How to Become the James Holzhauer of Merit Scholarships

Test PrepWebinar | ACT/SAT Diagnostic

Last week Pearl and were “off,” but still working. Turns out that we had near-identical conversations with separate families, each containing an important lesson.

Each parent had a senior (Class of 2019) child who had managed to get into their top choice colleges.  Our convos went something like this:

Parent:  She got into her top choice school!  But, when I looked at the bill, I freaked out. They barely gave us anything.  Can you help us?

In each case, the parents had either NOT applied for financial aid at all, or had applied incorrectly.

We stepped in and helped where we could.  One parent should qualify for huuuuuuge amounts of grants, but she’s well past the college’s priority financial aid deadline (Nov 15, in this particular case).

The other parent probably won’t get much. When I explained this, she was floored. “What do you mean, we won’t qualify?  I wish I knew this last summer when we applied everywhere!”

The heartbreaker is that, in both cases, we could have helped them completely avoid these unfortunate outcomes, stress and fighting with their kids who each demanded, “Why did you even let me apply to these schools if I can’t go there?”

We’ve seen this every year we’ve been in this crazy business, and I’m sure we’ll continue to see it until we hang it up:  parents starting too late in the process, or focusing on only PART of what they should be doing, oblivious to the rest of the story.

We’re running a different kind of webinar this Wednesday:  5 Things “They” Won’t Tell You About Getting Into College

I’m going to interview the newest member of the Lockwood College Prep team, college advisor Jeff Knapp.  Jeff served as an alumni interviewer for Yale for 15 years and a private college advisor for more than 20 years. We’ve teamed up to create a new college advising program, The Incomparable Applicant Signature Program, for Class of 2020 kids who want a (legal) edge in college admissions.

On the webinar, Jeff and I will chat about:

  • The mortal danger of relying on Naviance and your TRUE odds of admission to a top school
  • The strange reason your guidance counselor may hurt your chances of getting into a top college
  • How to write a college essay that separates you from the pack
  • College interview tips and traps (actual questions)
  • How to become the James Holzhauer of merit scholarships (look him up if you don’t get this reference 🙂
  • More, including your questions

Here’s where to sign up for Wednesday’s class:


For 10th graders

We’re running a mock diagnostic, “hybrid” SAT/ACT this Saturday morning, 20 bucks at the door to cover our materials and other costs.  Here’s where to sign up (10 spots, max):


Colleges don’t care whether you submit the ACT or SAT, which is why we advise kids to figure out “Which Test is Best” and focus exclusively on prepping for that exam.  This way you don’t waste time or spend oodles of money prepping for both, without rhyme or reason.

Marissa, our head tutor, says that, hands down, the summer before 11th grade is THE BEST time to start prepping.

(We’re offering classes this Spring and Summer, all listed at, fyi.)

Alrighty.  Have a great week!

-Andy “B+ Jeopardy Player at Home, Without Pressure” Lockwood

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