Author Topic: SAT tutors  (Read 688 times)

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Offline farmgirl

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SAT tutors
« on: July 14, 2017, 05:10:25 AM »
My daughter just finished up 10th grade (high school).  We will be moving to Colchester and she will be enrolled in the IB Diploma program at Colchester Sixth Form College.  She recently took the SATs and did quite well, but wants to take them again in May (and wants to improve by about 70 points). I'm all set up with how to register with the College Board and know that there are some schools in Cambridge and Oxford where she can sit for the exam.  What I don't know is where we can find SAT tutors. 

She plans to retake the SAT exam next May (2018) and she would probably want to start meeting with an SAT tutor several months before the exam.  Wondering if anyone can advise, or anyone can make a recommendation.  Willing to travel to Cambridge and/or the outskirts of London if we can't find someone in the Colchester area.


Offline afkathomas

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Re: SAT tutors
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2017, 08:14:08 AM »
Hi Farmgirl!
I used to be based in Lambeth with my American wife before moving out to Los Angeles where we live now. But I tutor people by skype which may be a good solution for you? I personally have clients on both coasts, in Britain, mainland Europe, Russia and so forth, and online tutoring is a great way to work with good people from across the world, no matter how rural or inaccessible your location.
If you've got any questions, I'd be delighted to help you find what you want if you haven't already.
 

Offline farmgirl

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Re: SAT tutors
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2017, 08:38:42 AM »
Hi Farmgirl!
I used to be based in Lambeth with my American wife before moving out to Los Angeles where we live now. But I tutor people by skype which may be a good solution for you? I personally have clients on both coasts, in Britain, mainland Europe, Russia and so forth, and online tutoring is a great way to work with good people from across the world, no matter how rural or inaccessible your location.
If you've got any questions, I'd be delighted to help you find what you want if you haven't already.
 

Thanks!  My daughter ended up taking both the SATs and ACTs at the end of her sophmore year (this past May).  She had little time to prepare (maybe 3 weeks) as she also had four AP exams to take.  She also did her own study.  She ended up with a 1390 on her SATs and a 33 on her ACTs, which, considering some of the math material included topics that she hadn't yet learned, was impressive.

She wants to retake the SATs next May and will most likely take them in Cambridge, at the Hills Sixth Form.  We'd like to get her set up with tutoring, probably starting in January (as she has to also complete two GCSE courses this first term at Colchester Sixth Form College).  Her goal is to get aim for a 1500 on her SATs.

I would love to hear about your experiences and what you might charge and how you go about tutoring.  I will ask my daughter to see if there is any tutoring at her school and will also see if Hills Sixth Form has any tutoring.

Thanks again.

Online KFdancer

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Re: SAT tutors
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2017, 03:48:24 PM »
Thanks!  My daughter ended up taking both the SATs and ACTs at the end of her sophmore year (this past May).  She had little time to prepare (maybe 3 weeks) as she also had four AP exams to take.  She also did her own study.  She ended up with a 1390 on her SATs and a 33 on her ACTs, which, considering some of the math material included topics that she hadn't yet learned, was impressive.

She wants to retake the SATs next May and will most likely take them in Cambridge, at the Hills Sixth Form.  We'd like to get her set up with tutoring, probably starting in January (as she has to also complete two GCSE courses this first term at Colchester Sixth Form College).  Her goal is to get aim for a 1500 on her SATs.

I would love to hear about your experiences and what you might charge and how you go about tutoring.  I will ask my daughter to see if there is any tutoring at her school and will also see if Hills Sixth Form has any tutoring.

Thanks again.

Wow!!  Super impressive!

My high school sweetheart got a perfect score on the SATs.  Not surprisingly, he got a full ride to Harvard.  He's an author now but also tutors for SATs.  He's based in NYC, but I imagine does virtual lessons as well.  Let me know if you want his details.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2017, 03:50:57 PM by KFdancer »

Offline farmgirl

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Re: SAT tutors
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2017, 03:50:47 PM »
Wow!!  Super impressive!

Yes, she's a pretty super impressive kiddo.  She has high aspirations for college/uni and figures if she can get a 1500 on the SATs that could help her for both US colleges and potentially Oxbridge Universities in the UK. 

Offline Nan D.

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Re: SAT tutors
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2017, 03:03:05 AM »
Congratulations on the great test scores! Obviously she's worked hard.

And now for some unsolicited advice. Having just come from a career of over 20 years with a major university, with roughly half of those years in student affairs, I can offer this as far as my experience in the US higher ed system (for what it's worth): 

The "culture" of the institution is going to come into play during the application season. Some of them want only the best of the best, GPA/Scores-wise. Period. Some are looking for a more well-rounded experience from their incoming cohorts. But they all look for the value-added component. The admissions people know that students from upper-middle class families often have been bought extra tutoring and have gone to high schools that were affluent enough to be able to offer all the AP courses (in classes with equally as advantaged students - nobody not up to speed, to drag the class down), etc. The "better" higher ed institutions are inundated with applications from students with great GPAs and SATs, and occasionally family money (for endowments, etc. - hey, it happens). An applicant better have something special to offer, in addition to the numbers, that makes them stand out from the rest of the mob.

My experience is that admissions people do look at GPA & test scores, although test scores are losing favor at some universities as they don't seem to be quite as accurate at predicting success as one might hope. My institution used them in combination with the GPA to draw a "cutoff" line below which they would not usually consider an application (without there being extenuating circumstances).  We had over 75,000 (yes, seventy-five thousand) freshman applications a year, and a very large percentage of them met the scores cutoff. So, once the benchmark minimum GPA/test scores line was crossed,  the admissions committee looked at what else a potential student would bring to campus to enrich the campus culture. Ethnic minority (American Indian, Black, especially)? Refugee? Other hardship background? Heavy public service commitment (lots of volunteer work on the record, over several years, or political activism)? Stellar athlete or artist? Admission was not governed solely by GPA/test scores.

And then there's the admissions essay - whether the admissions office is reading 75,000 of them or just 5,000 (or 500), an essay had better have some content that stands out. It's not just a matter of it being a well-written response to a prompt (if one is given). It is pretty obvious which essays are written by the students, from the heart after due consideration, and which have been heavily edited by a hired gun or their parents. (Seriously, it shows. Admissions committees have seen it all.)

I understand that the essays most well-received at my former institution were from kids who were forward thinkers for their age or whose essays indicated they had been forced to do more to get to the point of applying than the "usual" applicant. They'd played with chemistry sets as a child, worked summers in a research lab throughout in high school, and were convinced they wanted a career in that field. They had survived a major life crisis (homeless, serious illness, orphaned, impacted by a natural disaster). They were going into nursing after dealing with seriously ill family member for years. They were ex-military (not often, but more often lately). They were the first in their family to apply. (Etc.) The campus was looking for "diversity" of background and experience - the interaction between the students was looked on as being as important in the educational experience as sitting in a 200-seater lecture hall listening to someone drone on. I'm not sure how important that is to other universities, but I'm willing to bet that the better ones do bring the "what else do you offer" component to bear when making an admissions decision. 

Digression: We always ended up with a large dollop of "the usual" upper-middle class generic kids (4.5, high testers, etc.), but also a sizeable proportion of "diversity" enrollments.  I remember hearing about the one who wrote in his essay of working before and after school, weekends, and summers picking fruit with his family, who were not native speakers of English. He had  good, though not stellar SATs and a good GPA (few AP courses - none available), but his essay read as if he had really thought about what he wanted to say. He was the first of his family to attend high school.  I believe that he also served as a peer tutor at his local high school, working with kids who otherwise would not be able to finish their diploma/get GEDs. (When he had the time is beyond me!)  If I am remembering correctly what I heard, he wanted to be a doctor so he could go back to help his community.  I certainly would have put him as one of my top-ranked "recommend" cases, above all the kids who were in the honor society, played lacrosse, were on their school newspapers, and active in their church, etc. Those are a dime-a-dozen. This kid knew the meaning of truly hard work, and bucked his cultural tradition to do what he had to do, with great personal sacrifice, to get to the point that the "usual" kids pretty much got to by default. I really do wish I knew how things turned out for that young man. I know he was offered a spot and did enroll. I hope he made it through.

So, un-digressing back to the unsolicited advice:  What that all has to do with the UK university system - who knows? Just consider it a cautionary tale about great grades and stellar test scores. If there's only one place available and there's two applicants with great grades and stellar test scores there has to be something that tips the balance in favor of one or the other.  What else does your student offer that the institution will find attractive?

My only other bit of advice is: don't push a kid to attend a school simply because "it's one of the best" or if they don't have a clear vision of why they are going into higher ed. They should look carefully at the campus culture and the actual mission of the institution and make sure it's a fit with their interests and their personality. Are they going for a "well rounded" experience, or are they going to use it as a stepping-stone institution to graduate school? (Seriously, some post-graduate programs are really picky as to where you earned your undergrad degree, so if a student has a specific professional/PhD degree in mind, it might do to see where they might want to earn it and then see where that institution's students earned their u.g. degrees.)

I listened to so many kids over the years who were at our uni because it was expected of them - and they were miserable. They put on a great show when mom and dad showed up on visitor day, and were in tears in my office the next day.  I also more than once had a kid tell me in their senior year that they'd just found their true calling - and that  they'd wasted the prior 3 years (and their one shot at an undergrad degree) studying in the wrong field. And there was the sophomore who showed up to my office and proudly announced they were going to major in business (we didn't have a business major), and the one who was going to do musical theatre (we didn't do musical theatre, just experimental). [Sigh] And there were those who just were floundering as one face in a 25,000+ sea of faces who would have been much happier at a much smaller institution.

And, a gap year isn't a bad thing, really, sometimes.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 10:01:05 AM by Nan D. »

Offline farmgirl

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Re: SAT tutors
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2017, 08:43:20 AM »
Thanks for all of that very good advice and I'm taking it all in.  My daughter has very high aspirations, which one the one hand is really, really good, but we also keep telling her to both "think across the pond far and wide" and think about places that would be a good fit.  She has in her head Cambridge and/or Trinity (in Dublin) or some Ivy League schools in the US.  She has spent some time in Cambridge and LOVES it and also was on the Trinity campus a few years ago (but not as a prospective uni student at either). 

On the Ivy League side of things, we've tried to point out that the culture may not be what she's either used to or likes.  Coming from Oregon and living a particular way the majority of her life is very different than life at Harvard or Yale (assuming she could even get in).

We're not doing much of the pushing (the only pushing we're doing is asking her to keep her options open and to take the US college entrance exams so she can apply equally to UK/EU universities and to US colleges. 

She is planning on retaking the SATs this May in Cambridge (at Hills Road Sixth Form College).  She will need a tutor to help her review and work on a few sections, if her goal is to aim for a score of 1500.  Still searching for that.  Any ideas?

Offline Nan D.

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Re: SAT tutors
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2017, 09:44:08 AM »
Sorry, fresh out of ideas.  :(    If your daughter was doing quite poorly on them, I might suggest a formal class type of setting where they taught test-taking strategy. I have seen literature that says using tutors can increase good test scores slightly, and also seen literature that says they don't really help. 

I think that someone here on the board said they knew someone? I think that's the way I would go - a personal recommendation from someone who has used a specific tutor, if getting all the practice test materials available for purchase/download and going through them doesn't give your daughter the confidence she feels she needs to retake the test.

On the good side, as of a few years ago (not sure if it's changed or not), I believe that most schools looked at only the highest scores you achieved, not the last ones.  (And the scores are only good for five years, although I doubt that will matter in your daughter's case.)

Sounds like you are giving her great advice. There is, really, only so much you can say. She'll have to make her own choices, but then, as they say, lay in the bed that she makes.  Hopefully all will go well.  Best of luck!

[Oh, as to campus culture. It's not always a bad thing to be in a culture that's completely alien to what you've experienced before. Another layer of "education" there. In fact, to that end I strongly recommend that a student do at least a semester of education abroad, if at all possible. The USA is so ethnocentric, and it's good for a student to see it from the outside. As to "campus culture" pitfalls, I would be more concerned about someone who is basically introverted who had been in a very homogenized, smaller, highly supportive environment who chose to, say, go to a really large research university or one where the students might be cut-throat as far as class standing - that sort of thing. Does that 18 year old kid have the intellectual/emotional reserves to handle that stunning a sea-change in their environment?  Sometimes it's something they have to put a lot of effort into mastering, which is also not a bad thing. But if they're struggling academically, it might just be too much.]
« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 10:14:25 AM by Nan D. »