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Connecticut: Summer of Fun and Summer of Learning

Connecticut is a wonderful spot for the summer.  Those who live near the shoreline or in Fairfield County delight in our moderate temperatures and beaches. Post pandemic, the fun has begun. And, we’ve all earned it. Enjoy! Students certainly should indulge in as much wholesome fun as time will allow. However…. as much as our […]

Bridging the educational gaps: What Parents Should Know About The Pandemic’s Effects on their Children’s Education

Educators see the damage already.  The Learning Consultants has 50 plus tutors throughout Connecticut and New York.  Many are teachers.   The anecdotal evidence is unsurprising: students are falling behind. The reasons are easy to decipher: there has been less school (those hybrid models usually deplete the school day); more time for unhealthy diversions (Tik-tok, […]

Post Pandemic Enrichment (catch-up) Summer

There has always been a gap between students whose parents provide summer enrichment and those that do not.  (See Malcolm Gladwell’s famous discussion of students in Baltimore). In quick summary, researchers from Johns Hopkins studied factors that led to student achievement.  IQs, wealth, educational levels of parents and so forth were measured.  The single biggest […]

Yes, your SAT/ACT scores can help you gain admission and money… even if optional

Do my children need to play an instrument? Do my children need to play a sport? Do my children need to have a lot of community service? Need?   To gain admission to “college”, no. But to gain admission to competitive colleges, then some combination of the above or depth in one area will be helpful […]

SAT Prep this summer

The Seminars:   1.) The Saturday – in person – seminar – Old Saybrook $595   9-12 am starting July 10 ending August 21 (the week before the August SAT)   2.) The Sunday – virtual -seminar, $295   10-11:30 am, starting July 11 ending August 22   3.) Any combination of the two (then […]

SAT Boot Camp

We will be having a crash course for the SAT. Designed for those taking the May test. The weekends of April 24 and May 1. Contact info@learningconsultantsgroup.com for more details.

The Gap Year

I have advocated that our college counseling students consider a gap year for almost as long as our college counseling services have been in existence. “Consider” does not mean committing.  It simply means evaluating as possible alternative. It always made sense to me to take a gap year for students who (1) needed some maturity […]

Motivate Your Son

That was the title of my first book.   The work emanated from a few thousand hours of working with students who were underperforming.  Both genders had their issues.  But boys seemed to dominate the number in my notes on “motivation is the primary issue.”  The literature pointed to a growing phenomenon of male underachievement. […]

Parental Involvement – the key to educational success

Parent involvement (setting standards, guiding/teaching/helping) is the most significant determinant of educational success.   In running The Learning Consultants for nearly twenty years, I declare this statement with certainty.  Yes, I’m sensitive to wealth inequality and certainly those who find The Learning Consultants are in the Connecticut and Westchester County leafy suburbs.  Nonetheless my observation […]

SAT Mastery Seminar Starting This Weekend

Schedule: https://www.tutoringandtestmastery.com/test-prep-classes/ Test Prep Classes – The Learning Consultants Master test prep teacher Daryl Capuano will present the test prep best practice techniques, motivational lectures and interactive problem sets that made The Learning Consultants the best test prep company in Connecticut. www.tutoringandtestmastery.com   Use the link above and scroll down to Pay For Seminars Any questions? […]

College Admissions: Yes, the SATs (ACTs) will still matter… a lot

It has always been the case that college admissions officials downplayed the use of SATs (and ACTs).  Some reasons were entirely legitimate: many colleges publish their SAT ranges – 25-75% – which means that 24% score lower than that range   And some are not: college admissions officials are also recruiters for the college.  The […]

SAT Mastery Seminar – starting the weekend of Jan. 23-24

Schedule: https://www.tutoringandtestmastery.com/test-prep-classes/ Test Prep Classes – The Learning Consultants Master test prep teacher Daryl Capuano will present the test prep best practice techniques, motivational lectures and interactive problem sets that made The Learning Consultants the best test prep company in Connecticut. www.tutoringandtestmastery.com   Use the link above and scroll down to Pay For Seminars Any questions? […]

2021 Test Prep:SAT Virtual Mastery Seminar starting soon

Below is the link to the full set of options, followed by detail related to the first option. https://www.tutoringandtestmastery.com/test-prep-classes/ Test Prep Classes – The Learning Consultants The Learning Consultants is an elite tutoring and test prep service that offers the very best SAT and ACT prep classes in Connecticut. www.tutoringandtestmastery.com Winter SAT Mastery Seminars Option […]

2021: What parents need to know

If you are a parent of a child in K-8, education gaps are real Make sure your children are sufficiently educated during Covid schooling. If you are a parent of students in early high school, the same education gaps must be addressed and now those grades will matter for cumulative GPA despite Covid. If you […]

When I hear students say “I’m not a good test-taker”, I cringe. Unrelated to the SATs-ACTs, high stakes tests – such as finals – become a bigger part of one’s academic career as students move into the latter stages of high school.  In college, mid-terms and finals – high stakes tests – become an even […]

Rampant Cheating In Online School: Another reason why the “tests” will be a major admissions factor

“Yes, we know.”  So said an admissions official from an elite college on a podcast related to admissions during Covid. The question was: ” are you aware of grade inflation, particularly when cheating has become so rampant in online school?” The official followed up by noting that “in the past, standardized tests have been one […]

Suburban Connecticut, Westchester, and NJ students have fewer “stories”

College admissions officials, at least those from competitive colleges, are having great difficulty choosing whom to admit among the vast number of qualified candidates.   While getting top grades is always critical for college admissions, school officials have told me that they have a difficult time deciphering whether a student with a A- average from […]

The Dangers of Grade Inflation in Connecticut High Schools

“How could this student have had As in math prior to 11th grade?” A tutor on The Learning Consultants’ team noted as he worked with a student who had not mastered the fundamentals of basic algebra and now was getting crushed in Algebra II. The mystery was easily solved. The student was “a good kid.” […]

College and Health Insurance: Too costly but worth it for most everyone

Years ago, I developed a subsidiary to The Learning Consultants: Career Counseling Connecticut I did so because I saw so many young adults floundering at the start of their careers.  This work naturally put me in the conversation with journalists. They  would ask a seemingly reasonable question: “is college worth the cost?”  Covid has only […]

Covid’s Impact on Student Motivation

Years ago, when I started The Learning Consultants, I was hired by parents who would lead conversations with the immediate problem: “Jared has a C in math.”  As we started talking, the parents would then note that the problem was larger than math: “I think he needs to develop study skills.”  From there, we would […]

2021: Education During Covid

Beyond those who lost loved ones and those who have been economically devastated, who has been most affected by Covid? Those in school. While The Learning Consultants works with all age groups, my specific educational work is usually with older teens.  I meet them in my SAT classes, or for test prep tutoring or college […]

Parents: Our SAT Class will motivate your children for the college process

Ryan’s mother had called when signing up for SAT class. She had the exasperated voice that I know so well: caring parents who had tried for many years to inspire their child to work harder. Ryan was a tough case.  He didn’t listen to either his parents or his teachers. He had struggled through the […]

Grade Inflation In The Time of Covid :Why Test Scores Matter Even More Than You Think

Prior to Covid, the level of grade inflation had become out of control.  While different statistics abound, one study showed 41% of high school seniors with A- (90 or above) GPAs.  That translates to a 3.66-3.75 and above. One college admissions official flat out said to me, “everyone has grades in the 90s and, due […]

Test Prep Reduces Anxiety

In a pandemic, already skyrocketing anxiety rates have risen to epidemic proportions. I saw one of my high school classmates who lives in New Jersey two years ago around this time.   We were discussing college and SATs in general. He noted that his daughter was really stressed. I suggested that they start SAT test prep as […]

The Admissions and Financial Benefits of Test Prep

Yes, Covid has made admissions more confusing, particularly due to “test-optional”.  But if the results of Early Decision and Early Action applicants are indicative of “test-optional”, it would be beyond foolish for students in the affluent suburbs of Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey to approach the process as it were optional.   It seems […]

Education in the time of Covid

A recent study from McKinsey – which some of you know as having the best and brightest consultants – concluded what most anyone who is far from the best and brightest already know: our children’s education is being decimated during Covid. 20 years ago, I started teaching college classes online.  Online teaching was revolutionary at […]

Virtual SAT class starting in January

Register Option 1: $295 The SAT Mastery Seminar –  The Best Practices  Master test prep teacher Daryl Capuano will present the test prep best practice techniques, motivational lectures and interactive problem sets that made The Learning Consultants the best test prep company in Connecticut.  We have designed the virtual program to maximize both learning for […]

Number one strategy for writing college essays–start early!

One of the biggest mistakes high school seniors in the college application process is waiting too long to begin their essays. Many students come to us having procrastinated until the nth hour.  Despite parental cajoling and advice, they “wait” until the looming deadlines rear their ugly heads! This is clearly not the best approach! It’s […]

It’s “Student-Athlete”, Not “Athlete-Student”

Don’t get me wrong, I love sports. But the increasing focus for high schoolers on them is starting to precede the importance of academics in college admissions. I understand that as a parent you love to see your child succeed in the sport they compete in.  However, I see more and more parents every year […]

Thinking about long-term success? Hone your communication skills.

More important than “brainpower” to academic and career success?  Being able to communicate what’s in your brain. This was Warren Buffett’s message to a young entrepreneur in 2018. The best investment students can make in themselves, says Buffett in a video posted to LinkedIn, is learning how to speak and write effectively (posted by Michael […]

College Counseling: Start now Juniors

As we work feverishly with our seniors who are applying to college, one theme continually emerges: we should have started earlier. We can still help seniors finalize their college selection, particularly with early action/early decision choices and college essays.  But many did not spend enough time during junior year sorting out what mattered to them. […]

We help your children in time of need

Increasingly, parents have written kind notes to The Learning Consultants regarding our teachers and counselors.  Historically, given our niche, we have the great role of being the “help button” for parents and children.  So, we have often received thoughtful praise from families throughout Connecticut and Westchester County, NY regarding our tutoring, test prep, and college […]

Learning in the time of Covid: The Education Gaps Will Last A Lifetime

McKinsey is widely known to produce thoughtful research pieces that have no ideological agenda.  The renowned consulting firm’s research illustrates what seems obvious: education gaps between children will widen considerably during this time.  But more stunningly, the article opines that the gaps will last a lifetime.  Here’s what I know from running The Learning Consultants […]

Essay writing on the SAT may be optional, but good writing skills aren’t! 

Essay writing on the SAT may be optional, but good writing skills aren’t!  All students with college or career aspirations should develop their writing skills. Beyond the obvious advantages, knowing how to write well also helps us think better. This is why Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos insists that employees write out their ideas in narrative […]

Connecticut Covid Summer: Help Your Children Build Themselves

There will be an education gap. But this gap will not be exclusively due to Covid creating three months of terrible schooling for most.  Instead, there will be a distinct gap between those children who developed themselves during Covid and those that did not.  And, of course, while parents cannot take all the credit or […]

Boys’ reading skills help predict college attendance

Reading skills predict college attendance Reading skills matter when it comes to getting into college.  This isn’t new information, but a study just published its sobering findings.  As Michael T. Nietzel’s headline in Forbes sums these up, “Teenage Boys’ Lower Reading Skills Helps[sic] Predict Why Fewer Males Attend College” (June 11, 2020). Reading scores for […]

Covid-19 illustrates the value of a college degree

I attended public school with a strange mix of students.  Some were from real affluence and some were one step above poverty. When I exaggerate, I note that some kids in our school got Porsches for their 17th birthdays and some kids were taught to steal Porsches for their 17th birthdays! That would be the […]

College Essay Writing Bootcamp

Summer is the perfect time for college-bound seniors to begin working on their application essays. For many, though, getting started is a major hurdle. Parents so often try to help, but even the best parental nudging can create added tension, as we hear regularly from our CT and NY families. The Learning Consultants has the […]

Strong writing skills give job seekers added currency

A few years ago, Kaleigh Moore wrote a story for Inc., in which she headlines a study that found the majority of employers–73%–favoring job candidates with strong writing skills (https://www.inc.com/kaleigh-moore/study-73-of-employers-want-candidates-with-this-skill.html). Fast forward to May 2020.  And the impact of COVID-19 on the economy has surely upped the ante for workplace communication skills.  With companies shifting […]

Address “COVID slide” with Summer Tutoring

Academic Ramifications of COVID-19 School Closures Just what are we going to do about “covid slide?” After about 8 weeks of “remote learning” in CT and elsewhere, many educators have begun asking this question. Despite the tremendous efforts of everyone involved, our kids just aren’t learning as much remotely as we’d hoped after CT schools […]

College planning during the Coronavirus: Anti-fragility During a Black Swan Event

It’s too bad that there are so few alive from the Greatest Generation.  Those folks endured The Great Depression and World War II. They embodied Nassim Taleb’s notion of anti-fragility.   Some things are fragile, breaking when hit with a force.  Some things are robust, staying intact when hit with the same force.  And, some things […]

The Gap Year During College: At least have a plan

While I am a perpetual optimist, experience has taught me to adapt my optimism to forces beyond my control.  I will no longer drive during a snow storm.  I will take precautions if forecasters suggest that hurricanes may hit and I will take seriously notions like the pandemic will stop colleges from opening in the […]

The Coronavirus education gap

Yesterday, I was in a conference call with two higher ed administrators in Connecticut.  Both are expert researchers in education.  They are friendly with one another but have distinctly different philosophical outlooks on education; one is highly practical and the other is more idealistic.  Yet, they absolutely concurred on one point: there will be a […]

The Challenge of Distance Learning: How We Can Help

I have been teaching college courses online for nearly 20 years.  My students are highly motivated adult learners who are finishing their degrees, usually because it will help lead to distinct career advancement. Still, they do not learn anywhere nearly as much as those that take in-person classes.  My classes – much like most current […]

Parents of seniors: You are facing a very important decision

The Coronavirus College-Gap Year Decision Uncertainty has dampened the excitement of heading to college for most high school seniors.  The Learning Consultants has developed a process for leading our clients through the difficult decisions they will face. Specifically, we have a framework for guiding our clients to crafting compelling gap year possibilities and/or sorting out […]

The foolishness of test-optional for most of our Connecticut and New York clients

‘Even with generous financial backing, if the rest of your application presentation isn’t compelling, going test-free puts you at a disadvantage. Non-submitters have lower acceptance rates than those who submit test scores. Colleges favor those who supply more data. The more you convince colleges of your ability to thrive, the better your chances are.’ CollegeVine Do you know […]

The Distance Learning Education Gap

There are many victims of the Coronavirus.  Unquestionably, the health and economic consequences pose the most significant challenges.  But education is next.  There will be a huge educational gap between students who used this time effectively and those that don’t. In the geographic areas that we serve in Connecticut and Westchester Counties, we, for the […]

“Crisis Schooling” Isn’t Home Schooling

CT parents, like those across the country, have suddenly found themselves “home schooling.”  Many are trying to juggle work, parenting, and education all from the confines of home. But, this isn’t “home schooling.”  It’s “CRISIS schooling,” as one principal from Arizona puts it.  And this is far more stressful, even “trauma-inducing.” So how can parents […]

Human interaction with a teacher is needed

“I feel like I’m not learning anything because all I’m being asked to do is go onto Google Classroom, look at the assignments and finish them by a certain due date. So it’s like I’m teaching myself rather than being taught.”  From a Washington Post article on the challenges of distance learning. Even our most […]

Distance Learning in Connecticut High Schools: Purposeless leads to depression and anxiety

“I wake up around 10.  I post something in discussion boards to check-in and get points.  I do my assignments and I’m done around 11:30-12.  Sometimes I do a bit more but I do nothing on the weekends.” So said “Ryan”, one of my students from Lyme-Old Lyme. “What do you do the rest of […]

How will students learn during the Coronavirus?

They won’t.  That’s the sad truth for many. Sure, they will do what’s necessary to get passing grades. But so far, distance learning is proving to be an educational disaster. The Washington Post, Forbes, The New York Times among others have provided initial commentary about the problems. Articles in each concluded that there will be a great […]

Coronavirus School: Helping Parents Is The Service We Can Provide

Our leadership team has suffered over the appearance of advertising during the Coronavirus. But then the educational news began to point out what we already knew: many students are being short-changed and many parents – worried enough about self-preservation – are starting to worry about their children’s future. How are children losing out? Through the […]

Online Writing Tutoring–Smart Use of Time during Lockdown

Schools in CT may be closed indefinitely, but teaching and learning continues, thanks to teacher dedication and innovative technology. It didn’t take long, though, to realize the challenges with remote learning, like time management. Writing instruction presents another main challenge for teachers–essentially ensuring that writing assignments lead to genuine learning and don’t devolve into busy […]

Educating Your Children During The Lockdown: The Only Way To Prevent Distraction

Have you ever taken an online course? Harvard and M.I.T., among other university giants, released Massive Open Online Courses, known as MOOCs, for free to great fanfare a few years ago.  Theoretical educators were deliriously excited by the possibilities. They trumpeted the now level playing field. Anyone could self-educate themselves for free in a similar […]

The advantage you can provide your children

Outliers, the great book by Malcolm Gladwell highlighted a study that demonstrated (1) the value of supplemental education (education outside the school setting) and (2) the inequality of education. In simple sum, parents from affluent backgrounds – like many in the Connecticut and New York suburbs – were able to supplement the education of their […]

The Educational Disaster Facing Your Children

This Washington Post article explains what our children are facing. Among the quotes: “Years of research shows that online schooling is ineffective — and that students suffer significant learning losses when they have a long break from school. Now they’re getting both, in a hastily arranged mess.” …, “the “summer slide” has been studied for […]

Help for mother-teachers during the Coronavirus!

“I’m losing my mind.”  That may be the most common refrain that parents – mostly mothers – have led with when calling The Learning Consultants during the Coronavirus lockdown. We can help. In addition to our normal tutoring, which has seamlessly moved online, we are offering an additional service: Student Mastery Organizational-Planning-Accountability Check-ins Our Student […]

Readers of Motivate Your Son Comment On Distance Learning

I wrote Motivate Your Son eight years ago.  I was initially surprised that readers from across the country would find the book and contact me.  I no longer am since I realize that unmotivated students – particularly boys – is not simply a Connecticut (or New York) problem but a nationwide one, and according to readers […]

Distance Learning: early reviews, problems, and how we can help

What are the early reviews regarding distance learning? Online learning is effective for what we call “check the box” learning. Most students move through assignments as quickly as possible to ensure completed work –  the checked box – and then move on to video games, SnapChat, NetFlix, and every other online distraction. Their education is […]

Distance “learning”… not so much

The early returns on distance learning in Connecticut schools range from “it’s a joke”, to “it took me a half-hour”, to “this was super easy but I didn’t learn much.” Let me be clear that Connecticut educators are heroically battling a Black Swan event. This is not their fault. They are doing the best they […]

Help for distance learning students during the coronavirus

Shoreline CT schools are going to a distance-learning format next week. I have been teaching online college classes for 20 years. So while I am a “fan” compared to most, I also know the following: Distance learning is an entirely suitable replacement for what I call “check the box” education. Busy work – those homework […]

College Essay Writing Summer Workshops

Begin Early When it comes to writing college essays, starting early is key. The best college essays–the ones that really stand out–take time to write. Unfortunately, many high school seniors realize this too late. They procrastinate and end up with a rushed essay that doesn’t reflect their best efforts or selves. The typical CT student […]

Life goes on for students

We all need time to process the surreal impact of the Coronavirus.   After we grapple with reconfiguring our daily lives, we will then be faced with the notion that “life goes on.”  Parents will need to earn money and children will need to learn. We suffer over even the appearance of profiting from a crisis, […]

Continuing learning during coronavirus closures.

Over the next two weeks–and possibly longer–CT students will have a lot of time on their hands. They’ll need and want purposeful activities to fill the hours previously jammed with homework, sports, after-school activities, and socializing. But, these weeks out of school don’t have to be an educational wasteland. Learning can continue even though schools […]

Daytime and virtual Tutoring/Learning

School closings will have several effects. The big positive: limiting the spread of coronavirus. The big negatives: children will not be leaning material that they will be expected to know – at some point – and that will create a foundational challenge. Boredom, lack of purposefulness, increased social media/video games/texting drama are additional negatives. I’ll […]

Coronavirus, Online Learning, and Shoreline, CT Schools

I have been teaching online courses since 2001 through Connecticut’s college distance learning program. Online learning is effective for what I’ll call “check the box” learning. There is no difference between writing papers and doing homework assignments online or in person. Basic mastery is possible for most subjects. But even as an early proponent of […]

Weak Punctuation Skills Diminish Overall SAT/ACT Performance.

Punctuation matters more than you might think on the SAT. Especially now with the combined writing and language score, students who aim for top schools and need near-perfect SAT scores should invest some time brushing up on their knowledge of essential punctuation rules, including comma usage, the difference between colons and semi-colons, and the purpose of dashes.

Writing tutoring provides short-term, long-term value

These days, if you’re a good writer, you’ve almost certainly future-proofed your career, according to Forbes writer Greta Solomon.  The ability to write well “is one of the best ways to remain consistently employable,” says Solomon. Especially in a global economy (“How Mastering Writing Skills Can Future-Proof Your Career,” Forbes, Aug. 9, 2018).   Here, […]

SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar Starting This Weekend

In very broad strokes, there are families that – in a healthy way – take the college transition process seriously and there are those that bury their heads in the sand. With the former, they realize (1) their child is about to undergo a major life transition (2) they and their child are about to […]

SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar

STARTS THIS WEEKEND!!! We believe our class has been so popular due to the results and our teaching.  Our classes have proven clearly superior to in-school programs but our super flexibility also has helped our busy students and parents. We have 4 classes.  Students can attend any of the classes on any given weekend. No notice needed.  We will also […]

Test Prep: Why it matters enormously

Some transition points in life are HUGE. High school to college is one of those. As I tell students in our SAT-ACT Mastery seminar, the transition between 4th and 5th grade was something but nothing compared to (1) moving away from home (2) meeting an entirely new set of people (3) working in an entirely […]

Teach A Student to Plan. . .

For many students, learning how to plan is the secret to getting better grades.  Their grades aren’t where they should be, not because they lack specific skills in math or English, but because they struggle with planning and organization.    The result — these students are “smarter” than their grades suggest; it’s a matter of […]

Every Connecticut Parent Should Review This Chart

When meeting with parents for college counseling, the subject of paying for college invariably comes up. “What about financial aid?” is one of the first questions. I have some good news, some bad news, and I hope some good news. The good news is that you likely earn more money than most Americans. Those who […]

Test Prep Time

If you fight reality, you’ll lose every time. So said a modern sage. Parents of Connecticut high school juniors usually understand reality but most teens do not. Here’s what I mean: The “big life transition” is happening. Like it or not, high school is ending. Oddly, despite the pervasive thought of “I can’t wait to […]

Grammar Matters on the SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Score

Don’t let rusty grammar get in the way of a competitive SAT score! Now that the SAT combines reading with writing in the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Score (EBRW), grammar matters more than it used to. Students who aren’t strong writers may be at a disadvantage when taking the SAT. At the very least, brushing […]

The Learning Consultants SAT Class: Emotional well being, motivation, and money

Over the years, we have received an enormous amount of positive feedback regarding our class. The dominant reason: our results. Our students have gone up so much in their SAT (and ACT) scores that Kaplan, Princeton Review and other national franchises have shut down classes in this part of Connecticut because The Learning Consultants has […]

Your children who take our SAT CLASS will be healthier!

“One reason for isolation is shrinking social contact with people we don’t know. Not so long ago, strangers talked to each other a great deal in public — in buses, at the airport, in line at the bank. Why? Because there was not much else to do. The emergence of smartphone technology, promising to connect […]

The LSAT: How Important?

Since many of my old students from college test prep days are now of the age to apply to graduate school, I have been working with many students on the LSAT (as well as the GRE/GMAT). But my experience with the LSAT is fairly unique. Having practiced law for nearly a decade and having attended […]

College: Life Crossroads. That’s why it matters so much

It has become fashionable among affluent Connecticut parents attempting to lower stress to spew nonsensical statements like “it doesn’t matter where you go to college.” This crazy talk emanates from one piece of truth: the character of the child will likely make the college experience good/bad regardless of where one goes. But… (1) You will […]

Parents of high school juniors: The One Thing That Can Change

A few years ago, I read The One Thing. Its premise: we should focus on our energy on the one thing that can change our lives.  Scattered attention on half a dozen things often leads to mediocrity.  I thought of this in relation to many of our college counseling clients throughout Shoreline, Connecticut. When we meet […]

SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar

Connecticut’s best test prep class will be starting soon. Please ask all your friends of older children as well as guidance counselors: “who provides the best test prep in our area.” Sign up here.

Paying for college: Here’s how

ACT: 33+SAT: 1450+ 3.50+ Half to Full Tuition$32,000–$64,000($8,000–$16,000 Annually3) Half to Full Tuition$80,000–$144,000($20,000–$36,000 Annually3) ACT: 30-32SAT: 1360-1440 3.50+ $20,000–$48,000($5,000–$12,000 Annually3) $56,000–$80,000($14,000–$20,000 Annually3) ACT: 28-29SAT: 1300-1350 3.50+ $8,000–$32,000($2,000–$8,000 Annually3) $36,000–$60,000($9,000–$15,000 Annually3) ACT: 26-27SAT: 1230-1290 3.50+ $4,000–$12,000($1,000–$3,000 Annually3) $28,000–$40,000($7,000–$10,000 Annually3) The table above comes from Miami of Ohio’s website. I applaud this university for releasing what has […]

Parenting Boys? A Call To Action

I wrote Motivate Your Son in 2012. It was based on the Student Mastery program that The Learning Consultants created in the early 2000s. That program is designed to train students to succeed in school. I had initially called the program “How to Get Better Grades” but I was delighted that parents responded more to […]

Kick-off to college for Connecticut Juniors

Most Connecticut high schools are back to school today. I imagine the post-New Year’s blues will not make today a happy one! But as I tell students when we start our SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar, now is the time to accelerate, not coast, when it comes to the college process. “If you have been wondering when […]

High School Juniors: SAT Prep Time

Talk to college coaches. If you want the most direct advice about college admissions, they will cut to the chase. Most college marketers discuss “holistic” admissions. Their claims is easily disputed by matching test scores to college rankings. Yes, there are candidates who have lower scores than the averages at schools but most all have […]

Test your SAT/ACT grammar IQ — Take this short quiz.

Do you know how to use a semi-colon? How to fix a dangling modifier? Take this quiz to find out if you need a grammar refresher. Answers provided below. 4. Which of the following sentences is correct? a. Their Great Dane was large, didn’t behave well, and smelled badly. b. Their Great Dane was large, […]

PSAT Results: The College Process Just Got Real

As the PSATs have returned, Connecticut high school juniors will suddenly note that “it’s getting real.”  Parents feel the same way. Some common themes when the PSATs come back: Many parents fully understand the significance of both the SAT and the college process.  They will figure out how best to prepare and start as soon […]

PSAT Results Are Back

As juniors throughout Shoreline, CT realize, the college process just got real. Sign up now for our SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar.

PSAT results are back

A combination of anxiety, worry, and, in some cases, panic sets in for parents and students of high school juniors. The best thing to do: take action Ask your friends with older children, at least those “in the know” – and your guidance counselors, if they will speak to you off the record, about The […]

Reducing the angst of college application essay writing

“Never use a long word when a short one will do.” Good advice from George Orwell (“Politics and the English Language,” 1946) that students might want to keep in mind when writing college application essays.  Orwell wasn’t suggesting that writers use simple vocabulary to “dumb down” their prose.  He was arguing against what he saw […]

Motivating Boys –

This is an article written by Daniel Friedman, from Raising Arizona Kids magazine. I’ve read articles and listened to radio broadcasts about how boys are doing less well in school than girls, graduate from college less than girls and overall seem to be falling behind academically. Daryl Capuano, author of Motivate Your Son (Student Mastery Publishing, 2012), has read the same articles and […]

Career Planning: Start now

Amazon I speak with Connecticut parents every day about college.  I have done so for 2o years.  In the last several years, discussions have almost always included the financial investment required.  While we all want our children to have a great life experience in their college years, most every parent is worried about the career […]

The need for Connecticut students to have a high academic index

Broadly speaking, college admission is  based on: (1) objective factors: the academic index (2) subjective factors: “hooks” (such as athletics/diversity/connections) and activities/defined interest/essay/application Unless one of those hooks is exceptionally strong, the objective factors dominate the initial screening of candidates.  If students do not reach a certain number within the school’s academic index, then the […]

You Want to Work for Jeff Bezos? Take a writing class!

Six-pages, full sentences, “narrative” format.  These could be the requirements of a middle school writing assignment.  But, they’re actually Jeff Bezos’s guidelines for “pitching” plans at Amazon. According to Franklin Foer in “What Jeff Bezos Wants” (The Atlantic, November 2019), Bezos insists that his employees explain their ideas in lengthy narratives, because he knows that […]

Reduce the stress of the college app process–enlist the help of a writing tutor!

Many parents find the college application process incredibly stressful–“nervewracking,” as one parent put it. Her son, a senior at Lyme-Old Lyme HS, had been laboring over his college essays for several weeks but had resisted her help. Although she had tried giving tactful feedback, this seemed to shut him down further and add tension to […]

Take the December SAT!

“I was told by our guidance office to wait until the in-school test administered in late Spring.” a parent from a Shoreline, CT high school. I love most of the guidance counselors that I have met in 20 years of providing educational counseling to my Connecticut neighbors.  But the above is general advice that works […]

Learn Vocabulary—Build Brain Power!

As a writing teacher, I talk about vocabulary a lot. After all, words are essential tools for writers. Even more important, words make thinking possible. They give shape to our thoughts, enabling us to identify and clarify what’s in our minds. So, the more words we know, the more “thinking” we can do, and the […]

3 Things to Remember when Writing College App Essays

1) Give yourself plenty of time! Don’t wait until a week before the deadline to begin writing. Crafting a coherent, readable essay takes time and thought. Remember that writing–any kind of writing–is essentially thinking on paper. Your college app essay is no different. The essays you submit to your colleges will reflect the quality of […]

Improve Career Prospects by Improving Writing Skills

Good writing isn’t just important for authors, English teachers, or technical writers. It tops the list of skills most prized by employers today. According to a 2018 survey by the NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers), employers placed written communication ahead of all other attributes they value in recent college graduates (“In the Salary […]

Keep Audience in Mind when Writing College Application Essays

Why do students so often struggle with their college application essays? While some find writing in general daunting, others get stuck mainly because they’ve forgotten to think about their audience. All writers, no matter their purpose in writing, need to consider their audience. Who will be reading their writing? Knowing this from the start and […]

College – and yes “good colleges” – are the best option for most

“Almost every study concludes that getting a college degree is worth it. What is known as the college wage premium—the difference in lifetime earnings between someone with only a high-school diploma and someone with a college degree—is now, by one calculation, a hundred and sixty-eight per cent. For people with an advanced degree, the wage […]

SAT Writing Prep Offers Big Return on Investment

Start explaining comma splices and dangling modifiers to a high school student and watch the eyes begin to roll! It’s not surprising that the typical eleventh grader balks at the idea of SAT grammar review. However, even a little prep can go a long way and offer a big return on investment! On the revised […]

Test-optional: Not so fast…

“Wesleyan was a leader among selective institutions in making standardized testing optional for applicants in 2014. The change allows students more control in how they present themselves to the admission committee and is intended to improve access for underserved communities, students of color, and first-generation scholars who may not have access to standardized test preparation […]

Grade Inflation: The reason why test scores have unofficially become the most important admissions criteria

“A 95 GPA is too low for the colleges you are applying to… ” The mom of a student at a top public school in Shoreline, CT relayed her conversation from an off the record conversation she had with a friend who is a college admissions official at a well-regarded college in Connecticut that claims […]

Yes, where you go to college matters enormously for conventional success

Every part of our The Learning Consultants’ philosophy embraces happiness. I want our clients to be happy.   And, I know that conventional success is part of the happiness picture for many of our clients. In a well-meaning effort to alleviate the stress of both students and parents, there seems to be nonsensical advice passed along […]

The stakes are too high: why avoiding conflict over college makes no sense

“It’s her life.” So said a well-meaning set of parents from Madison, CT.   Their daughter snapped at them several times over the previous year when college or the SATs were brought up.   The parents decided not to broach the subject again.  The end result: the parents and the daughter were sitting in my office in […]

PSAT Time

Parents of Connecticut juniors:  The PSAT is next month. Yes, I know, school has just started and you are already worried about how much work junior year entails. I can tell you with certainty that not preparing for the PSAT is far worse than spending the time preparing. Join our class that starts this weekend.

Seniors: Last chance SAT (or ACT)

I have a split view on the stress related to college admissions.   I realize the abundance of articles on the “too much stress” but I also witness the opposite: plenty of families – perhaps with good intentions – placed too little energy on the college process during junior year.  The reasons are multitude: (1) didn’t […]

PSAT Time Juniors

My natural interest in psychology has been sharpened by a couple of decades becoming expert in performance psychology.   As a test prep trainer, I grew to realize that SAT results were the result of a combination of conceptual and psychological mastery. One of the more surprising elements was the imprint that the PSAT has on […]

Test Prep Time

Sign up now The Learning Consultants PSAT-SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar  Overview:  This course is designed for juniors preparing for the PSAT and both juniors and seniors preparing for the SAT and ACT.  We urge you to ask your trusted sources about the course.  It is generally considered the best test prep training in our geographic area. […]

Connecticut Juniors and Seniors: PSAT and SAT time is around the corner

Yes,  I know school just started and having to think about PSATs and SATs is the last thing students (and parents) want to think about.  But I can tell you with certainty that not preparing is far worse! For juniors, the PSAT begins the kick-off to college. For seniors, the October SAT is the last […]

Good news for Connecticut SAT takers: There will be no adversity index score

A few short months ago, the College Board revealed that it had piloted an “adversity score” for SAT test takers.  The score was separate from the verbal and math scores given to test takers. While I always view our role as helping our clients deal with “what is”, rather than take stances to fight against […]

PSAT for Juniors and last chance SATs for Seniors

  The Learning Consultants PSAT-SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar Overview:  This course is designed for juniors preparing for the PSAT and both juniors and seniors preparing for the SAT and ACT.  We urge you to ask your trusted sources about the course.  It is generally considered the best test prep training in our geographic area.   PSAT-SAT: […]

Connecticut High School Seniors: Last chance SAT approaching

For most Connecticut high school seniors, the following are some challenging but true facts: Test scores are the only major item that can be changed for college admissions, at least in any significant way. I certainly know many of our students hope that doing well 1st quarter will shift their college admissions chances.  And, I […]

Connecticut High School Juniors: PSAT time

Our fall test prep class is starting soon. I highlight the relevant part of our class description.  PSAT-SAT: Other companies create confusion for business purposes by creating PSAT courses and then suggesting that students also need to take an SAT course.  The PSAT and the SAT are essentially identical tests.  There are format differences (the […]

Fall PSAT-SAT/ACT class

Sign up now The Learning Consultants PSAT-SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar Overview:  This course is designed for juniors preparing for the PSAT and both juniors and seniors preparing for the SAT and ACT.  We urge you to ask your trusted sources about the course.  It is generally considered the best test prep training in our geographic area. […]

Shoreline CT Parents: Make the most of your child’s summer

As July 4th weekend ends, many parents realize that the delight of having their children home for the summer is mitigated by the challenges of having them home for the summer! As a transplant to the Connecticut shoreline, I have some observations that might help my fellow parents. The affluent, idyllic, beach-based life of those […]

Paying for college

At the beach, at parties, at any gathering of adults who have college-bound children in the latter stages of high school, the topic of paying for college is discussed.  This was not always the case.  When I started providing test prep and college counseling advice in the 2000s,  the biggest focus among Shoreline, CT parents […]

When to begin test prep

I try not to give generic advice.  Every child is different.  But “when to begin test prep” is one of the most common questions I receive.  Here’s the analysis for most: The Gap The issue of when to prep (and how much to prep) revolves around the “gap” between the student’s goals and the student’s present […]

Test scores pay for college

I know with certainty both from my years as an educational advisor and now as a Dad that strong SAT (and ACT) scores will help pay for college.  My worries about appearing self-interested have always haunted me in building a company that was sparked by idealism.  But now the evidence is clear: doing well on […]

The New World: Connecticut parents please read

I love Connecticut.  I say this as a transplant.  I hear complaints about our state.  But the quality of nice, kindness of people, and the great value our residents place on family and education has made this a great place to raise children. My worries relate to our children.  Most Connecticut families are affluent by […]

Connecticut state schools require strong SATs

“UConn will be her back-up” so said a well-educated mom from Guilford, CT.  The mom attended Miss Porter’s 30 years ago.  Going to the University of Connecticut or other Connecticut state schools was “unthinkable” in her words.  The mom was not as snobby as she sounded.  We were in a private conversation.  She was speaking […]

Connecticut Parents: plan for summer

The summer provides an unusual gift: free time.  .Doing nothing but having fun for the last few weeks of June straight through July 8th (post July 4th weekend makes plenty of sense.  Many Connecticut students ended the school year in mid-June.  Most That’s 20-25 days of pure vacation. Should be sufficient! Moreover, July and August […]

Connecticut seniors: SATs are the one big area of change

I have had upcoming seniors improve their SATs by 200 points.  This single factor changed their college admissions possibilities and often generated offers of thousands of dollars in merit aid. I note this because some seniors tell me that they hope their senior year grades will shift their college prospects.  Some bad news on that […]

Wealthy and not-diverse Connecticut Students Need To Do Really Well on the SATs

Aleutians from Alaska (more commonly referred to as Eskimos) do not need to do as well on the SATs as do white students from Connecticut.   Coming from an impoverished area will also be advantageous compared to a wealthy one also gives an admissions advantage. That was a fact prior to the SAT’s recent addition of […]

The SAT Is Mandatory For Connecticut Public School Students

Many parents do not realize that all Connecticut students attending public high schools will take the SAT as part of their graduation requirements. In the Shoreline area, Branford, Guilford, Madison, Old Saybrook, Valley Regional, Old Lyme, East Lyme, Waterford among other schools, will be administering the SAT in either late March or early April 2020. […]

Train your “bad test-taking child” this summer.

Parents, in an effort to bolster their student-child after a poor standardized test performance, are usually the first persons to say: “don’t feel bad, you are just not good at tests.” Many often add – a well meaning but completely unrealistic comment – “don’t worry, it doesn’t matter that much.” The latter part is not […]

Build academic skills this summer

I love sports.  I think sports provide training in how to develop skills, build character, and work with teammates.  Nonetheless, time is a zero sum commodity.  What you spend on sports cannot be spent on academics. Or family. “I don’t understand.” he said.  “Do these parents think their children will be professional athletes?” He was […]

Don’t believe the silliness about the demise of college: It matters ENORMOUSLY now for career security

The mission of our company has always been focused on helping people reach their potential.  In the last few years, my “rescue” work has increased for twentysomethings.   Many are stuck in the failure to launch syndrome. My hope is that our “prevention” work – helping students build skills and do well in high school will […]

Change Your Child’s Life: Test prep this summer

I have three friendly acquaintances from college who all relayed to me how their SAT scores ended up changing their lives dramatically. Larry was from Iowa.   His graduating class was 42 high schools.  About half went to Iowa state schools and the other half went to work after high school.   Larry had ambitions, even as […]

Career planning as you approach the college decision

Excerpt from The Parents’ Guide to Career Planning for Your Twentysomething.” “That’s up to him.” So said a very well-meaning set of baby-boomer parents simultaneously. We were discussing their seventeen-year-old son Kevin and what he might want to study in college. Kevin looked and sounded completely bewildered.  While he was encouraged to do whatever he […]

Help Build Your Teen’s Life

“He wakes up late.  He plays X-Box.” “She texts endlessly or watches YouTube videos” So goes e-mails from clients as they lament their children’s typical summer day. Right now, many of your children need a healthy break. But most would do well to continue their development this summer.  

Sports crazed parents should be investing in education

Latest headline on my twitter feed: “Youth baseball brawl among parents goes viral as police search for suspects Police in Lakewood, Colorado, are still investigating those involved in a fight that broke out at a youth baseball game. Footage of the incident has gone national and, according to reports, the altercation broke out after disagreements […]

Take the August SAT!

Although I realize saying SAT and good news in the same sentence seems strange, the August SAT date is a great option for many students.  Junior year is really busy.  So upcoming juniors now have the option of preparing for the test in the summer and then taking the August test.  Seniors – who need […]

Summer Time: Fun will take care of itself. Be productive also

Summers in Connecticut – particularly near the Shoreline – are idyllic.  During a typical summer week, most teens work a few hours in part time jobs, have a dozen or so hours of high quality fun, and then immerse themselves in “fun” that amounts to immersion on their phones/computers. Spending some time in productive activities will […]

Address the challenge that is causing anxiety

“I don’t want to create stress.  We’ll deal with college stuff later.” As a father of three, I don’t want to create stress for my children either.  I do think that some kids are stressed about important things.  And, I fully understand the desire to delay dealing with anything anxiety provoking. Nonetheless, I know the following from […]

Summer: Make the most of your children’s time

“Summer vacation has not been at the center of any debates about the American school system. But, Gladwell argues, it really should be. High performing and low performing schools record the same or very similar levels of improvement over the course of a school year. In other words, a student from a top school and […]

How to pay for college: Get top SAT scores

Miami University Merit Aid and SAT awards When I started educational consulting in 2000, conversations about college centered around admission.  Cost was mentioned but it was a distant second.  Today, cost seems to be of greater concern to most parents than admission. Our SAT class has always helped students gain admission. But now it is […]

Follow the Money: How Top SAT scores pay for College

SAT Scores and Merit aid I used to be far more self-conscious about suggesting test prep.  Highly mindful about appearing self-serving and, perhaps due to a Catholic upbringing, guilty about appearing to seek financial reward.  I still have my hang-ups about appearing self-serving but I  am no longer as bashful about money because there is […]

Connecticut Parents: Be happy that there is an SAT

Premise 1: Connecticut suburban schools are stronger than most schools in most states. Premise 2: The SAT (and ACT) is a national test. Premise 3: Those in the top 10% of schools such a Guilford High School, Daniel Hand High, Lyme-Old Lyme High School, East Lyme High School, Old Saybrook High School, Valley Regional High […]

The good news about test scores: Score choice, super scoring, and choice of tests

The current college admissions testing reality is far more student friendly than in the past. Choice of Test:  All colleges will take the SAT or the ACT.  In my estimation, the differences in scoring well on one and not the other have always been overstated but psychology the ability to choose makes a big difference. […]

Grade Inflation Means Test Scores Are Even More Important

A local Connecticut high school revealed eligibility for National Honor Society: anyone with a 90 average and above could apply.  That seems sensible.  90 is the beginning of A range.  A- and A students should be eligible for the NHS.  Back in the 1980s-1990s, A students were top students, perhaps the top 10-15% of the […]

Want your child more interested in college? Join our SAT class.

“Whenever I want to talk about college or the future, my son either blows me off or tells me don’t worry about it.” A mother said last year in relation to her high school junior at Guilford High School. After he attended our SAT seminar, he was eager to talk with his parents about college.  […]

Congratulations on finishing 10th and 11th grade – Time For The College Process!

During our SAT-ACT classes in Old Saybrook and Madison, I lead with motivational lectures related to college. For many high school juniors, this is the start of the emotional realization that they will be moving away from home soon. I emphasize “emotional” because shifting people from inaction to action requires appeals at the heart level. […]

The Reality of College Admissions and The Reality of the SAT

Generation Z – if that’s what this generation is called – has been coddled more than any other or so we are told.  True or not true (and I think it is more true than not!), I do have an enormous amount of anecdotal evidence regarding well-meaning parents who are distorting reality for their children. […]

7 Reasons For SAT Prep This Summer

If you are a Connecticut public school student, taking the SAT will be part of graduation requirements.  As such it is inevitable that you will take the SAT.  You may as well do the best you can based on the additional reasons listed below  Whatever nonsense you may have heard about the SAT not being […]

Finishing sophomore year? Take our SAT-ACT class this summer

We are often asked: when is the best time to prep for the SAT? The real answer must be customized.  Students have different aspirations.  Nonetheless, for those who want the generic “optimal” answer, the summer before junior year is best. When you should start learning something that is highly important to your future?  Now.  The […]

SAT Scores Correlate With Money For College

As a father of 3, I certainly have thought a good deal about financial issues.  I realized at some point that financial knowledge equals more money.  I also realized that whatever stress I had about money was alleviated when I learned how best to spend, manage, and save money.  I also learned that I could […]

The SAT’s Adversity Index and Its Impact on Suburban Connecticut and Westchester County, NY

Not good. That’s the simple answer. Let me explain more fully and let me also be clear that I am not commenting on the adversity index’s policy from the perspective of policy but rather as an educational consultant to parents from the affluent suburbs of Connecticut and Westchester County, NY. The College Board has announced […]

“Good colleges” prevent failure to launch

“It used to be that if you graduated from a decent college with decent grades, you were nearly guaranteed a decent job.” This is a standard line I give when speaking on the changing work world.  I can’t recall any of my high school or college friends who faced prolonged unemployment after college graduation.  Even […]

Creating the college counseling structure

There are all sorts of problems with our educational process and its relation to college transition.  One problem that is rarely cited is how most everyone has been programmed that change happens to them rather than by them.  Consider how change occurs in school.  4th grade over.  Time for 5th grade and all the massive […]

The June SATs and ACTs

If you are a Connecticut high school junior, your last chances to improve your test scores before the summer are in June. The SAT is offered on June 1.  The ACT is offered on June 8. A few words about each: Public school students in Connecticut took the mandated high school administered SAT in either […]

April SAT Results for Connecticut Students: What next?

April SAT results are in and The Learning Consultants has its phone/e-mail immersed with pleas from parents. False hope for many was created by: (1) Khan Academy: the idea is great and it is free.  Now try watching one of the videos and see how long your attention lasts.  Then consider how long the attention […]

Connecticut April SAT Results

Since Thursday, my in box and phone has been blowing up with messages from parents related to their children’s SAT results. The happiest calls are from those who took our SAT-ACT Mastery Seminars or had individual SAT Prep with The Learning Consultants’ tutors prior to April.  Most students exceeded expectations and are both delighted and […]

Yes, college is a big deal.

“Is this really a big deal?” I answer this somewhat rhetorical question in our SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar when addressing the significance of the college process.  Yes. I explain and then relay that I was one of those semi-rebellious teens who did not automatically follow my parent’s directives. I needed to know “why”. “College” is a […]

The SAT is still the fairest part of the college admissions process

The fairest part of the process I usually keep quiet on the subject of standardized testing and whether it should be part of the admissions process.  Obviously, I have a self-serving bias. But my bias also stems from rational analysis. The SAT was created in order to make the college admissions process fairer.    Prior […]

College Results Are In: What matters and what doesn’t

Connecticut students should have all their college admissions results in. In working with our college counseling, SAT-ACT prep, and tutoring students, The Learning Consultants likely has more data on what matters most to colleges than any other organization through our area. The obvious: Grades and test scores.  Regarding the latter, it is very clear that […]

The College Investment and the Surprising Lack of Attention Given by Many Families

“Bringing up college just leads to a fight.” So said a well-meaning mom from Essex, CT.  She relayed the all too common battles with her teen son when she would ask about anything related to the future. When I recently gave a presentation in our office in Madison, CT, I encountered similar remarks from parents.  Students […]

Spring fever and the need to close out the academic year strongly

In running a tutoring and test prep company through the years, I certainly am well aware of how high school students feel when spring arrives.  They have been working hard – or think they have – and are now ready for fun!  That’s great and I certainly do not discourage a healthy dose of high […]

College: What are you paying for?

Journalists do not work with teens and young adults.  As such, their articles about the value of college come from a theoretical perspective and almost always are off the mark.  On the subject of the amount of money that parents pay for college, there is no doubt that college costs have become out of control.  […]

The name of the college is an asset to be leveraged

Given our college counseling work, I have deep anecdotal research on (1) where students from Southeast CT apply to college and (2) what parents say about college behind closed doors versus what they say in public. Watch what people do more than what they say.  You can tell what they really care about.  Many strong […]

Yes, the SAT is the fairest part of College Admissions

The SAT is the fairest part of the college admissions process.  For years, I have kept relatively quiet whenever I hear people complain about the SAT’s fairness.  Yes.. I know that any defense that a tutoring company makes is self-serving.  The position, however, is also entirely accurate. Do those complaining about the fairness understand why the […]

College admissions: The numbers matter and then there is some luck

After “Ivy Decision Day” the bulk of college admissions decisions from most colleges have been made.  I get many e-mails regarding the results from both our college counseling and SAT clients. The unsurprising news, at least to the knowledge, the numbers matter…. enormously.  Those with a lower than median Academic Index – each school has […]

The College Admissions Scandal and Elite Colleges

“Because people care.  So you should too.”  Dr. Spady, one of my graduate school deans said to a younger, more idealistic, and more naive me.  I was in an Ivy league law school and discussing getting a second Ivy league degree with Dr. Spady who ran the Fels School of Government.  He was convincing me […]

The College Admissions Scandal: What It Says About Self-Esteem

There are many unfortunate truths about the scandal: (1) Inequality for the wealthy (2) Some people cheat (3) Getting jobs/gaining admission is not always a meritocracy But… is there anyone over 30, who looks at the above as truths that are no more revealing than saying that the Earth has water? The surprise, in fact, […]

What the college admissions scandal reveals for your child

“I am shocked to find out gambling is going on.”  Perhaps only fans of Casablanca will get the reference.  But much like the audience laughter stemming from Renault’s pretend surprise that corruption occurred, my reaction to the college admissions scandal was anything but a surprise. That we have inequality, that we have corruption, that we have […]

What is a good SAT score? Some real answers.

“What is a good SAT score?” I have been asked this question thousands of times. “Where do you want to go to college?” That would be my most common response. “The SATs are relevant in a practical sense for one single reason: college admission. A good score helps you gain admission to the colleges that […]

If you want to be motivated, minimize or don’t smoke pot

Despite being a former criminal prosecutor and one of those rare birds who never tried pot, I am not an anti-legalization marijuana crusader. I’m genuinely ambivalent on the issue.  Philosophically, I have a hard time separating criminalization of pot from booze but I also don’t have a solution to stop the over use of marijuana […]

Don’t fight reality. Tests matter enormously.

A philosopher once noted that “he often fought reality and only lost 100% of the time.” So it is with many myths we tell our children.  Usually, the suggestions – “you can grow up to do anything you want” are well meaning and inspiration and if told to those under 10 do little harm.   But […]

Spring…. SAT time and college kick-off for Connecticut Juniors

Spring is approaching.  After another long Connecticut winter, many of my students are eager for spring.  But junior year is unforgiving for those serious about the college process. For parents of Connecticut juniors who have been urging their children to “start looking at colleges” and begin SAT (or ACT) prep, the time is NOW.  I […]

Connecticut Juniors: NOW is the most important time of your academic career

I sometimes laugh – more often with late academically blooming boys – about their “saving it up” for when it mattered. That’s the best spin we can put on the first part of their high school careers.   But I then tell them that they must work as hard as possible during junior year. If you are […]

Training our SAT students to have a growth mindset

Our SAT prep, both in class and in our seminars, differs in many ways from those run by franchises such as Kaplan and Princeton Review.  One of the bigger ways relates to the psychological shifting that occurs through my mini-lectures. Explaining the Growth versus the Fixed Mindset in the context of test prep has been one […]

Applying to UCONN? Maximize your SAT scores

“I’m sure he’ll get into UCONN.  He’s a lot smarter than me and I got in.” So said a well-meaning and modest Dad from Guilford about his son from Guilford High School.  His son did quite well in school.  His SATs – 1160 – were also solid.  I had to explain the new world of […]

Yes, the name of the college does have career implications

My next book is on the college to career transition.  The thesis posits that many parents are the main career guides for their children (like it or not) and thus they need to be well versed in how the New World of Work operates. Moreover, they need to understand the college to career connection in […]

High SAT scores required to beat the effects of grade inflation

“He has a 96 average, nothing special.   It’s not like he’s over 100.”  That is word for word quote from a parent at one of our local Shoreline, CT schools.  It wasn’t too long ago that a 96 average would put someone squarely in the top 10% of a class and possibly on higher end […]

In-school SAT classes and Khan Academy: the quick fix rarely works.

“I had her do the SAT problem of the day and she took the in-school class taught by her teachers.” a parent said about her daughter, a junior at Daniel Hand High School in Madison. “I’m really surprised that she did so poorly.” Let me clear: doing the SAT problem of the day is better […]

Our SAT Spring Intensive Will Be the Kick-off to College for Many Students

Talking about college with teen children is as much fun as talking about going to the dentist with young children.  “College” is the least favorite topic for many teens.  Parents, similarly, don’t enjoy discussing but know they must. And that’s true.  College is a turning point in life.  I tell parents: “Imagine if you knew […]

High SATs = $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Some private colleges cost nearly $300,000 “all in”.   Even in our affluent Shoreline CT communities, that is a significant sum of money. Since we have offices in Old Saybrook and Madison, I have conversations with parents from each town socially as well as professionally. I have to remind them that financial aid is not likely […]

Research Shows The Importance of the SAT.

The Importance of the SAT The Truth About the SAT and ACT Myths abound about standardized tests, but the research is clear: They provide an invaluable measure of how students are likely to perform in college and beyond The above headline from the Wall St. Journal article tells sophisticated readers what they already know: people […]

We train “bad test-takers.” They soon become “good test-takers.”

Unrelated to the SATs-ACTs, high stakes tests – such as finals – become a bigger part of one’s academic career as students move into the latter stages of high school.  In college, mid-terms and finals – high stakes tests – become an even more significant part of successs. So when I hear students say “I’m […]

Failure to launch: That’s the reason to get your children off to a “good” college

I had a wonderful lunch with a student who graduated from Madison Connecticut’s Daniel Hand High School about ten years ago.   He had been an intern with The Learning Consultants and, as such, we have stayed in touch through the years.  I met my young friend through our SAT class and, as such, I know […]

Grade Inflation make the SAT matter more than ever

I have off the record conversations with several college admissions officials during the last few years.  The common consensus: “we can’t tell the difference in GPAs in any meaningful way.” Here’s a recent example, a local Shoreline, CT high school revealed eligibility for National Honor Society: anyone with a 90 average and above could apply.  […]

Careful when listening to college tour guides: test scores matter enormously

If you haven’t discovered already, colleges have outstanding marketing departments. In order to demonstrate selectiveness – an important factor for college rankings – colleges need to attract many applicants.  So, for example, has 1000 applicants for 500 spots, the college marketing department is tasked with increasing the number of applicants to 2000.  One way to do […]

Redefining the SAT as a huge benefit to Connecticut children

I am careful not to insult other specific states – particularly because I am from New Jersey! – but I often tell students that once they drive through the country they will realize how well educated they are compared to their national peers.  As such, they should embrace the SAT as a great way to […]

Decrease test-taking anxiety through SAT Preparation

During our SAT classes over the past few years, some large part of our success has come from lowering the anxiety of our students.  In addition to providing techniques to helping master the test (thereby lowering anxiety due to mastery) and providing techniques to lower test-taking anxiety (directly addressing the issue), the process of exposure […]

Connecticut Juniors: Now is the time

We are in March. For those high school students who were “saving their energy” for when it would matter, there is no other time to kick it into high gear.  This is it. There are barely any tomorrows that will matter for college admission after Junior year ends.  Do senior grades matter?  A little.   Certainly […]

For most, take the SATs again and again and again..

Through my work, I have become a performance coach for all tests, not just the SAT and ACT but also for large tests in school and any test of consequence.  The one commonality across all performance: test takers do better after taking the test the first time.  Think about any performance and that’s the case […]

Resilience: We – collectively – have to make our kids tougher

I suffered over my wife’s suggestion that my college son get a part time job a few hours a week.  My protest: “he’s really busy and working hard to keep his grades up.” Over 20 years of providing educational services to parents of Connecticut high school students, I have gathered enough evidence to concur with most […]

If you are a “normal” kid from Connecticut, your SAT scores matter enormously

An article from Forbes illustrates the point.  The following is an excerpt from an article in Forbes on the importance of the SAT: Despite all of this negative noise, standardized tests like the SAT still matter a lot to highly selective colleges. Two biggest reasons:  1) It is an effective way to screen out students when […]

SAT Spring Intensive

    Highly engaging…and surprisingly fun! The SAT Mastery Intensive Taught by Master Test Prep Teacher Daryl Capuano Shoreline’s Best Test Prep Class Starting Soon!   Designed for Connecticut’s In-School SAT The total cost is $395 (Or pro-rated $120 per class) Class Areas Covered Old Saybrook Saturdays, 9-12 Madison Sundays, 10-1 1 Reading, Motivation, Self-study […]

College: Costly but worth the investment

The college value question is often addressed by people who do not work with high school students. Strangely, they tend to address the metaphorically similar question “is college worth it at all? Most of the writers are in the work force – more often than not in the high tech space – and seem to […]

College Counseling: We help parents provide reality to their children

I am often the first person who discusses money in the context of salaries, career paths, and college majors with 17 year old college counseling clients in Shoreline, CT.  Or maybe I’m the first person that many of these students listen to but, regardless, it is always surprising to me when a student-client expresses that […]

Great SAT Scores Lower College Cost

Since we have offices in Old Saybrook and Madison, Connecticut, I have conversations with parents from each town socially as well as professionally. I have to remind them that financial aid is not likely for those from the Connecticut shoreline.  Relatively speaking, we are in or at least far closer to the 1% than we […]

UCONN: High SAT scores

Over the last few years, UCONN’s attractiveness has radically increased.  That’s good news for alum and fans of the school.  But it is not great news for those applying, The standards are increasing and SAT scores are vital for admission. Off the record, I have heard 1260 is needed for most students.  There are different […]

Connecticut Students: When to take the SATs (and ACTs and SAT IIs)

Public schools in Connecticut will be offering an SAT to all students on either March 27 or April 9. The test will be paid for by the state of Connecticut.  This is a great opportunity to have a trial run at the new SAT. Most students should also sign up for the May or June […]

Executive Functioning and Technology – by Jean Card

I work with many students who have been identified with Executive Function deficits.  Executive Functions are the brain operations that keep us organized, on task, able to shift between demands and manage our emotions.  I have noticed a trend over the last several years that students are exhibiting these deficits, but the cause is technology […]

SAT or ACT? Probably both.

Of all the misinformation and partial truths that I hear passed around the soccer mom parent set about standardized tests, the myth that some students will do extraordinarily well on the ACT but terribly on the SAT is likely the biggest.  At least in Connecticut, there is no one who has more experience or expertise […]

SAT Prep: How our class provides the kick-off to college

Talking to kids about college is almost as fun as talking about going to the dentist. For that reason,  I better understand why so many parents avoid the conversation.  Choosing battles is a natural tendency. But such conversations are a must. Going to college is the most common child to adult transition for suburban America. […]

Connecticut suburban students: The numbers matter more than your story

Overcoming legitimate structural hardship  – as in poverty, parental drug use, and growing up amidst violent crime – make for eye catching stories. Overcoming a lacrosse injury, getting cut from the school play, and dealing with an ADD diagnosis – standard Connecticut high school resilience stories – while unquestionably challenging to the students involved  -are […]

SAT Spring

Look at the calendar. We are entering March.   For high school juniors, there are only a few months left to change your college admissions profile. Parents of high school juniors may be shell shocked to learn that early action and early decision applications will be due Nov. 1. All Connecticut students attending public high schools will […]

Connecticut In-School SAT coming in March and April

Every public school student in Connecticut must take the SAT as part of Connecticut high school requirements.  While most students in our affluent Shoreline and Southeastern, CT high schools should be able to score high enough to pass high school, students should still prepare rigorously.  The in-school SAT is a free chance to score high […]

The Career Process: Yes, start the conversation during high school

We (parents) were conditioned during a different economy.  Even parents in a highly educated state like Connecticut cannot easily overcome their past programming and, thus, start the career conversation far later than they should. Through Career Counseling Connecticut. we work with college students who transfer because their college of choice does not have their major, […]

College: where your child goes matters enormously

“Does it really matter where you go to college?”  While I realize the question relates to whether one will be conventionally successful and I politely respond as such when asked.  Here’s what I’m really thinking:  Your child’s whole external world is changing.  Colleges vary radically.  To approach college for your child with such a cavalier […]

Connecticut Parents: Do not bury your head in the sand regarding college

One of our Old Saybrook friends stopped the conversation that a few parents were having about college.  That suited me since I am immersed in college counseling and would prefer a different topic during a party.  But her response concerned me: “I don’t want to think about it.”  Her daughter is a junior. I sympathize […]

The SAT and ACT: Take as many times as possible

Connecticut high school juniors should take the March 9th SAT administered by the College Board.  I realize that many students are waiting – or were told to wait – until the April in-school SAT given by all public schools in Connecticut.  But that makes no sense. The SAT has score choice and super scoring, two […]

The college-career phase: more important than in our generation

My friend who lives in Fairfield County asked me for SAT help for his freshman daughter.  I noted that most students in Shoreline,  Connecticut start junior year.  “Not around here”, he said.  We laughed at the differences between where live, even though, relatively speaking it is a very small space on the map. The college conversation […]

Connecticut High School Juniors: Character Building

“The Learning Consultants has become a public health service for Connecticut students and their parents,” so said a well known public health doctor from Yale as she extolled our college counseling, tutoring, and test prep services in an e-mail to her friends. I really loved reading the line about public health.  It made me laugh […]

SAT Test Timing

Connecticut public high schools will administer the SAT to all its students in either late March or early April. But I urge our clients to take the March 9th SAT.  Here’s the reasoning: 1.) Score choice Most every college allows students to choose which test result to submit.  This is different than back in the […]

SAT Time: Let’s Make It A Positive!!!

  Here’s some challenging news: even though many high schools have done away with class rank, colleges still find being in the 10% and top 25% extremely important.  This creates some irony: due to Connecticut’s great high schools, it is harder to be ranked high in the class for a kid from Connecticut than a […]

David Goggins: How test prep changed his life

If you have not heard of David Goggins, he is worth a Google search and then for entertainment, inspiration, and life lessons worth listening to/reading about/studying.  This is particularly true for high school students who live in our idyllic Connecticut shoreline. David Goggins grew up in a household with a physically and verbally abusive father.  […]

Test Prep: The One Thing That You Can Control That Makes The Most Difference For College Admission

Last year, I read The One Thing, a book that posits that we should focus on our energy on the one thing that can change our lives.  The one thing that students can change dramatically: test scores. Through the years of working with students throughout Connecticut, we know these higher test scores can radically change one’s […]

The SATs lead to a college dream for a local Connecticut student

I received a wonderful Christmas present: one of my SAT students who took our SAT prep program in Old Saybrook last January and then followed up with a few individual test prep students in Madison in the fall was just admitted to one of our elite military academies.  He’s a great guy and I’m glad […]

Forbes Magazine Demonstrates The Importance of the SAT

An article from Forbes illustrates the point.  The following is an excerpt from an article in Forbes on the importance of the SAT: Despite all of this negative noise, standardized tests like the SAT still matter a lot to highly selective colleges. Two biggest reasons:  1) It is an effective way to screen out students when […]

Training students to excel on the SAT: The methodology of Deep Practice

“Deep practice”.  I show students the best practices to master math, grammar, reading and so forth. Simultaneously, I immersed myself in the literature on performance across all disciplines. What I called deep practice was labeled deliberate practice or purposeful practice by others who had the same goal: figuring out how to help students improve. One […]

The SAT helps Connecticut students. Connecticut parents should celebrate the SAT!

What madness am I suggesting? Most Connecticut schools are stronger than most schools in most states. Those in the top 10% of schools such a Guilford High School, Daniel Hand High, Lyme-Old Lyme High School, East Lyme High School, Old Saybrook High School, Valley Regional High School (Essex-Deep River) and other public schools in Southeastern, […]

Teaching gratitude through SAT training

The problem with all online training is the lack of human connection.  I teach online classes and was awarded a best teacher designation at the college where I teach.  I still know that even on my worst days as an in-person teacher I am making more of an impact than when I teach online. The […]

SAT Success

Every year, a new batch of students comes to our offices in Old Saybrook and Madison.  Most are not confident that they will get better.  They are with us because their parents “signed them up for an SAT course”. Few are certain that they will get better.  Every year – or really every season – […]

Connecticut Students: The SAT is your best weapon

The SAT as the weapon that will help your child gain admission.  Why?  Because students at our local high schools do wonderfully well on a comparative basis on national standardized tests. Connecticut is a smart state.  It routinely comes in the top 5 for education in national surveys.  But for towns along Shoreline-Southeastern, CT as […]

SAT Prep, not travel sports teams, lead to money for college

I have seen enormous merit aid scholarship success for Connecticut students with top SAT and ACT test scores, particularly in the last 5 years.  Colleges – particularly private ones – are desperate to maintain their student populations. They also need to look “not desperate”! To do so, they need to attract a student body that […]

The Motivational Difference: Why our test prep classes are superior

I was in Pasta Vita in Old Saybrook and felt someone tap me on the shoulder.  It was the father of two SAT students from past SAT classes.  “My children still talk about you and the class.”  I knew he was not referring to my teachings of the intricacies of SAT test-taking strategies. “Caitlin was […]

How to beat test-taking anxiety

During our SAT-ACT Mastery Seminars held in Madison and Old Saybrook – as well as in school at Old Saybrook High School, Valley Regional High School in Deep River, and Lyme-Old Lyme High School, Southeastern Connecticut Chinese School, and The Williams School in New London, we present a section on the psychology of performance.  We […]

Standardized Tests Help Connecticut Students in the age of Grade Inflation

47% of high school seniors graduated with an A average.   That’s worth reading again and maybe a third time. This mind-blowing statistic has numerous implications.  But the most important one is the delusion that many parents have in relation to college admission.  “Tom has a 3.8 GPA…”  “Jessica has a 97 average…” “Lydia has nearly […]

A word to my fellow Connecticut parents: other Connecticut parents are not education experts

“One of my friends told me…” Much like investment advice from random people makes no sense to follow without due diligence, advice from Connecticut parent circles should follow the same guidelines. Parents dealing with their first child’s experience navigating the high school to college transition often defer to parents who have done so previously. In […]

Our SAT-ACT Mastery Program Builds The Superpower of Focus

Cal Newport, noted author on performance among other areas, wrote Deep Work a few years ago and it has quickly become a must read for anyone in the field of helping others perform at peak levels. The ability to focus will be a superpower for this next generation.  Our smart technology has made this generation not […]

The best job for your family: SAT Prep

College costs are out of control and For most Connecticut suburban students, college is not only the best but only realistic option after high school. Let’s start with the first premise: 4 year private colleges can cost close to $300,000. Most are over $200,000. Even for the affluent that live on the Connecticut shoreline, that’s […]

Get your soon to be adults off the screen: Learn with people!

People motivate other people.  We have an online SAT class that is right for some of our students, but there is no doubt that our in-person class is superior to anything online.  Our children are already too engaged in screens.  With something as important as SAT-college admissions, I urge you to take the class I […]

Parents: Take charge of SAT-ACT Prep

SAT TIME!!!   I imagine those exclamation points are interpreted as signs of horror rather than excitement.  And since many parents do not like creating stress for their children, many do not bring up the SATs.  Indeed, some parents have noted they will wait until their kids tell them they want to prep before signing up for […]

College Choice Matters More Than Ever

“It is different now.”  Ron a father of a junior from Guilford High School, noted when his wife suggested that maybe they were making to big a deal about the college process.  Ron is an executive in a multinational company and is also involved in a New Haven not-for-profit organization that helps those in challenging […]

Connecticut Students: The Need To Maximize Test Scores

Most Connecticut suburban students from towns such as Guilford, Madison, Old Lyme, East Lyme, Essex etc. need to score more highly on the SATs than Native Americans from Wyoming, your college drop out cousin’s kid  (if his children would be first-generation), and recruited athletes. Why? As I work with dozens of students on their college […]

Connecticut Juniors: Our SAT class is the best way to dive into the college process

Our mission is to help young adults reach their potential.  This has always meant “human potential” but the practical goal for most students is gaining admission to college of their choice. Again, I take pains to assure students that the goal of our company is to ensure that students can choose where they want to attend […]

Our test prep class could change your child’s life. Really!

As The Learning Consultants has grown, our reputation through the state has expanded from Shoreline-Southeastern, CT to other areas, particularly Fairfield County.  There, of course, resides some of the most successful people, not just in our state, but the world.  Several are clients.  One was kind enough to recommend The Learning Consultants to a high powered […]

Thinking about the future. The added benefit of our SAT prep class

“My son thinks Saturday night is the future. He’s not a bad student but he just does what’s needed and then he’s off with his friends or playing video games. Whenever I want to talk about college, he grunts.  I told him that getting into UCONN would be great but he needs higher scores than […]

Mandatory SATs for Connecticut high school students

SAT season for Connecticut High School Juniors. All Connecticut students attending public high schools will take the SAT as part of their graduation requirements. In the Shoreline area, Branford, Guilford, Madison, Old Saybrook, Valley Regional, Old Lyme, East Lyme, Waterford among other schools, will be administering the SAT in either late March or early April. […]

UConn and SATS

“What do you mean he might not get into UCONN?” a stunned mother from Waterford, CT said last year during a college counseling session.  “David has a 3.8 GPA and great activities.” David’s SATs were below 1200. Off the record, I have heard 1260 is needed for most students.  There are exceptions, of course, including […]

Do you want control of your next world? The time for test prep is NOW.

Old school doctors were blunt. Years back, my friend’s very overweight dad went to the doctor.  The doctor asked him rhetorically: “do you want to live to see your grandchildren?”  And, then proceeded to tell him that he wouldn’t if he didn’t start losing weight now.  Aggressive advice.  Yes.  But it worked.  He lost a […]

SAT Class: Community beats Isolation for both results and well being

We are facing an epidemic of anxiety and depression in teens.  Given my work, I’ve researched and considered the issue extensively.  I’m certain that isolation – largely brought on by overreliance on technology – is the main culprit.  Boys playing video games and girls endlessly SnapChatting are the equivalent of eating eating buckets of candy: enticing […]

Our test prep class makes “bad test takers” become trained test takers

Since I have been working with high school students for the last 15 years, I have kept in touch with a reasonable number who have had to take tests for graduate school and/or their professional certifications. My favorite calls come from students who tell me that they   “hated standardized tests” until they came to our […]

You can’t wish it otherwise… test scores matter enormously for college admission

“Generally, nothing carries more weight in admissions than grades (plus strength of the high school curriculum) and ACT/SAT scores.”  Reading the recent NY Times article “What Colleges Want College admissions craziness is about to be sprung upon Connecticut high school juniors.  If you are a parent, you will start touring colleges and you will hear […]

Sticker College Cost v. Actual College Cost: How the SAT pays for college

Some of our college counseling work is depressing as we see our fellow Connecticut parent-neighbors suffer over how they are going to pay for college. Over the last few years, I’ve become delighted knowing that we have the key to help our clients pay for college. Not too long ago, my dread of looking self-serving […]

SAT-ACT Training: When to start? NOW!

All Connecticut public school students have to take the SAT as part of graduation requirements.  The SAT will be important for many students to (1) gain admission to colleges of their choice (2) pay for their college and (3) their self-esteem. I  am often asked when to begin.  Connecticut Juniors should absolutely positively start now. […]

Combating Anxiety for Connecticut’s College Bound Students

Among our college counseling clientele,  I have observed an uptick in anxiety. There is significant evidence pointing to overuse/misuse of technology (texting/SnapChat/Instagram) as the main reason for the increase in anxious teenagers. There is significant evidence pointing to the restructuring unpredictable economy as the main reason in the increase of anxious adults.  The Great Recession […]

The need for non-diverse Connecticut suburban students to do well on the SAT (ACT)

Aleutians from Alaska (more commonly referred to as Eskimos) do not need to do as well on the SATs as do white students from Connecticut.   That’s simply a fact.  To be clear, I grew up in the New York area.  I’m first generation on one side of my family and most of my high school […]

Winter SAT-ACT Classes in Old Saybrook and Madison, Connecticut

I am often asked for college counseling advice by friends and family from states well beyond Connecticut. When students are freshmen, I tell the parents to maximize grades and activities.  When students are sophomores, maximize grades and develop depth in an activity. The best advice for most high school juniors applying to competitive colleges: maximize […]

Essay help for your final college applications?

As Connecticut high school seniors receive their Early Decision and Early Action results, many have been deferred (or rejected) and are scrambling to finish applications from other schools. The Learning Consultants can help.  While the essays are ultimately the creation of the student, our experience working with thousands of students applying to college can make […]

Early Decision and Early Action results coming in for Connecticut students – See SAT Correlation

For all the noise and perhaps wishful thinking regarding SAT scores not being super important for most every elite college, take a look at Early Action and Early Decision results from your local Connecticut high school.  The Ivy League universities are releasing their decisions now.  Some already have and some will be soon. Since we work […]

The PSATs and Self-Esteem

Yes, I know, it shouldn’t be so but it is… as Connecticut high school juniors get their PSAT results back, they can’t help but hear about the success of some of their classmates.  “I heard Katie scored 1350” and so forth. Parents and educators are often quick to counter that the student who scored a […]

Connecticut High School students: What do PSAT results mean?

The PSATs are both a very important number and a meaningless one, for all but top scorers. The importance: The PSATs provide a baseline score to give a sense of one’s potential SAT score.  Anything connected to the SAT is connected to college.  Anything connected to a big life change like college is a big […]

Connecticut High School Juniors: PSAT results are back

The PSATs are back. Connecticut high school juniors will suddenly note that “it’s getting real.”  Parents feel the same way. In working with students in the CT shoreline through the last two decades, I’ve noticed some common themes when the PSATs come back: Some parents and students will note the importance and significance of both […]

Connecticut Juniors: Time for the college process

The Connecticut Shoreline is an idyllic community.  Having lived in or outside New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, I have some perspective on the greatness of growing up in the Connecticut suburbs.  Other than the ubiquitously rampant legitimately horrible mean girl bullying that goes on, most of the problems for most of the kids growing […]

The need for test prep in the age of grade inflation

If your child attends one of the stronger schools in the area – Guilford High School, Daniel Hand in Madison, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, East Lyme, among others that come to mind – I regret to report that I meet with an abundance of students from these and other top Connecticut high schools that have […]

Time for the college process, time for test prep!

Talking to one’s children about college is stressful. Whenever I give talks in our Connecticut offices about the subject, heads nod when I say that line. Parents don’t walk to talk about the subject because thoughts of their baby leaving the nest are sad. Children don’t want to talk about college because they know the […]

Battle College Tuition Costs Through The SATs

Parents, at least in our suburban Connecticut college counseling base, are often stuck in a paradox regarding their children and college costs. College costs are out of control and there is rarely any other large investment that can be made to help their children transition from high school to college. Let’s start with the first […]

College Admissions: The Academic Index

Connecticut parents with their first child going through the college process will hear a great deal of misinformation.  Most misconceptions come from other parents with their singular stories of their child’s process, much of which will not have relevance to your child.  Some of the misinformation comes from colleges who – as gently as I […]

High School Grading Systems and Why Standardized Tests Are So Important for College Admission

About five years ago when I was working with a student on her college applications, I remember looking at her GPA:  99.3. “Wow!” was my first reaction. She went to a very good high school in Connecticut so there was no immediate thought that her grades were misleading.  But then I saw her class rank.  […]

Directly from UCONN – Importance of the SAT and ACT

From UCONN:   Get one step closer to joining UConn Nation. A few things you should know: The SAT or the ACT is a required piece of your application to UConn. It’s one of several pieces taken into consideration as part of our holistic application review process. Test results must be submitted directly from the […]

East Lyme High School in Connecticut

We live in an area with many strong public high schools.   East Lyme High School has consistently stood out to me as producing some of the smartest and most well prepared in our region.  Perhaps one of the original reasons was that Pfizer would unofficially recommend East Lyme as the town to live in when […]

What to focus upon in the college process

“This is therapy.” a mother with a Daniel Hand High School junior recently said to me in relation to our kick-off to college counseling session.  “I have been driving myself crazy with all the things that I thought my son had to do and I appreciate that you narrowed the list.” “Eat food. Mostly plants. […]

Can SAT prep change your whole child’s whole life?

In recommending The Learning Consultants services to a private school in Connecticut, a former client who had three of his children go through our SAT Prep classes, told his story to the Board of Trustees. “I was the classic underachiever in high school.  My grades were spotty. I did well in classes I liked and […]

Parents: Yes, get involved with your children’s SAT preparation

We all know the overly involved sports parent and those in theatre know the overly involved theatre parent.  While there certainly are parents who are overbearing in relation to academics, it has been my observation that the number of parents who are heavily involved with sporting teams and some other activities dwarfs the number who are […]

Standardized tests for college are wonderful for Connecticut Students

Schools in Connecticut’s affluent suburbs – Branford, Guilford, Madison, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, Valley Regional, East Lyme, etc. all are extremely strong compared to the rest of the nation. US News & World Report, the arbiter of all rankings(!), released a report on the best states.  Connecticut came in 4th for education.  But for towns along […]

How our test prep classes will get your child future oriented

I’m reading a great book The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life. There are numerous subtleties and nuances that make the following just a blunt force statement but nonetheless: Most high school students are present oriented hedonists (enjoying themselves in the present) but those that are most successful balance that natural […]

College Inequality: The rational decision to spend irrationally

I’m a father of three and I was the sole breadwinner for many years and have always been the primary breadwinner.  So the financial pressures facing my clients are very understandable to me.  One of the questions I am asked with increasing frequency during college counseling meetings relates to the college investment. “Does it make […]

Shoreline, CT SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar Start next week

Old Saybrook, Saturdays, 9:00 am – 12:00 noon Class 1: September 8 Class 2:  September 15 Class 3:  September 22 Class 4:  September 29 Class 5:  October 6Note: for seniors taking the Oct. 6 SAT, the alternate class date is Wednesday Oct. 3, 6 pm in Old Saybrook Madison, Sundays, 10:00 – 1:00 pm Class 1:  […]

The October PSAT: Prep now

School has just started for most Connecticut high school students.  For juniors, this is the most pivotal year of their entire K-12 process. Many will focus on building their GPAs.  Many will focus on deepening their involvement in activities.  Many will start the college selection process and many will start preparing for the SATs. The […]

Test prep class as a means to start the college social process

“Could you please talk?” The silence of a dozen teenagers staring at their phones before class starts and/or during break has become alarming to me. I tell the class: “there is a remarkable interactive application sitting right next to you.”  The kids laugh and sometimes it breaks the ice so that they can start talking […]

PSAT October 10: The psychological impact is highly underrated

For most high school juniors in Connecticut, the PSAT is October 10. Since summer just ended, October may seem far away.  But you might look at your now September calendar and realize that it is right around the corner.   The P in PSAT relates to Practice and, for many parents, this word lowers the necessity […]

What really matters for college admission

You would think that the amount of time that students put into activities that it would matter a great deal for college admission.  Let me hedge by saying that there is a certain necessary amount: a sport, high involvement in a club, some community service.  Doing nothing is a red flag. But beyond a certain […]

Human Energy: That’s what motivates humans

I started teaching college courses online in 2001.  I also consulted to online learning companies during that time period.  So somewhere in obscure magazines related to technology, I was frequently quoted as an expert in what was then a cutting edge area for both technology and education.  One of my quotes was the most frequently […]

High School Juniors: The time to prep for the PSAT is now

Connecticut high school juniors just started school.  If you are a parent of one, you will likely deal with their lethargy from having to go from not studying to studying a great deal, particularly if they are juniors. So, to hear that the PSAT is in early October and that it will be one of […]

SAT Prep: Pay For College

I used to be highly self-conscious about the obviously self-serving advice to prepare vigorously for the SAT.  I would also worry about blow-back from those criticizing the test.  Now, at the risk of not being liked as much as my people pleasing nature would prefer, I realize that my worries are not serving my clients. […]

Connecticut Juniors – Kick off to college

Our SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar will be the kick-off to college for many of our students.  I clarify that the process is not so much about maximizing scores to attend maximum ranked colleges. Our mission is to help young adults reach their potential.  To me, this has always meant “human potential” but so that we don’t […]

Connecticut Suburban Students and the need to maximize test scores

As I work with dozens of students on their college essays, I note that many lament their uninteresting lives.  I emphasize that they are very fortunate they did not grow up in areas where overcoming crime, poverty, and bad schools were part of their struggle.  They were fortunate to be born in Connecticut’s lush suburbs […]

The college decision matters a lot more than in our days

As parents of high school seniors across Connecticut undoubtedly understand, the college process is much different than it was back in our days. I hung out with a mixed pack of students. Most were athletes who did not prioritize academics.  I was one of the only ones who took the college process seriously.  And even […]

The College Essay

“I want to write an essay about the college application process.” So said a generally thoughtful senior from Guilford High School.  “I’m going to write about how stressful the process is…” I politely let her finish and then, as tactfully as possible, let her know that such a topic is both unoriginal (every year, there […]

Seniors: The one thing you can change is your SAT score…

“Do you plan on becoming a concert violinist in the next few weeks?” “Will you raise your cumulative GPA?” “Can you start a charity?” I half-kiddingly ask these questions to during college counseling meetings with seniors who urgently inquire about what they can do to increase their college admissions chances. They usually get the point: […]

SAT Scores-Early Action-Early Decision

Early action-early decision programs can lead to wonderful senior years for those admitted. Each year, as parents and students call with news about their Early Action-Early Decision acceptances, deferrals, and rejections, it has become abundantly clear that the single distinguishing factor among those who were accepted into competitive colleges is SAT (or ACT) test scores. […]

Elite School Syndrome: Incorrectly thinking that you are bad at national standardized tests

“I’m terrible on the SATs.” said Kerry, a junior at Choate. As has become routine, I reviewed Kerry’s scores and explained that she had scored in the top 10% of the country.  Far from terrible.  Or -as she laughed when I said it – we would have to redefine terrible to include the bottom 90%! Kerry’s […]

Should my child take the SAT or the ACT? Most college counselors do not really know

SAT or ACT? While I generally have a great deal of respect for the college and guidance counselors that I know in Connecticut, I get bothered when some provide advice about standardized tests.  Most haven’t even looked at the tests in years and since most are a bit older most do not know much about […]

Yes, SAT Scores Matter… Tremendously

An article from Forbes illustrates the point.  The creation of The Learning Consultants stemmed from a desire to help students reach their potential. That’s the mission.  “Academic potential” is, of course, our practical focus.  But the real mission is to help students reach their human potential. Our work in becoming the best place in Connecticut […]

Follow the scholarship money to see how to pay for college

If you are figuring out how to pay for college, you likely have been bombarded with challenging news.  Here’s some good news: you might have a weapon at your disposal: test scores.   Colleges are in competition with one another.   The biggest competition is not on athletic fields but rather in attracting top students.  Like […]

Let us train your children to like big tests!

“I’m looking forward to studying for the GRE,  Haha!!!”  Gabriella wrote I first worked with Gabriella when she was an SAT student in my Old Saybrook class. She was terrified of big tests. She had created a story that she was terrible at tests based on hearing that she underperformed on the Connecticut mastery tests […]

State schools and SATs

The college investment is an enormous one financially, emotionally, and energetically.  In terms of energy, parents understandably want to choose their spots when it comes to getting their children ready for college.  And, they don’t like the battle required to get their student-children ready for the SATs. Many parents – not wanting to cause a challenge […]

Rampant grade inflation makes test scores even more important

“We aren’t really sure how to evaluate grades anymore.”  So said a college admissions official to me off the record.   I’ve heard this before – always off the record – as college admissions struggle to decipher what a 3.7 GPA is at schools where the top ten percent of the students have over a 4.0 […]

Combat test-taking anxiety with test-taking preparation

  Anxiety has become an epidemic.  The reasons are myriad and my take will go against the prevailing wisdom.  Simply put, it is not because of external factors.  The world has not become harder.  But rather, we have become softer.  Softer does not mean worse. I think our generation of parents is more compassionate than […]

Our SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar Starts The College Process

Is your child about to enter junior year? Hard to believe but college is right around the corner. Talking to kids about college is a combination of stressful and confusing and about the last thing most high school kids want to discuss. While raising SAT (and ACT) scores has been the main reason our class […]

Earn scholarship money through SAT Prep

Small town Connecticut athletes do not get many Division I scholarships.  That proves to be a big problem for parents who have short changed academic training for sports training. The outliers tend to give false hope.  Luke Schoonmaker, an Old Saybrook native who attended Hamden Hall, will go to Michigan on a football scholarship.  Luke – […]

Does your child want to become a nurse? Be ready for the SATs

  As I have written elsewhere, I have no interest in debating the merits of using the SAT or ACT for admission but I do have a significant interest in helping our students gain admission to colleges of their choice. Parents are deluged by an overwhelming amount of information during the college process. Some of […]

SAT type testing for certain careers and jobs.

I am an idealist by nature but a pragmatist in the way that I go about ensuring the ideals of my clients become reality.  For that reason, my response to criticism of the SATs or anything else that doesn’t suit idealists has always been “it is what it is” and then I explain that “if […]

Thinking about college: think also about career

College counseling has become an increasing part of our work at The Learning Consultants.  We have several excellent counselors based along the Shoreline of CT and into Fairfield County.  And a bigger part of my specific work has been career counseling in the context of college counseling. Since my own career change is part of […]

Getting children ready for college – what really matters

Our Shoreline, CT students are – like many teens but perhaps more so due to the small town nature of our communities – quite sheltered.  We live in an idyllic community.  Very safe, secure, and beautiful.  I say this as an outsider – having lived elsewhere for the first 32 years of my life and […]

Navigating the college path

College counseling has become an increasing part of our work.   It used to be easier.  When parents of college bound high school students applied, many would apply to around 6 colleges.  There was some thought that 2 would be safeties, two range, and two reach. UCONN for many in Connecticut was a safety or a […]

In the knowledge economy, college is the employment filter

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-8uhMBl6vI Three key facts (1) We live in a knowledge economy (2) There are millions of job seekers (3) Employers need to make quick decisions about who to interview Given this combination, the main filter for screening potential employees: college

When to start test prep training? NOW

All Connecticut public school students have to take the SAT as part of graduation requirements.  The SAT will be important for many students to (1) gain admission to colleges of their choice (2) pay for their college and (3) their self-esteem. I sometimes present my SAT students the following hypothetical:  have run a marathon in […]

Connecticut students rejoice that you have the SAT

I always ask our students at the start of our SAT class: how well does Connecticut do nationally in relation to education.  And then I ask, “is the SAT a Connecticut test or a national test?” The answers to those two questions should make Connecticut students delighted that we have the SAT. US News & […]

Preparation decreases college admissions anxiety

“Kayla has anxiety issues.” A mother from Guilford, CT said in hushed tones.  “Her anxiety is off the charts when she takes these big tests, like the SATs.” As is the case when parents tell me that their children have been diagnosed with learning disabilities, many don’t realize just how many students are in the […]

What Connecticut Parents Can Learn From the World War II Generation.

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Theresa Anzaldua.  She is a journalist for Seasons magazine and a writer of the highly praised book We Had A Job To Do, a book about World War II veterans. I mentioned that one of my mini-lectures that I give to students in our Old Saybrook […]

Build your child’s brain this summer

I was working with a European educator on a joint project.  He commented that he was astonished by how much time and money American families spend playing sports.  “I don’t understand.” he said.  “Do these parents think their children will be professional athletes?” He was genuinely bewildered. From a historical perspective, this generation will be […]

SAT Prep – The one thing that can dramatically change college admissions

As I tell students entering junior year, you are not going to start playing violin now and while your grades are still really important, you have two years of grades that will be part of your cumulative GPA. What is the one thing that you can do change your college admissions’ chances? A few years […]

Test-taking Anxiety

My friend’s wife – who is a very nice woman – in explaining her daughter’s test-taking anxiety  “We don’t want to stress her out…” she explained.  So we’ll just let her take the SAT without test prep. Connecticut has mandated that all high school students had to take the SAT as part of graduation requirements.  My friend’s […]

When to start training for something important? Now!

All Connecticut public school students have to take the SAT as part of graduation requirements.  The SAT will be important for many students to (1) gain admission to colleges of their choice (2) pay for their college and (3) their self-esteem. I sometimes present the students the following:   You are my student.  I have run […]

SAT Scores and UCONN Nursing

My wife received her Phd from the University of Connecticut’s Nursing School.  During her graduate studies, she was an adjuct professor. For students interested in nursing, UCONN is fantastic because it is not only a great nursing school but it might be the best value for students who hope to work in one of Connecticut’s many […]

SAT or ACT?

Despite what seems to be pervasive anxiety that plagues our youth – and parents – in relation to college admissions, students today have it far easier than in the past. Back in our day, students took the SAT – no more than twice – all scores counted (no score choice), no super-scoring, and no other test.  […]

Anxiety and test taking: our course will forever change your child

“I’m not terrified of the GRE – can you believe it?” Marissa wrote in an e-mail seeking help for graduate school. I first worked with Marissa when she was an SAT student in my Madison class. She was terrified of big tests. She had created a story that she was terrible at tests based on hearing […]

Diversity: why non-diverse candidates need to do well on the SAT-ACT

Dare I say it, Connecticut students from around here are not exactly diverse. As such, they need stronger numbers than Aleutians from Alaska.  I choose Aleutians (more commonly referred to as Eskimos) so that I do not offend.  I also add that I grew up in the New York area.  I’m first generation on one […]

If you live in a “smart state” like Connecticut, you should be delighted with the SAT

Northeastern snobbery alert… You and your children are likely consumed with college admissions in relation to your neighbors. But we are in a nationally competitive environment and, for that reason, you should be very happy that we have a test to use to compare our students with those across the country. What madness am I […]

Connecticut High School Grade Inflation

“Grade inflation is now so out of control that we are forced to rely on standardized tests to make admissions decisions.”  Direct off the record quote from a college admissions official friend. Perhaps it was an overstatement.  Grades still matter a lot. But his point is one that I noticed a few years ago.  In […]

The ideal time for test prep: Summer

I am often asked by parents: “when should my child begin prep for the SAT or ACT?” While all circumstances are different, summer before junior year is usually ideal.  Here’s why: Junior year for most students in our top Connecticut schools is tough.  Really tough. The combination of AP and/or honors classes, bigger responsibilities in […]

Plan for your children’s education this summer

We live in a wonderful summer community.  I did not grow up on the Connecticut shoreline but I’m glad my kids have. As I wind up my meetings with tired teens and parents ending the school year throughout the Connecticut shoreline, I remind parents to plan the summer. Some part of the summer should be for […]

SAT Prep: A Near Six Figure Summer Job!

“THANK YOU!!!’ The volume was actually higher than all caps can convey.  Sean’s dad bellowed as he breathlessly explained that Sean, a senior at Guilford High School, had been awarded a $24,000 per year scholarship at the college of his choice. Sean remembered my conversation with him the year before. “You told me that taking […]

Summer SAT Prep to Start The College Conversation

“It just leads to a fight or a blank stare.”  Renee, a mother with a sophomore son from Guilford High School said when she called to set up a college counseling session.  She called in late spring.  It didn’t make that much sense to meet at that point – from my view – because her […]

The Benefits of Test Prep

I have gone from the idealistic educator who was a bit self-conscious in promoting the benefits of SAT prep to someone who realizes the foolishness of not advocating the benefits. The hesitation in the past stemmed from a combination of worry about being self-serving (still there) and my own liberal arts education purist disposition. My […]

Our SAT class as a kick-off to college

Talking to kids about college is almost as fun as talking about going to the dentist. The college process is a bit mystifying to students.  They do not fully understand how significant leaving home is in terms of their life story.  Going to college is the most common child to adult transition for suburban America. […]

Yes, like it or not, the SAT-ACTs are important

Research on the importance of the SAT  Here is the headline: Myths abound about standardized tests, but the research is clear: They provide an invaluable measure of how students are likely to perform in college and beyond I used to be far more self-conscious about the obvious self-interest in my urging clients to take SAT […]

When to begin SAT Prep

As Connecticut high school years end in the next couple of weeks, parents – particularly those in high school and about to enter college admissions season – call to ask many things but the number one question is usually “when should I begin SAT Prep?” If you have received generic advice on this question or […]

The Best Summer Job: SAT Prep

Merit v. Financial Aid The good news is that if you live in Connecticut you probably make a lot more money than others.  The national median household income is around $51,000.  Connecticut’s household median income is around $70,000.  In towns such as Branford, Guilford, Madison, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, Essex and East Lyme, the median […]

UCONN and SAT scores

  Over the last few years, UCONN’s attractiveness has radically increased.  That’s good news for alum and fans of the school.  But it is not great news for those applying, The standards are increasing and SAT scores are vital for admission. Off the record, I have heard 1260 is needed for most students.  There are […]

Congratulations to Guilford High School

As I have been working with students for over 15 years along the Shoreline, I have great pride when students from our local school systems do well.  I’m particularly happy to see that Guilford High School was recently ranked as one of the top high schools in Connecticut. When I first moved to Connecticut, I […]

The best college graduation gift

Most recent college graduates are stuck in underemployment.   This shouldn’t be the case. Connecticut has among the best education systems in the country.  Most Connecticut parents are from the affluent suburbs and provided every advantage possible for their children. Those who attended UCONN – one of the best public universities in the country – […]

Connecticut High School Rankings

Connecticut High School Rankings The rankings for Connecticut high schools are out.  What’s the relevance for most parents of high school students?  Bragging rights or a sense of irritation that a neighboring town has a higher ranked high school.  Some sense of how your high school’s rigor compares to others and prepares its students for college.  […]

Paying more attention to prom than the biggest move of your life…

I enjoyed high school.  I understand the appeal of big nights planned with friends.  I also understood, even at the time, that prom might be the only night more overrated than New Year’s Eve.  Nonetheless, I do hope the juniors attending prom have a great time. Here’s the alarming news: more energy is being invested […]

Lowering The Anxiety of Parents of College Bound Students

I started The Learning Consultants in 2002.  Relatively speaking, Connecticut was experiencing boom times. Among our college counseling clientele,  I have observed an uptick in anxiety. There are likely several reasons beyond what I think is a general epidemic of anxiety: 1.) The Great Recession: Actual Economic Effect After 2008, Americans, even in prosperous states […]

ACT-SAT Prep Pays off For A Madison Student

A couple years ago, Max, a Daniel Hand High School student from Madison, CT, excitedly called recently.  $60,000!!! That was the four year scholarship he received to attend the private college that he thought he could not afford.  One more SAT success story from our Madison classes. The following was taken from The White Coat […]

New SAT Test Date For Most Connecticut Public Schools

Many Connecticut high school juniors who were set to take the SAT on March 21 received a Noreaster gift: the test has been postponed until April 24. Why is this a gift?  For most, the more time to prepare, the better.  And, if the students are sensible, they will also sign up for the May […]

High Stakes Tests for Connecticut Juniors: SAT, ACT, AP, SAT IIs..

For high school juniors, the Spring does not bring renewal but rather a gauntlet of tests. Most Connecticut juniors will take the SAT for the first time in March.  The SAT is now offered by public high schools in Connecticut. Some students will take the April ACT. Most students will take the May SAT (although […]

SAT Scores Get Scholarships Far More Than Sports

Through our 3 children’s activities, my wife has watched a lot of sports in Old Saybrook and other Shoreline CT towns though the years. She actually was a college athlete so knows a fair amount about talent.  She’s way too nice to ever say something negative about anyone. But sometimes she’ll report as a data point to […]

Spring SAT Prep In Connecticut

Connecticut High School SAT Scores Look at the calendar. We are entering late March.   For high school juniors, there are only a few months left to change your college admissions profile. Parents of high school juniors may be shell shocked to learn that early action and early decision applications will be due Nov. 1. All […]

SAT Prep – Now is the time!

If you have children that are juniors in Connecticut public schools, then they will be taking the SAT as part of Connecticut’s mandatory high school graduation requirement.  Most are taking the test on March 21. That test will be a wonderful “first test” for many.  This means that even if they have engaged in SAT […]

New Research on the Importance of the SAT (and ACT)

Research on the importance of the SAT  Here is the headline: Myths abound about standardized tests, but the research is clear: They provide an invaluable measure of how students are likely to perform in college and beyond The article then debunks the myths regarding the SAT that have been perpetrated by what can only be […]

Everyone has an A average – that’s why the SAT matters so much!

A local Shoreline, CT high school revealed eligibility for National Honor Society: anyone with a 90 average and above could apply.  Half the class was eligible. That’s completely crazy and illustrates rampant grade inflation.  How can colleges determine admission? There are some high schools such as Guilford High School and Daniel Hand High School in […]

SAT Prep To Get Your Child Interested In Collge

“Whenever I want to talk about college or the future, my son either blows me off or tells me don’t worry about it.” A mother said last year in relation to her high school junior at Guilford High School. Eddie came to our spring SAT class with that vacant look of “why am I in […]

Connecticut SAT Schedule

I am asked a great deal about SAT and ACT schedules. All Connecticut public school students have to take the SAT as part of graduation requirements.  Most are giving the test in late March.  This SAT is could be the one that students use for college admission.  But based on last year, it is not […]

Connecticut: Among the best high schools in the nation and that’s why the SAT is our weapon

“I’m not good at standardized testing.” so said Maggie, a student at Guilford High School.  She told me her scores.  She was in the 90% percentile nationwide.  Her perception stemmed from comparing herself to her smart friends in Guilford’s IB program and, as I pointed out, comparing herself to students from not only Guilford but […]

Test prep Spring

  Connecticut public high school students will be taking the SAT in late March.  This is the mandated test and will serve as an excellent warm-up-practice test for may. Most Connecticut high school juniors should also take the SAT again in May and/or June and perhaps should take the ACT in April and/or June. Many […]

UCONN and SAT scores

“What do you mean she might not get into UCONN?” a stunned mother from Waterford, CT said last year during a college counseling session.  “Donna has nearly straight As and is involved in dozens of activities.” Donna’s SATs were below 1200. Off the record, I have heard 1260 is needed for most students.  There are […]

Grade Inflation and how it hurts Connecticut students

Grade inflation is rampant. Read the findings from the study.  What does that mean for your child?  From a pure educational perspective, they are getting a delusional understanding of their abilities and this does not play out well when they get to college.  Their skills in reading, writing, and math are not as strong as their […]

First SATs are in March… less than 2 months away

All Connecticut students attending public high schools will take the SAT as part of their graduation requirements. In the Shoreline area, Guilford, Madison, Old Saybrook, Valley Regional, Old Lyme, East Lyme, among other schools, will be administering the SAT in either late March or early April. These tests will be administered without the essay. But […]

SAT Prep: Yes, now is the time!

Imagine that sometime this year you had to demonstrate excellence or at least competence in tennis and that doing so mattered a great deal for the future.   You would have several opportunities in March-October to be evaluated.  When would you start your preparation? If you are wise, there is only one answer: now or as […]

Test prep: Yes, it will pay off

I have gone from the idealistic educator who was highly self-conscious promoting the benefits of test prep to someone who realizes the foolishness of not advocating the benefits to my Connecticut clientele. The hesitation stemmed from a combination of worry about being self-serving (still there) and my own educational purist disposition. My embrace stemmed, oddly […]

Battle College Tuition Sticker Shock: Do Well On Your SATs

Two conflicting but true thoughts cross the minds of most parents – at least those from suburban Connecticut – as their children prepare for college. College is unquestionably the most significant turning point in their child’s life at this point in time.  It will provide their child a new world.  New friends, new peers, new […]

For competitive colleges, your SAT scores are highly important

“Alyssa has straight As and is highly involved in numerous extracurricular activities.” A proud mom from a local Connecticut school began her college counseling session with me and talked as many parents do about their oldest child with a 1980s understanding of college admission.  “We know the Ivies are hard but we are looking at […]

SAT or ACT? Many Connecticut students should prepare for both

As Connecticut students gear up for the SATs in March and April, many parents from our Connecticut area will call to inquire: “Do you think my child will do better on the SAT or the ACT?” The SAT and the ACT have always been rigorous standardized tests that measure reading comprehension, mathematical ability, and grammar […]

Warning: Bury Your Head in the Sand Parenting Will Create Unemployed Children

Career Counseling Connecticut is a subsidiary of The Learning Consultants.  I created it years ago because I saw the economic changes post-Great Recession as not just a blip in our economy but a restructuring of jobs that would profoundly affect twentysomethings.  The combination of a global work force filled with hard working, highly educated, and […]

Juniors: Yes, the hard work will pay off

Post Early Decision-Early Action, I get many nice notes.  A good portion of these thank you notes are from students who took our SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar during the year or worked with us for college counseling.  They report their delight at gaining admission to their first choice colleges and/or other colleges of interest.  Parents write […]

2018: Message to Connecticut High School Juniors – This is the most important half of your high school career

If you are a high school junior, then you are in the most important half year of your high school academic life. If I had to rank significance for each semester, it would be as follows: 2nd half of Junior year 1st half of Junior year 1st half of senior year 2nd half of sophomore […]

Connecticut Parents of High School Juniors: 2018 Will Be A Momentous Year

I am finishing up my work with high school seniors.  I am reviewing their college essays and applications, advising on the final decisions regarding where to apply, and answering questions from nervous parents and students about their test scores. Those that started 2017 out with focus are in great shape.  Most started test prep in […]

2018 College Tuition

My friends all have college age or soon to be college age children. When the subject of college tuition comes up,  it is not a happy topic. The only good news – surprisingly – relates to SAT (and ACT) scores.  Good test scores pay for college. This has nothing to do with financial aid. The […]

If you are a college bound Connecticut student, your test scores will matter more than your “story”

Overcoming legitimate structural hardship  – as in poverty, parental drug use, and growing up amidst violent crime – make for eye catching stories. Overcoming a lacrosse injury, getting cut from the school play, and dealing with an ADD diagnosis – standard Connecticut high school resilience stories – while unquestionably challenging to the students involved are […]

2018 SAT Success: Step by step process

Every year, a new batch of students comes to our offices in Old Saybrook and Madison, Connecticut.  Most are not confident that they will do well on the SATs.  They are with us because their parents “signed them up for an SAT course”.  Every year students attend our SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar and/or get SAT tutoring […]

Connecticut High School Juniors: The one thing that can change dramatically in 2018 – SAT Scores

I am reading The One Thing, a book that posits that we should focus on our energy on the one thing that can change our lives.  Scattered attention on half a dozen things often leads to mediocrity.  I thought of this in relation to many of our college counseling clients throughout Connecticut. When we meet for […]

High SAT Scores Equals High College Merit Scholarships

“THANK YOU!”  the headline read on my e-mail this morning from Annie, the mother of a Guilford High School student.   Those who live in Guilford, CT, as well as most Shoreline, CT towns, rarely qualify for financial aid.  But merit aid is open to all.  Those in Guilford and other affluent Connecticut suburbs routinely earn […]

Turn the SAT into a positive

      Here’s some great news for those in Connecticut’s affluent suburbs: Branford, Guilford, Madison, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, Valley Regional, East Lyme, and other towns along Shoreline, CT all are extremely strong compared to the rest of the nation. US News & World Report recently released a report on the best states for […]

SAT Season comes right after the holiday season!

Many parents of high school juniors in Connecticut are not aware that all Connecticut public school students have to take the SAT as part of graduation requirements. For most, the score needed for graduation should not cause worry.  But also for most, the SAT will be important for many students to (1) gain admission to […]

Pay for college by raising your SAT scores

“Follow the money”.  I remember this saying when I was a federal prosecutor in Washington, DC going after white collar criminals.  It was a line first popularized in All The President’s Men as advice to journalists unraveling Watergate. Follow the money and you will understand how the world works.  This is the case with college merit aid. To distinguish merit […]

PSATs are Back: Time for college season to begin

Controlling college choice is the best way that students can ensure that they make a positive adult transition.  SAT prep is likely the number one thing that students can do junior year to ensure that they are in control of their college choice. When the PSATs come back, the college buzz starts. The college process […]

For state schools and larger schools, the SAT is incredibly important

Due to my work, I know college admissions officials.  And, due to my relationships with them, I cannot quote any! But I can report the following: those who have sat in on admissions discussions in our Connecticut state system – at a variety of schools in our state system, not just UCONN – that SATs […]

How important is the SAT for college admission to state colleges in Connecticut? VERY.

“Dennis did not get admitted to UCONN. How can that be?!”  A mother from Guilford High School asked last year.  [As always, details changed to conceal identies]  “He was involved in everything in high school.  He has five varsity letters; over a hundred hours of community service; and he is class President. He also has […]

PSAT results come in for Connecticut Students this week

When PSAT results arrive this week for Connecticut high school juniors, college kick-off season has begun. Why? Because as a recent parent of a student from Guilford High School said: “it just got real.” As much as you parents discuss college with their children, it becomes far more real as soon as their peers start […]

Due to grade inflation, the SAT has become your child’s best weapon

Good news and bad news. I’ll start with the bad so I can end with the good. If your child attends one of the stronger schools in the area – Guilford High School, Daniel Hand in Madison, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, East Lyme, among others that come to mind – I regret to report that […]

SAT Prep: Prepare for the inevitable.

All Connecticut public school students have to take the SAT as part of graduation requirements.  The SAT will be important for many students to (1) gain admission to colleges of their choice (2) pay for their college and (3) their self-esteem. The good news is that with proper training the SAT will help Connecticut students […]

The surprising reason why test scores have become even more important for college admission: Fairness

Denise, one of my students from Guilford High School from years ago, now works in college admissions.  She called me recently and said: “you were totally right about the SAT being the fairest part of college admissions.” The grumbles about the SAT start almost as immediately as Connecticut high school juniors (and parents) kick off […]

Motivating Your Teen Student

  Bill Bradley was born with unexceptional athletic ability and intelligence.  But, he went on to become the greatest basketball star in Ivy League history when he played at Princeton University; a Rhodes Scholar; a starter on two New York Knicks championship teams; and then a heralded senator from New Jersey. How did Bradley do […]

Thanksgiving Gratitude for the College Process

We have worked with parents throughout Connecticut for the last 15 years on all aspects of the college process.  Right now, we are immersed in college counseling for our seniors who are finishing their early action and early decision applications and taking on college counseling clients for those juniors who are kicking off the going […]

The College Investment: Start Career Exploration Now

I speak with Connecticut parents every day about college.  I have done so for 15 years.  In the last several years, discussions have almost always included the financial investment required.  While we all want our children to have a great life experience in their college years, most every parent is worried about the career pay […]

Yes, the obvious is true: test scores matter enormously for college admission

“Generally, nothing carries more weight in admissions than grades (plus strength of the high school curriculum) and ACT/SAT scores.”  Reading the recent NY Times article “What Colleges Want College admissions craziness is upon Connecticut high school seniors now.  While we work with students on their essays and all parts of their college application, this message […]

College Counseling: Our Public Health Announcement!

The Learning Consultants is in the midst of helping clients through the college process.  Helping clients shop for colleges and maximize their admissions chances provides the majority of our work.  But we also seem to provide a public health service to stressed out parents and teens. The college process is horribly stressful to most parents […]

Junior Year: Character Building During The College Admissions Year

“The Learning Consultants has become a public health service for Connecticut students and their parents,” so said a well known public health doctor from Yale as she extolled our college counseling, tutoring, and test prep services in an e-mail to her friends. I really loved reading the line about public health.  It made me laugh […]

College Admissions Counseling: Advice From Aristotle

College counseling has become a bigger part of The Learning Consultants helps our Shoreline Connecticut base through the years.  Through our immersion in understanding the college admissions process, there are a few principles that we have discovered are useful for our clients. The Golden Mean, Aristotle’s principle for conveying the beautiful middle spot between two […]

Sports Insanity Over Academics Will Limit The Next Generation

I just finished watching a Real Sports episode.  Bryant Gumbel’s HBO show put the spotlight on travel sports.  While I’m sure to anger and annoy some of you reading, I am doing so for your own good. Over the last decade, two contrarian forces have created “yet another challenge” for this generation: (1) the restructuring of the […]

Best Part Time Job: Test Prep

In terms of my approach to advocating test prep, I’ve changed dramatically from a highly self-conscious purist educator who would reluctantly agree with parents that the best supplemental education for their children involved test preparation to a zealous advocate to help my Connecticut friends and neighbors. While doing your best to ensure your children get […]

Our test prep class provides a way to get your student thinking about the future

“My son might think about what he’s doing on Friday.” Mrs. Abernon laughed as she discussed her junior age son heading into Guilford High School. “He’s not a bad student but he just does what’s needed and then he’s off with his friends or playing video games. Whenever I want to talk about college or […]

Junior Year: This Back To School September Is Different

This will stun many Connecticut parents of high school juniors.  Next year, at this time, your current high school junior will be working on his/her college applications. Some will know where they will apply Early Action and Early Decision. “I’m so far behind” is a phrase I hear from parents who call for college counseling. […]

The SAT (and ACT) More Important Than Ever Due to Grade Inflation

We provide tutoring and test prep to students throughout Connecticut.  But given my specific practice, I have deep knowledge about Shoreline, Connecticut schools. If your child attends one of the stronger schools in the area – Guilford High School, Daniel Hand High School, Old Saybrook High School, Lyme-Old Lyme High School, Valley Regional High School […]

Connecticut High School Juniors: The PSAT is coming

Connecticut students will be taking the PSAT in early October. I have to avoid going to the grocery store during the weeks preceding the PSAT because I am accosted by Shoreline CT parents who understand that the college process unofficially kicks off for juniors when the PSATs are given. Why? Because students start to talk among themselves […]

Connecticut students need high test scores

College admissions officials are having great difficulty choosing whom to admit among the vast number of qualified candidates from affluent areas.  While getting top grades is always critical for college admissions, school officials have told me that they have a difficult time deciphering whether a student with a 95 average from Guilford High School has […]

Crazy but true: Test prep can change the course of one’s life

A former client was kind enough to recommend The Learning Consultants to a high powered private school in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Three of his children went through our SAT classes so he was a fan.  But he also relayed his own story to the Board of Trustees as he urged them to ensure that the […]

SAT or ACT? Maybe both.

As Connecticut students gear up for the PSATs in October (juniors and sophomore), many parents from our Shoreline area will call to inquire: “Do you think my child will do better on the SAT or the ACT?” Of all the misinformation and partial truths that I hear passed around the soccer mom parent set about […]

SAT-ACT Test Scores Matter Enormously For Both College Admission and Merit Aid

The creation of The Learning Consultants stemmed from a desire to help students reach their potential. That’s the mission.  “Academic potential” is, of course, our practical focus.  But the real mission is to help students reach their human potential. Our work in becoming the best place in Connecticut for SAT, ACT, and other test prep […]

Kick-off to college: Test scores, not sports, pay for college

I have seen enormous scholarship success for Connecticut students with top SAT and ACT test scores, particularly in the last 5 years.  Colleges – particularly private ones – are desperate to maintain their student populations. They also need to look “not desperate”! To do so, they need to attract a student body that looks impressive.  […]

Connecticut High School Juniors: The PSAT and the SAT Are Inevitable. Prepare Now.

Many parents of high school juniors in Connecticut are not aware that all Connecticut public school students have to take the SAT as part of graduation requirements.  The law was passed a couple of years ago to be helpful.  Prior to this legislation, Connecticut high school students had to take a different mastery test.  In […]

SAT scores pay for college

Here is the correlation The simple reason: most colleges give merit aid for those with higher SAT scores than the mean of the college. Improve your SAT scores.  Pay less for college. Register for our next SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar.

Connecticut parents: overcome your short term anxiety to deal with long term decisions

“I don’t want to create stress.” “These kids are stressed enough already.” “We’ll deal with college stuff later.” I get it. I really do.  As a father of three, I don’t want to create stress for my children.  I do think that some kids are stressed about important things.  And, I fully understand the desire to kick […]

Why Summer Work – schoolwork and job – Is Essential for Your Teenager

“He wakes up late.  He plays X-Box.  He then hangs out with his friends.  He’ll stop back at home for dinner and then he’ll go out again.”  Judy, a mother from Old Lyme, revealed about her son.   But he’s not unusual.  Many of his friends do the same thing.  They think they worked hard […]

Merit Aid For College

Financial aid versus Merit Aid Let me first distinguish merit versus financial aid by providing good and bad news.  The good news is that if you live in Connecticut you probably make a lot more money than others.  The national median household income is around $51,000.  Connecticut’s household median income is around $70,000.  In towns […]

When to begin test prep…optimally

When parents call, I tend to calm them down.  Most want to do what is BEST for their child.  Sometimes this just is not possible.  So, when I provide advice below about what is “optimal” but you are not able to follow the advice, do not needlessly fret.  We can just figure out what is […]

Planning a productive summer for your teen

Summers in Connecticut – particularly near the Shoreline – are idyllic.  And, while there is a romantic vision of letting your children play away their days in wholesome recreation and care free endeavors, the reality is not quite this vision.  During a typical summer week, most teens work a few hours in part time jobs, have […]

Summer Work for Teens

We live in a wonderful, idyllic, Shoreline, Connecticut community.   I used to feel a bit guilty about disrupting care free summers by pointing out the reams of statistical data indicating that the correlation between student achievement and summer fun is extraordinarily high.  See Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers for an extensive discussion. Now, in the interest of […]

The August SAT

Good news – although I realize saying SAT and good news in the same sentence seems strange – the College Board, makers of the SAT, have created an August test date. Why is that good news?  Because junior year is really busy.  So upcoming juniors now have the option of preparing for the test in […]

The highest paying summer job for your Connecticut college bound teen

At first instance, you will think this is a horribly misleading headline.  After your irritation, I hope you will get the point.  And, then as the college process unfolds, I believe you will thank me. I’m a father of three.  I mention because I’ve  planned/studied the issue of college cost both as a professional educational […]

Yes, where you go to college does matter…

I came across this article “Does It Matter Where You Go to College?” Years ago, I thought such a question was an answer to a straw man (a made up person who holds a position that no one really does).  While the vast majority of sensible people would not make such an argument, I have […]

College counseling advice: We can help provide reality

In a recent SAT class I was teaching in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, I overheard two students discuss their career paths.  “I hope to catch on with a dance troupe.” said one.  The other responded by discussing her dilemma about choosing between Broadway and touring as a singer.  They are 17 years old.  Not age 7. […]

Our SAT Prep Class As A Kick-off to College

Among the reasons our SAT class has been so successful is our ability to shift the motivation of our students.  Emotional state is a significant predictor for how much effort the student puts into an activity.  Shifting our students to a positive emotional state where they are excited – or at least interested – in […]

SAT Scores: Follow The Money To Know The Benefits

I finally got around to watching All The President’s Men.  For those unfamiliar, the movie depicts the Washington Post’s uncovering of the Watergate scandal.  The main source for the story calls himself Deep Throat and tells Bob Woodward (played by Robert Redford) to “follow the money.”  Following the money will lead to the real story. That […]

The Benefits of Test Prep

Over the years, I have gone from the idealistic educator who was a bit self-conscious in promoting the benefits of SAT prep to someone who realizes the foolishness of not advocating the benefits to my Connecticut clientele. The hesitation in the past stemmed from a combination of worry about being self-serving (still there) and my […]

Test Prep Spring!

Connecticut public high school students will be taking the SAT in April. It is mandated. Most Connecticut high school juniors should also take the SAT again in May and/or June and perhaps should take the ACT in April and/or June. Many colleges require strong SAT scores for not only admission but also merit aid. Whatever […]

The SAT As Your Child’s Weapon

US News & World Report, the arbiter of all rankings(!), released a report on the best states.  Connecticut came in 4th for education.  But for towns along Shoreline-Southeastern, CT as well as Fairfield County Connecticut, Connecticut is really number 1 for education.  Here’s why: we live in a small state.  Our suburban population’s statistics are […]

Connecticut High School Juniors: Time to Wake Up!

Look at the calendar. It is March tomorrow!  If you are the parent of a high school junior, you may have been in equal denial about the following: your child will apply to college in the next 7 months. That’s right.  Most early action and early decision applications will be due Nov. 1. All Connecticut […]

Paying for college

Even in the affluent Connecticut suburbs, paying for college has become the biggest financial college that most parents face. When I am get-togethers with my Old Saybrook neighbors, college tuition seems to be an omnipresent topic.  This wasn’t always the case.  A couple decades ago, most parents from the upper middle class suburbs of Shoreline […]

SAT Testing Schedule

“When should I take my SATs?”  This is one of the most common questions that parents and students ask that are of the mundane nature. All Connecticut public school students must attain a certain score on the SATs as part of their graduation requirement.  Most Connecticut high schools will administer the SATs in April to […]

Connecticut High School Juniors: The SAT Is Inevitable So Prepare for the Inevitable

“Start training immediately!”  Luke said in relation to my hypothetical question. I presented the following situation to Luke.  I have run a marathon in a few months.  For whatever reason, completing the marathon in some reasonable time is very important to my future.  I haven’t started training yet.  You are my friend. What would you […]

Helping Our Children Get Ready For The New World of Work

Having spent the last 16 years immersed in helping Connecticut high school students, I have a lived a work mission of getting children prepared for leaving high school and heading to college.  The mission is carried out through SAT-ACT prep, tutoring, college and educational counseling but those areas are the strategies and tactics to carry […]

College is coming: Prepare for the inevitable

My oldest graduated Old Saybrook High School last year; my next is a sophomore; and my youngest is a middle-schooler.  Thoughts of my children leaving the nest has created a depth of poignancy that I’ve never experienced before.  One of the reasons my wife and I relocated from Washington, DC to Shoreline, Connecticut was our […]

Do well on your SATs, Pay For College

I am now of the age that my friends all have college age or soon to be college age children. The subject of college tuition comes up constantly.  It is not a happy topic. The only good news – surprisingly – relates to SAT (and ACT) scores.  Good test scores pay for college. Good grades […]

College as “Insurance” For Your Children

I lived in Washington, DC, Philadelphia and New Jersey before Connecticut so most of my life long friends come from those parts.  My wife is from the Boston suburbs so we similarly have another base of comparison with our Connecticut friends. The college conversation with those live in suburbs of major cities is different than […]

Embracing Reality: The College Process Begins

We live in an idyllic community.  Having lived in or outside New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, I have some perspective on the greatness of growing up in the Connecticut suburbs.  The problems of many kids growing up on the Shoreline in towns like Guilford, Madison, Old Saybrook, Essex, Old Lyme, and East Lyme are […]

SAT Prep Leads to College-Career Dream For A Connecticut Student

I received a wonderful Christmas present yesterday: one of my SAT students who took our SAT prep program in Old Saybrook last January and then followed up with a few individual test prep students in Madison in the fall was just admitted to one of our elite military academies.  He’s a great guy and I’m […]

SAT Prep: The Best College Tuition Investment You Can Make

Christmas time brings gifts to Connecticut students and none better than early admission to colleges of choice, except perhaps scholarships to colleges of choice. Every year, I receive wonderful e-mails and Christmas cards from past students and families who went through our SAT programs: “I was admitted to My Favorite College and was given a […]

College As Part of Life Design

Looking back at my life and those of my friends, the choice of one’s spouse is easily the most significant life choice (mutual choice, of course!). The choice to have children and the number of children, within that decision, is next.  Career choice is likely third. College choice is likely fourth, even ahead of where […]

Grade Inflation Means SAT Scores Are More Important Than Ever

I worry that this will create stress but it is necessary information: your child’s GPA is likely not as good on a comparative basis as you might think.  A few years ago, I told my wife about a trend in a nearby Shoreline, Connecticut school: “I don’t think I’ve met any student from that [unnamed […]

Step by Step SAT Success

A Shoreline, CT guidance counselor recently told a student – “call The Learning Consultants, follow their process, and you’ll do great”. I was happy to hear this “off the record” conversation because guidance counselors have to generally keep their opinions about educational consultants to themselves (nonetheless, ask any what they think of us :)!) Her […]

Lessons from a parent of a college student

My son is home from his first semester of college.  It gave me a chance to reflect as a Dad, not simply as an educational consultant.  What mattered in his off to college journey in terms of both his happiness/well being and his success/college admission? And, of course, what didn’t matter? The main thing that […]

Test Scores Get College Scholarships, Not Sports

My wife has watched a lot of sports in Old Saybrook though the years. She actually was a college athlete so knows a fair amount about talent.  She’s way too nice to ever say something negative about anyone. But sometimes she’ll report as a data point to her educational consultant husband: “Mr. and Mrs. W. […]

SAT Preparation Reduces SAT Anxiety

I saw one of my college classmates who lives in a different part of Connecticut last year around this time.  His daughter is applying to college.  We were discussing college and SATs in general. They noted that their daughter was really stressed. I suggested that they start SAT test prep as soon as possible. My friend’s wife – […]

2017… Around the corner as are college applications

When 2017 arrives, your child is applying to college “this year” For Connecticut high school juniors, the joys of the holidays will soon be replaced by college madness.  During our SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar, I tell our students that start in January something that makes them look up in shock: you will be applying to college by […]

College Admissions and Test Prep: “It is what it is”

I recently sent a note to my son at college.  He was complaining about how strict dorm life was compared to how I described my experiences at the same college.  I was in college in Washington, DC, one of the last places in the country that had a drinking age of 18.  I was actually […]

Deep Practice: The Way To Improve SAT Scores

Through the years of my work as performance coach Connecticut For students taking the SATs, I developed a distinct methodology for how to practice.  I called it “deep practice”.  I would show students the right way to learn math, grammar, reading and so forth. Simultaneously, I immersed myself in the literature on performance across all […]

Early Action and Decision Results Coming This Week

One of the better parts of our college counseling and SAT-ACT prep work is hearing the wonderful results from our students.  Many Connecticut students will be hearing about their Early Action and Early Decision results this week. The success stories provide some lessons for parents of high school juniors. (1) Almost all those who were […]

PSAT Stress to SAT Success

As Connecticut parents review their children’s PSAT scores, many call The Learning Consultants with a distinctly stressful voice. My child’s PSAT scores were… words like “disaster” or “terrible” are common as are phrases like “not indicative of her school performance” or “a wake up call for college”. Our college counseling and SAT prep work tends […]

Turning “bad” test takers into better test-takers

When I hear students say “I’m not a good test-taker”, I cringe. Parents, and sometimes teachers, in an effort to bolster the student-child are usually the first person to program a child by saying: “don’t feel bad, you are just not good at tests.” Many often add – a well meaning but completely unrealistic comment […]

SATs and the “real” college admissions numbers at top colleges

A few years ago, a parent from Madison, CT – who I will call Mr. Engineer due to his constant focus on the math related to college admissions – met for a college counseling meeting to discuss his son’s chances at different elite colleges. His son’s grades matched the stated GPA range of a particular school […]

Attacking Anxiety: The benefits of SAT-ACT test prep

Having worked with Connecticut high school students for the past 15 years, I have noticed a significant uptick in the number of students with anxiety related to taking the SATs and other standardized tests.  Here’s the surprise: a large chunk of the anxiety has not stemmed from overbearing but from avoidance. Unquestionably, the biggest helicopter […]

PSAT Results: Now your child’s college departure gets real

As Connecticut high schools release PSAT results, students – and some parents – “suddenly” ramp up the college process. Parents, for the most part, have been keenly aware that college is approaching. But – just like their kids – they often put off thoughts of anything stressful.  The PSAT results – and the inevitable comparisons […]

SAT Scores: The One Thing That Can Change Dramatically

I am reading The One Thing, a book that posits that we should focus on our energy on the one thing that can change our lives.  Scattered attention on half a dozen things often leads to mediocrity.  I thought of this in relation to many of our college counseling clients throughout Shoreline, Connecticut. When we meet […]

What do your child’s PSAT results mean?

Connecticut students will be getting their PSAT results back during the next couple of weeks.  Anxious students and parents will wonder what the results mean for their future and lackadaisical students and parents probably should wonder what the results mean for their future! Since I live in Old Saybrook, I have to avoid going to […]

Connecticut Parents: PSAT Results

Last year, the new SAT was released. As I spoke at schools throughout Connecticut, I mentioned the following: 1.) the hysteria about the changes in the new SAT were completely…hysterical!  And, this has proved to be the case.  The SAT is still a test based on demanding reading comprehension, grammar, and math.  The biggest new […]

Connecticut PSAT Results: Be Mindful of the Psychological Impact

“My parents are telling me not to freak out but I am” said one of my students recently about upcoming PSAT results.  I hear this more often than parents may realize.  That teens do not readily confess their psychological challenges is certainly nothing new.  What seems to be somewhat new is the impact that once […]

College As The Gateway To Career

“Just go where you will be happy.  The name of the college doesn’t matter.”  The parents who say this to their children are almost always well-meaning and almost always incorrect.  (I say “almost always” in anticipation of the exceptions.) I think our generation of parents was so well trained to be the anti-Dead Poet’s Society […]

Paying for college: Test Prep Is The Best Part Time Job For Paying for College

      SAT-ACT Test Prep and Merit Aid For College Some good news and bad news about your income.  If you are a Connecticut parent -particularly in areas like Shoreline Connecticut that contain leafy small towns like Guilford, Madison, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, Essex, East Lyme etc., you likely make far more money than […]

How Test Prep Can Change Your Child’s Life

In recommending The Learning Consultants services to a private school in Connecticut, a former client who had three of his children go through our SAT Prep classes, told his story to the Board of Trustees. “I was the classic underachiever in high school.  My grades were spotty. I did well in classes I liked and […]

SAT-ACT Prep: Absolutely necessary for some colleges

As Early Action and Early Decision results are around the corner for anxious Connecticut students applying to college, I sometimes am privy to insider information from parents who have their own inside connections to college admissions officers. This hidden world – what college admissions officers really think – can come through guidance counselors, particularly at […]

Is College Worth The Money?

Over the last couple of years as The Learning Consultants has focused more intensely on college counseling for our Connecticut clients, we have increasingly been asked: “is college worth the money?” Let me start with a paradox.  College is horribly over-priced – for most and worth every penny  – for most.  I always add “for […]

The need for Connecticut students to maximize test scores

I’m providing a factual report and not one with an opinion attached. College admissions officials, at least those from competitive colleges, are having great difficulty choosing whom to admit among the vast number of qualified candidates.   While getting top grades is always critical for college admissions, school officials have told me that they have […]

Follow the money: why SAT-ACT prep leads to merit aid

I was at the Saybrook Point Inn’s restaurant Fresh Salt a few weeks ago.  The waitress handed me a bottle of wine – “the couple over there sent this to you.”  To my chagrin, I didn’t recognize them. This is not particularly uncommon as I often know my students better than their parents, particularly those […]

Grade Inflation Increases the Need for High SATs and ACTs

This is a direct quote from a college admissions official I spoke with this weekend: “Grades are becoming meaningless. Grade inflation is now so out of control that we are forced to rely on standardized tests to make admissions decisions.” Perhaps it was an overstatement.  Grades still matter a lot. But his point is one […]

College Counseling: The Stakes Are Larger Now

“It is different now.”  Ron, a father of a junior from Guilford High School, noted when his wife suggested that maybe they were making to big a deal about the college process.  Ron is an executive in a multinational company and is also involved in a New Haven not-for-profit organization that helps those in challenging […]

Why school matters more than ever

As a parent of three, I wish the work world was going to be easier for my children than for me.  When I give college and career talks throughout Connecticut, I see parents nod their heads when I say: “it used to be that if you graduated from a decent college with decent grades, you […]

The college to career investment decision

About 10 years ago, Kevin, a friend from Old Lyme called, about his son Luke.  Could you give him one of those career tests?  “Isn’t Luke entering 9th grade?” I asked incredulously. Kevin explained that Pfizer was making noises about leaving Connecticut.  Kevin and his family would have to make a choice if that happened: […]

The College Process: What to focus upon and what causes needless suffering

“This is therapy.” a mother with a Daniel Hand High School junior recently said to me in relation to our kick-off to college counseling session.  “I have been driving myself crazy with all the things that I thought my son had to do and I appreciate that you narrowed the list.” “Eat food. Mostly plants. […]

College: Your child’s new world

Perhaps the silliest thing I occasionally hear from parents – who are likely trying to calm themselves and their children down about the college process – is “it doesn’t matter where you go to college.” I realize that some parents are saying this in an effort to defuse the competitive nature of the college process […]

College Counseling: Generating Possibilities

“My guidance counselor suggested that I apply to 6 schools: 2 safety, 2 range, and 2 reach.”  Some version of this phrase has been repeated to me over the last decade by dozens of Connecticut high school students. For most students applying to college – particularly those from Connecticut’s Shoreline schools who are applying to […]

The College Essay: “I have an idea…”

Through the years of editing college essays for students throughout Connecticut, I have probably read a few thousand college essays.  This puts me in the position of a college admissions reader who similarly has read thousands of college essays and through that process knows what works and what doesn’t. The one big takeaway from this […]

Yes, it does matter where you go to college…

Part of my work involves calming anxious parents and students about the college process. More than a few parents have noted that our meetings were worth the price of a therapist simply because the family’s collective blood pressure was lowered.   In providing a college counseling strategy for our education oriented Connecticut clients, I take […]

Connecticut Students Don’t Have “Stories” So They Need To Maximize Their Test Scores

I’m providing a factual report and not one with an opinion attached. College admissions officials, at least those from competitive colleges, are having great difficulty choosing whom to admit among the vast number of qualified candidates.   While getting top grades is always critical for college admissions, school officials have told me that they have […]

Getting Children Ready For The Worldwide Economy

In general, the Connecticut suburbs create an idyllic atmosphere.  As a transplant to this state – having lived in the Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and New York areas for the first 31 years of life – I might appreciate Connecticut’s people (nicest I’ve met) and suburbs (most peaceful and charming I’ve seen) in a different way […]

Connecticut Parents: Plan for the summer

As I wind up my meetings with tired teens ending the school year throughout the Connecticut shoreline, I remind parents to plan the summer. The summer provides an unusual gift: free time.  Some part of the summer should be for complete relaxation and rejuvenation.  Most Connecticut high schools are ending this week.  Doing nothing but […]

The $96,000 Summer Job

“THANK YOU!!!’ The volume was actually higher than all caps can convey.  Sean’s dad bellowed as he breathlessly explained that Sean, a senior at Guilford High School, had been awarded a $24,000 per year scholarship at the college of his choice. Sean remembered my conversation with him the year before. “You told me that taking […]

SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar: Summer Is Best

I am often asked by parents of Connecticut juniors: “when should my child begin prep for the SAT or ACT?” While all circumstances are different, summer before junior year is usually ideal.  Here’s why: Junior year for most students in our top Connecticut schools is tough.  Really tough. The combination of AP and/or honors classes, […]

SAT-ACT Test Prep: Overcoming Test Anxiety

[ “No one really knows.” Kayla said. “I just get so nervous that I can’t think straight.” She said this in response to my timing her on an SAT problem set. A junior at Daniel Hand High School in Madison, CT, Kayla was a strong student. She made nearly all As through freshman year. She […]

Connecticut Summer Educational Programs

If I had to recommend one book for parents to read on education, I might recommend Outliers.  Malcolm Gladwell studied the “greats” – those out on the edges of performance – and revealed what The Learning Consultants has promised Connecticut parents for years: greatness comes through work character.  There is a lot to be said […]

The best summer job in Shoreline, CT: SAT-ACT Prep

Bookmark this page. And, then go ask everyone – and I mean everyone you know – who had children who were accepted to colleges this year. “Did test scores matter when getting money from colleges?”  And, then ask, how much money did your child get in merit aid? Over twenty students from last year’s summer […]

Negativity Bias and the College Process

In our SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar, held in Old Saybrook and Madison, I routinely speak to dozens of 17 year olds. When I discuss college for the first time, I see anxiety. When I meet with parents and their children for college counseling, I often “feel” the anxiety of parents. My college counseling work has led […]

We motivate Connecticut students

I was recently interviewed by The Hartford Courant.  I met the author about a decade ago as she has been an education journalist in Connecticut for years. She asked about “our magic”.  Why is that The Learning Consultants has such a cult fan base?  Whenever I speak with parents about your company, they seem to get […]

UCONN: You need good SAT scores

The University of Connecticut has become an increasingly attractive option to Connecticut parents and students for two big reasons: (1) UCONN has become a much better college than it was when parents from Connecticut attended/applied and (2) UCONN is a far better value than many private colleges due to its in-state tuition for Connecticut residents. […]

The College Transition: A key life transition

“College is college” a senior from Lyme-Old Lyme High School said recently to his mom. She noted that his overt casual approach to where he will attend college masked his deep disappointment that he had not put himself in a position to go to his preferred choices. “He learned too late and we were partially at […]

Spring is here and so is SAT-ACT Test Prep and College Kick Off

Spring is approaching.  For most, this is a great news and for Connecticut residents who have had a mild winter, it seems surprising. For parents of Connecticut juniors who have been urging their children to “start looking at colleges” and begin SAT (or ACT) prep, the time is NOW.  I am fully aware of the […]

Good News: The New SAT is Good!

“It was good.” That was the most common report I heard from Shoreline, Connecticut students about the New SAT.  Of course, for most students the new SAT is just the SAT so they do not know what all the hysteria is about related to the SAT overhaul.  But these were students that had taken our […]

College: The value question

Think about house hunting. Imagine seeing a house that is generically amazing – 5000 square foot house with water views in a town with good schools.  Now add on your idiosyncratic preferences – if you want a pool, the house has a gorgeous one; if you want a dock for your boat, the house has […]

The SAT (and ACT) As A Starting Point For The College Discussion

Imagine if you knew you had to leave your job, your town, and your family in 18 months.  That’s what happens when your child leaves to college and that’s what will happen to Connecticut high school juniors in August 2020.  Moreover, the decision regarding their new world will be made in as little as 11 […]

SAT Test Day and the Anxious Parent

“I am more nervous than he is.” Jennifer said about her son Sean who was taking the SATs today, the big day for Connecticut juniors who are mandated to take the SAT.  Like most teens, Sean would rather do many other things than prepare for the SATs and, like most parents, Jennifer did not feel […]

SAT Preparation Will Decrease Anxiety

Tomorrow is the first time that most Connecticut students will take the SAT.  Since passage of legislation requiring Connecticut public school students score a minimum on the SAT to graduate, Connecticut public schools must offer an in-school SAT for free. Those who attend private schools in Connecticut are exempt. In our final winter classes in […]

Test-Taking Anxiety: Far more common than parents realize

Katlyn, a seemingly happy junor from Guilford High School, approached me with tears in her eyes. “I didn’t know there were so many students with test-taking anxiety.  I’ve never told anyone.” During our SAT-ACT Mastery Seminars held in Madison and Old Saybrook – as well as in school at Old Saybrook High School, Valley Regional […]

Helping our children: That’s all we can do

In providing educational services to Connecticut parents for the last 16 years, I have heard most every variation of challenge that faces parents. Certainly, most calls start with inquiries about test prep or tutoring or college counseling but many quickly evolve into discussions that relay to the personal challenges of teens. Due to my book […]

Spring SAT-ACT Season

For high school juniors, the Spring does not bring renewal but rather a gauntlet of tests. Most Connecticut juniors will take the SAT for the first time in the first week of March.  The SAT is now offered by public high schools in Connecticut.  Some students will heroically double up next week and take the […]

Test Prep: The Fixed versus the Growth Mindset

Our SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar differs in many ways from those run by franchises such as Kaplan and Princeton Review.  One of the bigger ways relates to the psychological shifting that occurs through my mini-lectures.  Explaining the Growth versus the Fixed Mindset in the context of test prep has been one of the lectures that seems […]

The Motivational Difference: How our SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar Is Different

I was in Pasta Vita in Old Saybrook and felt someone tap me on the shoulder.  It was the father of two SAT students from past SAT classes.  “My children still talk about you and the class.”  I knew he was not referring to my teachings of the intricacies of SAT test-taking strategies. “We see […]

If the SAT is your biggest challenge, you are very lucky.

“Why are those kids filling up their buckets with water?” my son who was 12 at the time asked. “Because they don’t have running water in their houses.” my wife responded.  My son and his two younger sisters looked perplexed.  We were in Morocco.  That moment might have been the best part of the trip. […]

The New SAT and Connecticut High School Juniors

As March approaches, most Connecticut High School juniors will be taking the SAT for the first time.  Most parents and articles call the SAT that will be given in March the NEW SAT!!!   Most juniors simply call it the SAT. For them, there is nothing new.  Since several media outfits have called me for […]

SAT-ACT Prep: We Teach Content 98% of the Time

“Jake said he finally is learning math concepts due to your SAT class.”  A parent of a student from Guilford High School said to me a few years ago. Perhaps the biggest misconceptions propagated by those who do not understand the SAT (or ACT) is that the test can be beaten by “strategy.” Certainly there […]

Score Choice, Super Scoring and Choice of the SAT or the ACT

Back in the day when most Connecticut parents took the SAT, every score was consequential.  Most students took the SAT once or twice and were advised not to take the test a third time as it would not be looked upon favorably.  Despite all the overblown talk of stress that our high school students face […]

When to take the tests? SAT-ACT… and SAT IIs

Public schools in Connecticut will be offering an SAT to all students sometime in March. The test will be paid for by the state of Connecticut.  This is a great opportunity to have a trial run at the new SAT. The timing of the College Board’s March 5 SAT has created an unprecedented issue. Many […]

The SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar: Kick Off To College

Our mission to help your children reach their potential.  To me, this has always meant human potential. But certainly our focus in delivering educational services to Connecticut families is primarily academics. The tangible end goal – although by no means the real end goal – is college. During our SAT-ACT classes in Old Saybrook and […]

The SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar

We will be starting our spring test prep class soon in Old Saybrook and Madison.  Previously, The Learning Consultants held SAT full classes and then added ACT crash courses through the year. During the fall, we held an SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar at The Williams School in New London and then decided that we would do […]

THE NEW SAT!!!: It is just “the SAT” for Connecticut Juniors

Many Connecticut students will be taking the SAT for the first time in March. This has been the case for the decade and a half that The Learning Consultants has been teaching test prep. But it is THE NEW SAT and so parents are losing their minds.  i have taught long enough that I was […]

College Counseling Now Includes Financial and Career Counseling

As we built College Counseling Connecticut, we noticed that many of our college counseling discussions quickly turned to financial discussions.  In addition to the common questions related to financial aid, merit aid, and overall college expenses, the questions started to focus on “whether X college was worth it?” Since career counseling has always been a […]

Connecticut Parents Should Be Delighted About The SAT

What madness am I suggesting? Let me start with the obvious: most Connecticut schools are stronger than most schools in most states. Those in the top 10% of schools such a Guilford High School, Daniel Hand High, Lyme-Old Lyme High School, East Lyme High School, Old Saybrook High School, Valley Regional High School (Essex-Deep River) […]

SAT or ACT or Both

Most Connecticut students will be taking the SAT in March. While it is the NEW SAT for all crazed parents, it is just the SAT for juniors as most never saw the old SAT.  For those interested in the differences, I provided some comments in last Sunday’s Hartford Courant.  The real question confronting many students […]

What do your children need? Resilience and Anti-fragility

Over the 15 years of providing educational services to parents of Connecticut high school students, I have gathered enough evidence to concur with most psychological studies that indicate resilience is the most or at least one of the most needed qualities for children to develop. Here’s the interesting part: children would develop resilience if it were […]

College Preparation: What We Can Learn From the WWII Generation

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Theresa Anzaldua.  She is a journalist for Seasons magazine and a writer of the highly praised book We Had A Job To Do, a book about World War II veterans. I mentioned that one of my mini-lectures that I give to students in our Old Saybrook and Madison SAT classes […]

SAT-ACT Prep: Deep Practice to Mastery

Callie was a junior at Daniel Hand High School in Madison and was taking an SAT course at our Madison, CT office. She is one of those good kids who does all her work and earnestly tries her best.  Her grades were good. Her PSAT scores were not. The very first thing she said to […]

The PSAT Results Are Back, Now What?

Most Connecticut High Schools have provided their PSAT results back to their students (Daniel Hand in Madison had a PSAT delay but I understand that the delay won’t be long.)  Parents understandably want to know what’s next after the PSAT results come back. For students in public schools in Connecticut, most every high school will […]

What is a “good” PSAT score?

PSAT scores are back for most every school in Shoreline, CT.  I have heard that Daniel Hand High School in Madison may have a delay in providing its PSAT scores but otherwise students from Guilford, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, East Lyme and other Southeastern, CT high schools have sent me their PSAT results. As always, […]

Merit Aid: Test Score Correlation

My natural people pleasing tendency coupled with my great worry of ever appearing self-serving has caused me to give flawed advice over the years. Budget conscious clients would contact me about what they should do for test prep. They knew me or of me so they trusted that I would give them honest advice. And, […]

SATs and Paying for College

Since so many Connecticut parents have contacted us for counseling related to paying for college, I’ve immersed myself in the literature.  Some of the literature is a challenge: most families living in Connecticut (particularly in the Shoreline area, Branford, Guilford, Madison, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, East Lyme etc.) have incomes that are too high to […]

New SAT-ACT Similarity

Our combined SAT-ACT class is starting next week: Old Saybrook, Saturdays, either 9-12 noon or 12:15-3:15 pm and Madison, 12:45-3:45 or 4-7 pm.  Students can attend any of the 4 classes on any given weekend.  (1 class per weekend). 7 weeks, $595, all books and materials included. In the past, we have run SAT classes […]

The Huge Opportunity to Score High on the March SAT

The SAT (and ACT) are scored on a curve.  To quickly refresh those who may have forgotten the term: in school, if a teacher curved a test within an absolute equal distribution, she would award 20% As, 20% Bs, 20% Cs, 20% Ds, and 20% Fs. You may remember the more common curving – such […]

Connecticut SAT Scores By High School

“I didn’t do well on the SATs.”  I hear this statement quite a bit.  But I have learned to filter according to the student’s high school.  For example, when a student from East Lyme High School makes this statement as one recently did, I’m pretty sure the student probably did well compared to the rest […]

Connecticut Juniors: The First SAT Is In March

November wasn’t that far in the past.  March isn’t that far in the future. As Connecticut juniors return to school today, they might not realize that the SAT is just around the corner. Due to new state law, all Connecticut public school students must take the SAT.  By way of simple back story, federal mandate […]

Connecticut Parents Resolution Number 2: Be Grateful

As Connecticut schools reopen tomorrow, many parents will grumble. The daily school grind has returned.  Getting children off to school on time, monitoring their homework, and taking them to endless activities can be energy draining if you view it as such.  Lecturing myself as much as I suggest to my fellow parent brethren, catch yourself […]

Get Your Tests Done As Early As Possible

  Every year our Winter SAT class (this year SAT and ACT) held in Old Saybrook, CT and Madison, CT leads students to a wonderful result: they get their test scores in order early during the college process. The strategic plan is as follows: prepare vigorously for the March SAT (and either the February or […]

2016: Resolution 1 for Connecticut Parents

Resolution 1. I will not overdo activities at the expense of either important relationships or academics. “Lauren is heading to Pennsylvania that weekend for a softball tournament.” Mrs. Angeli said about her junior daughter at Guilford High School.  So, she won’t be able to take the SATs.  She’s also missing her grandmother’s 75th birthday. But […]

Connecticut Parents: Jan. 7th PSAT results are coming in

Just some quick news for parents of Connecticut juniors, PSAT results are scheduled to come in.

Student Success: Micro-resolutions

“What is the smallest thing you could do differently that would lead to better grades?” I asked JT, a sophomore at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, CT. Like most boys, JT was bored during class, distracted during his homework, and unmotivated about what he needed to do for college. The big shifts that […]

College As An Employment Filter

For those without the patience to listen, the simple summary is that we live in a knowledge economy.  College provides a filtering mechanism for employers to quickly sort out who to interview among thousands of applications.  Zakaria uses the example of a Wall Street investment bank with 20,000 plus applicants and a couple hundred spots. […]

SAT Test Dates For Connecticut Students

As many Connecticut parents know, Connecticut has made the SAT the mandated exit exam test for high school students.  This is good news. Prior to the this change, Connecticut students were scheduled to take the S-BAC Test.  And, yes, even education experts weren’t quite sure what was on the  S-BAC, how to prepare for it, […]

SAT-ACT Prep: The best part time job to pay for college

“$120,000!!!” I put the phone away from my ear as Mr. Harris bellowed. “Thank you!”  His son Jared, a senior at Waterford High School had just received early admission to his first choice college along with a $30,000 annual scholarship. I met Jared when he was a junior in our winter SAT prep class in […]

Make 2016 A Great Year For Your Student-Child

“Can you get Sean to make some New Year’s resolutions related to his studying?” Mrs. Raskin said in relation to her sophomore son from Lyme-Old Lyme High School. New Year’s provides another time slot for parents to light their student-children with motivation. Every September, Connecticut parents contact The Learning Consultants to put their children in […]

Anxious Parents of College Bound Students: Take Action

In my years of providing educational counseling to parents and students, I have observed an uptick in anxiety among those interested in college counseling. There are likely several reasons: 1.) The Great Recession: Actual Economic Effect After 2008, Americans, even in prosperous states like Connecticut, lost so much wealth that, in a literal sense, most […]

Better Work Character: That’s the goal for Connecticut students in 2016

“What’s the most important thing I should teach my children next year?” an audience member asked during a recent presentation I gave in our Madison, CT office. “Work character.” was my two word mysterious answer. I elaborated. 15 years of working with all types of high school students in Connecticut has provided me a distinct […]

2016: A Momentous Year For Connecticut Juniors

This will stun many Connecticut parents of high school juniors.  As January 1 enters, by the end of the year, your high school junior will have completed his/her college applications. Some will know where they will heading to college due to Early Action and Early Decision. When I made this remark at a recent college […]

The college decision: Cost analysis

College Case Study: This is a real world college decision made by a friend of a friend who lives in Fairfield County. The father in question’s daughter was admitted to Northwestern and Penn State. The friend lives in Pennsylvania so this decision is similar to considering Northwestern versus UCONN. The parents could broadly be described […]

SAT-ACT Scores and Early Action-Early Decision

As parents and students call with news about their Early Action-Early Decision acceptances, deferrals, and rejections, it has become abundantly clear that the single distinguishing factor among those who were accepted into competitive colleges is SAT (or ACT) test scores.  For example, several students in Guilford, Madison, Old Lyme and East Lyme have reported that […]

Test Scores (SAT/ACT) and Merit Money

“Jimmy just got $60,000 in scholarship money for a college he never visited.” So exclaimed Mrs. Steiner about her senior son from Branford, CT. Jimmy’s grades were good.  His activities were solid but nothing outstanding.  His SAT scores, however, were distinctly higher than the mean of the college in question.  I know several other students […]

SAT-ACT Prep: Get Rid of The Fear of Big Tests Forever

“I’m not terrified of the GRE – can you believe it?” Marissa wrote in an e-mail seeking help for graduate school. I first worked with Marissa when she was an SAT student in my Madison class. She was terrified of big tests. She had created a story that she was terrible at tests based on hearing […]

SAT-ACT Class To Help Your Children Think About The Future

“You got her to think about the future.” Mr. Rutledge said in relation to his daughter Tonya, a junior at Coginchaug Regional High School in Durham, Connecticut. “Normally, the longest she thinks into the future is what will she text next.” Tonya had come to SAT class with that vacant look of “why am I […]

The SAT Quick Fix Approach: Better Than Nothing But Careful For False Confidence

“I had her do the SAT problem of the day.” Mrs. Barry said about her daughter Julia, a junior at Daniel Hand High School in Madison. “I’m really surprised that she did so poorly.” Let me clear: doing the SAT problem of the day is better than doing nothing. Indeed, starting with something small is […]

SAT-ACT Class And The Kick Off To College

“I finally have a reason to work hard in school and even come here on Saturday mornings.” Brendan said after SAT class. It was the highest form of compliment that one can get from an unmotivated 17 year old. Brendan’s mother had called earlier that week when signing up for SAT class. She had the […]

Elite Colleges and Personal Branding

“He’s a genius. He went to Yale and Harvard.” Two different people led with this introduction when describing John (John Elway comes to mind as his pseudonym because he looked like the Hall of Fame quarterback. For younger readers, think Tom Brady, same basic premise). Our mutual friends were introducing John to me because he […]

SAT and ACT scores for UCONN Nursing

My wife is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut’s Nursing School. For students interested in nursing, UCONN is fantastic because it is not only a great nursing school but it might be the best value for students who hope to work in one of Connecticut’s many hospitals after college. Recently, she spoke […]

Motivating Those Unmotivated Boys

I am surprised by the continued success of Motivate Your Son. This is neither false modesty nor subtle bragging. The book was published in 2012. It continues to sell beyond expectation despite zero marketing in the last few years. Reader e-mails tell me the reason: I was correct in my view that we have an […]

Small Changes Create Momentum For Student Success

Kevin was a freshman at East Lyme High School. An athletic, social, guy, reasonably smart, and, like most boys his age, decidedly more interested in playing video games and hanging out with his friends than making the most of his academic potential. I met with Kevin formally as part of our Student Mastery program. I […]

A surprising thank you from a reluctant math student

“You’ll be happy and surprised to hear that Alyssa thanked me for setting up all that math tutoring!” Mr. Rhodes, Alyssa’s father, said as she was just accepted to a top liberal arts college. Alyssa had first started working with us in 8th grade when she was at John Winthrop middle school in Deep River, […]

Our competitive advantage: We are not your children’s parents

“How do you and your team do it?” asked Mrs. Keil, the parent of four rambunctious teens from Madison, CT that have worked with The Learning Consultants through the years. “We are not their parents.” I responded. She laughed, tried to compliment us again and then agreed that we have a competitive advantage. “Whatever you […]

The Simple Systems of Student Mastery

“I was really irritated with you last night when I saw the unchecked box.” Drew said. A sophomore in the Clinton, Connecticut school system, Drew often “forgot” to do one of his homework assignments. He was kidding about the checklist system that I had him put in place to ensure that each of his assignments […]

Marijuana and Motivation among Connecticut Teens

“Everyone smokes pot.” I’ve heard this from dozens of students throughout Connecticut. Having grown up in the era where the athletes drank and the “burn outs” smoked, I was taken aback when I first heard from one of my student-athlete clients that all of his buddies on the lacrosse team smoked. This was circa 2005. […]

What are the best SAT and ACT books?

Connecticut parents often ask my opinion on which SAT and ACT books to purchase. My answer is not based on my subjective view. The only objectively correct answer is the official guide. For that reason, we only use The Official Guide to the SAT and the ACT’s Real ACT book for our SAT and ACT […]

Reading Ability is Even More Important for the New SAT

Some more reason for Connecticut parents to nag their children about needing to read more. Reading ability is even more important for the new SAT. Reading ability has always been important for the SAT but now even more so for several reasons. While some students will rejoice that sentence completions are no longer part of […]

Should my child take the SAT or the ACT?

“My son is unsure of which test to take.” So begins a typical conversation with a Connecticut parent sorting out whether to take the SAT or ACT. The answer has now become more clear in my mind, at least for Connecticut public school students. It is no longer “which” but rather “should I also?” All […]

Connecticut Parents: Don’t Blindly Listen to Other Connecticut Parents!

“One of my friends told me…” Much like investment advice from random people makes no sense to follow without due diligence, advice from Connecticut parent circles should follow the same guidelines. Parents dealing with their first child’s experience navigating the high school to college transition often defer to parents who have done so previously. In […]

Sleep: Another Secret Weapon for SAT/ACT Success

My most popular and perhaps only subversive SAT and ACT tip is telling students to sleep in on the day before the SAT or ACT (as in Friday, a school day, shh, don’t tell school officials). Sleep in as in sleep until 8 or 9 am as opposed to getting up at 6 or 6:30 […]

The Ability to Pay Attention: A Secret To SAT/ACT Success

“Nathan did way worse than expected on the SAT.  Can you help?” Mrs. Honig said about her very bright junior at Old Lyme. After working with Nathan a few times, I agreed.  This is not always the case.  Sometimes parents expectations are not based on real data but rather hope.  In Nathan’s case, he definitely […]

Should I take the SAT/ACT again?

“Do I have to take SAT again? Hannah, a junior at East Lyme High School asked. She knew the answer to the question.  One and done is exceedingly rare, at least for Connecticut students interested in attending competitive colleges. Extensive research shows that SAT and ACT test takers improve the second and third time they […]

Good SAT News For Future SAT II Test Takers

Yale has decided that the New SAT is so aligned with what it wants from testing that it will no longer require subject tests or more commonly called The SAT IIs. That will be a relief for Connecticut students applying to Yale. Whether other schools will follow suit remains to be seen. SAT IIs for […]

News for Connecticut Students Taking the ACT: The ACT Essay Has Changed

“We were totally caught off guard by the essay!” said several students in my fall SAT class in Madison. These students had taken the ACT but only prepared by buying the ACT book, which only had versions of the old essay prompt. The ACT has been a highly stable test. The SAT has been overhauled […]

News for Connecticut Students and Parents: The New SAT and the Common Core

“I hate the Common Core.” I’ve heard this from parents throughout the Shoreline and Southeastern, CT. I’m not sure if it is another reason for Connecticut parents to dislike the Common Core or a reason – finally – to like the Common Core but the new SAT is designed to explicitly align itself with the […]

Grade inflation in Connecticut High Schools and How The SAT/ACT Helps Students At Rigorous Schools

Since I work with students from schools ranging from New Haven to Middletown to Stonington, I have a reasonable comparative understanding of the strength of Connecticut schools in the Middlesex, New Haven and New London County areas. If your child attends one of the stronger schools in the area – Guilford, Daniel Hand, Old Saybrook, […]

Perspective for Connecticut parents on the challenges of school

I realize that some of you reading this article will cringe a bit in self-reflection and perhaps curse the author. The latter is justifiable, if only because I am equally guilty of the problem I will cite. Parents – including me – have to stop our whining about school. Some context will be helpful. I […]

Connecticut Students: Prepare for the SAT as early as possible

“I’m so glad that I’m done with the SAT!” Charlie, a junior at Old Saybrook High School noted after he received his second round of SAT scores. Charlie had tried to delay starting test prep to late spring. His parents asked me to convince him to start in the winter. I told that after fifteen […]

Connecticut Students: Must prepare for the New SAT

“I am thinking of having Holly just focus on the ACT.” Mrs. O’Brien, a mother of a junior from Valley Regional High School said. “Since the new SAT is changing, I read somewhere that it makes sense to do the ACT.” I had read similar articles. Even before the HUGE news that Connecticut will require […]

The New SAT: Much More Similar to the ACT

“This looks like the ACT.” Paul, a junior at Branford High School, noted. He was reviewing the new SAT for the first time. The SAT has long been the dominant standardized test for college admission. The ACT, traditionally the test used by many Midwestern and Southern colleges, gained tremendous popularity in the last decade. Since […]

The ACT Science Section: More like reading, than math

“The ACT Science section is more like reading than math.” Hannah, a senior at Old Lyme High School, said with delight. She had been dreading the thought of the science section because she was a verbal whiz who did not like math and science. Her dislike of science, however, stemmed from her poor grades in […]

The SATs are a weapon in your arsenal

“The SATs are a weapon in my arsenal.” Repeated Julia laughingly.   Julia, a junior at Mercy High School in Middletown had scored a 700 in reading and 650 in math. She was looking at colleges that generally wanted a combined 1250-1300. I pointed out that the SATs were now a weapon in her arsenal because […]

Do you have Choate Syndrome? Why the SATs and ACTs generally help Connecticut students

  “I’m terrible on the SATs.” said Kerry, a junior at Choate. As has become routine, I reviewed Kerry’s scores and explained that scoring in the 92 percentile nationally is not terrible. Routinely, I discuss the challenges of SAT and ACT scores with Connecticut students and need to impart the thought that these tests generally […]