have your college applications done and out of the way once your senior year starts because senior year courses are usually the toughest, and many seniors study to take their final SAT & ACT’s at the beginning of the senior year as well. So having college applications done and out-of-the-way will give you peace of mind in addition to improving your chances of acceptance.
What should I look for in a college?
First and foremost, make sure the college has the field you want to study and additionally is strong in the major you want. Other things to look for include having the right “fit”, so that you feel comfortable at the school. For example, sometimes students from private schools may feel overwhelmed by the sheer size of a state university, where freshmen classes can have as many as five hundred students. Certain schools may get reputations for certain things, such as a preppie school, an engineering school, a commuter school, etc. So you will want to make sure you feel comfortable at the school and that is why school visits are always recommended. Finally, cost is definitely a factor, make sure that the school is within your family’s budget, or that it will offer enough aid to make it affordable.
My grades and/or scores are below the school’s average, so should I bother applying?
Realize that the numbers shown are the averages, so about 50% of those accepted are below that average. Also, there can be many other factors that go into the decision—such as major you apply for, alumni, talents you may have, leadership ability, etc. Schools will often consider if there was a major setback in your life or if the overall grade trend is moving upwards. Private colleges generally look more at the complete person, beyond the numbers, whereas state schools tend to focus more on the numbers, due to the large volume of applications. In short, we have seen many people get accepted into schools, where they were “below the averages.”
What about Bright Futures and other scholarships?
Bright Futures was created to keep talented students in state. Unfortunately, the state government has increased the requirements to achieve the scholarship; however, you can still utilize this great tool to make college more affordable. The state schools in Florida accept Bright Futures and some of the private colleges in Florida accept it as well. There are 75% and 100% scholarships available to cover tuition. You will need to achieve the test scores—on SAT or ACT—in addition to having the required GPA, community service hours, and take the required courses (see Bright Futures Website for more information).
Aside from Bright Futures, there are thousands of other scholarships available nationwide, which range from very broad, where anyone can apply, to very specific—where someone needs to take a certain major, have a parent who works for certain companies, be a member of a certain club, etc.
There are also grants available, which are primarily need based. The Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will help colleges determine how much you can receive in grants. Since scholarships are awarded to only select individuals, you will want to apply to a lot of scholarships to increase your chances.
Do the essays really matter?
Simply put, yes they do. In fact, this is the one chance for the colleges to get to know you more as a person, beyond a bunch of numbers. In private colleges, they are generally more important, than in the large, state schools—mainly due to the huge number of applications state schools receive every year. Typically, in a state school the essays are read in borderline cases. Of course, you will never know going into it if you are going to be in that situation, so you will want to put your best foot forward and write a strong essay. In short, the essays show the human side of you, and they give the college a glimpse into your personality and train of thought.