I can’t believe it’s happening. In a year, my oldest son will head off to college, followed two years later by his brother and then one year later by another brother. I don’t feel prepared at all, in more ways than one. Sure, there are the astronomical financial concerns that keep me up at night, but I am also focused on those looming college entrance exams – the ACT and the SAT, the results of which have a serious impact on the financial side of my concerns as well as to which schools my sons might want to apply. This is where I need the services of a trusted expert who understands this process and, ultimately, who understands my sons’ learning and test-taking styles.
Fortunately, there are many resources in our midst to help alleviate these feelings of heightened anxiety, and a couple of local companies dedicated to providing your son or daughter a decided edge in tackling those placement exams are Get
Smarter Prep and College Tutors at College Nannies + Tutors. Stephen Heiner, founder and president of Get Smarter Prep, the test preparation and college counseling experts, located at 9335 West 87th Street in Overland Park, is extremely passionate about helping students achieve their best in the college testing process and beyond. His desire is to help students achieve the testing score they need to get into the school of their choice. After all, better test scores translate to better schools and ultimately better opportunities in life.
Every Saturday, students can take a free simulated ACT or SAT exam at Get Smarter Prep and from those results, one of their experienced tutors can make an assessment as to what the student’s individual testing needs are and determine upon what areas they need to focus.
“On average, our students see a two to five point increase on their ACT scores, depending upon where they start,” notes Heiner, who emphasized that the best time for students to begin their college test preparation work is at the end of their sophomore year in high school.
“Our standard ACT class is an 11-week program that comes with a midterm and a final exam, which is an actual ACT test. Through this, we measure improvement from midterm to final,” he explains, emphasizing that classes are small, with a four to one student to teacher ratio.
Unique to Get Smarter Prep is their career assessment test, which is used to measure a student’s skills against those in the workplace. “This test measures one’s aptitudes and finds a career match for those,” he says. “It indicates what one may be good at and what one might like or not like. This is a great way to get on track to figuring out what you want to do without wasting years in that effort.”
Get Smarter Prep also offers a three-hour capstone class for graduating seniors in which current college students share their collegiate experiences and provide information that incoming students may benefit from learning.
Located at 14874 Metcalf in Overland Park, College Tutors is an on-site instructional facility that specializes in one-on-one individually focused coaching. Hundreds of students nationwide have been helped through this program and 95 percent of those students have improved their score on average by 2-5 points With a program that addresses various learning types, College Tutors offers a practice ACT test every six to eight weeks and owner Jen Schellhase strongly encourages students take advantage of this opportunity beginning the summer between their sophomore and junior years in high school.
“By taking a simulated exam, students can use their score as a benchmark to see not only what hurdles they may need to overcome with respect to certain sections on the test but all to see what schools in which they are interested are compatible with their test results,” she explains.
Within ten days of taking the practice test, a the Learning Center Manager at College Tutors will go over the results with the student and parents and provide help with opportunity areas within each section of the test “We expose our students to all five sections of the exams that include practice tests, homework and bi-weekly tutoring sessions. We ask our students to practice as many questions as they can in preparing for the test so that they are more comfortable on exam day,” Schellhase states. “This is
definitely a skill set.”
Among the ACT study programs they offer include the CramPrep session, which helps students who are about four weeks out from their actual test date; the EssentialPrep program for those six to seven weeks out from their test date; and the ComprehensivePrep, designed for those students who plan to take the test in about ten to twelve weeks.
“Based on student needs, we typical recommend most students go with the EssentialPrep program,” says Schellhase, who also said they offer college coaching to help students reach academic goals as well as assistance with college applications. JcL