Accepting applications for 9th and 10th graders. Limited availability for 11th graders.

Timed Practice Tests: a Crucial Part of SAT/ACT Preparation

Uncategorized Sep 04, 2023

Learning content and efficient strategies is an important part of the test prep process; however, taking real, timed, practice tests is an often overlooked – but crucial – part of this process!


Build familiarity with the test format

Use real practice tests to get familiar with the different types of questions, the structure, and the format of the SAT or ACT. Familiarize yourself with the instructions and rules. You don’t want any surprised on test day, and you want to feel at ease as you take the real test


Figure out your weaknesses

After taking a practice test, look at your results to see what you need to work on (and what you don’t need to work on). Let your results guide your studying, so you know what rules and strategies to study to improve.


Get accustomed to pacing

The last thing you want to do is to stare at the clock on test day! This wastes time and distracts you. Taking timed practice tests will allow you to build an innate...

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Why Take the SAT in a Test-Optional World?

I get this question almost every time I send an email about our SAT and ACT tutoring options, and yesterday was no exception.  The question:

"Do you even need to submit your SAT or ACT anymore?

The answer, my friend, is blowin' herein...

There is a difference between APPLYING test-optional, and GETTING IN test-optional.

Colleges are a little cute about this. They don't readily release their stats on the number of admitted students who submitted their scores.

They do, however, brag about how many students with great or perfect scores they rejected, like Stanford did last year.

How do you decide whether to submit your scores?  Here are my thoughts and hunches:

  • Test-optional policies were designed to increase minority enrollment at selective colleges.  The increase, so far:  a big fat 1%
  • Admissions offices used test-optional policies to recruit other classes of students, in addition to underrepresented minorities:  legacies, athletes, international...
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SAT/ACT Promo Ending

Uncategorized Jul 18, 2023

Greetings from Cape Cod.  I'll be quicker than greased lightening:  our online and in-person SAT classes start tomorrow, Tuesday, and Wednesday (7/18 and 7/19), respectively. If you enroll now you'll save a cool $100.

Just go here for the online class and here for the in-person, group tutoring class -- use coupon code CRUSH2023 for either.  (Just wait for the shopping cart price to update before you check out.)

Higher scores mean greater odds of admission, even in a so-called test optional world -- and better chances of winning scholarships.

Summer is the best time to prep, there aren't any school-year distractions.

Sign up today!

-Andy Lockwood

P.S.  Yes, we tutor for the ACT too.  Everything is listed on our test prep website:

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Summer of Affirmative Essay Action

Something funny dawned on me the other day when I was preparing my notes for our upcoming bootcamp session.

A few months ago, the college advisor multiverse had their you-know-whats in a bunch over the upcoming, predicted use of Chat GPT for college essays. The sky was falling. But now it's like this never happened.

These days, all the buzz is about the Supreme Court's recent decision that the current practice of race-conscious admissions violates the Constitution. Current practice.

I want you to understand something: the Court did not shut the door on underrepresented minorities at the country's elite colleges. Instead, the majority suggested that colleges must recruit differently. Individually, not based on race.

One of the two obvious methods we all expect college admissions departments to implement has to do with supplemental essays. That likely means that there will be more opportunities for students to talk about their cultural and ethnic "lived experiences".

(I can't believe...

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The SAT and ACT and affirmative action

It's anyone's guess just "how" diverse colleges will be in 2024-25. My gut feeling is that admissions officers will come up with creative ways to continue to recruit underrepresented minorities and ethnicities, and things won't look that much different.

How will they do this, without getting sued?

My best guess is by using test-optional policies to admit under-resourced students who don't have the ability to hire tutoring. This way, a student with superior scores but who isn't economically challenged can't claim that students with lower scores took his spot and that violates rules, regulations, the Constitution and scripture.

My next guess is that, if a student is not low income or under-resourced, they will not benefit from test-optional the way things worked last year and in previous admissions cycles. Again, this is a guess but it stands to reason.

This doesn't change any of the advice I have given my 1:1 clients for years: get your SAT or ACT as high as humanly possible, then...

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So Now What? College Admissions

Last week the viewership of Fox 5 New York had their lives enriched by two, not one appearances by Yours Truly regarding the Supreme Court rulings on 1. affirmative action in college admissions and 2. President Biden's loan forgiveness program.

(Lockwood would not comment on a rumored talk show deal being in the works.)

Hardy har har.  Enough comedy bits. Here's the short version of the advice I tried to impart last week on the air.   

Re:  affirmative action and diversity in college

  According to researcher and author Richard Kahlenberg, 71% of Black, Latino and Native American students at Harvard … come from college-educated homes with incomes above the national median.  Assuming this is basically true, are these applicants the ones we should boost? Or does this argument miss a point that I don't see. (I'm genuinely asking, reply to this email if you'd like.)

  Diversity is not dead.  Colleges still...

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How to Get Into College Today

#acceptance rate Apr 28, 2023

Tutoring | Appeal Your Financial Aid | Applications Bootcamp

Have you seen how ridiculously hard it is to get into college today?

Harvard reportedly admitted 3.4% of its applicants.  Penn:  6%.  Cornell:  9%.  Northeastern, 6.7%

Yes, Northeastern.  I admit that I, despite 20+ years of college advisor experience, have a hard time swallowing that one.  Back in the day when I was a high school senior, Northeastern was where kids went who couldn't otherwise get into college. 

I know how snobby that sounds, but in 1986 the admit rate was NINETY-FREAKING PERCENT.

Stats and history aside, what does all of this mean if you have an 11th grader (Class of 2024) kiddo?

It means you better be on your game.  Not only in terms of your application and essays, but more important, your college list.

Do not fall prey to the impulse to apply only to Rear Window Sticker Colleges, even if they are highly ranked, feature top football...

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The Murdaugh Method of College Admissions

Uncategorized Mar 08, 2023

I wrote about this before but it's worth repeating:  61% of high school seniors surveyed recently admitted to lying on their college applications.

Lies about race and ethnicity, extracurricular activities, internships, made up stuff on their essays, you name it.

As a non-statistician, I don't know how accurate the study was, but I was comforted a bit by another finding: 

30% of the liars were caught.  Consequences included having their acceptances rescinded.

Putting aside my misgivings about the numbers in the survey, my main takeaway was this:

 Now you know your competition!

It's not just celebrities, actors and ultra rich families who fabricate college applications.  Apparently, there's a ton of "normies" who will say or do anything to get an edge over their competition.

Or, more accurately, what they THINK is an edge over their competition.

Getting into college is partially about grades, SATs or ACTs and other academic factors.  But it's also about...

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What High School Classes Look Good for College Admissions?

Uncategorized Feb 24, 2023

College advisor Andy Lockwood gives his thoughts on what classes kids should take to give themselves the best shot at getting into the colleges they're dreaming of.

What 11th graders, 10th graders and younger should do re: extracurricular activities, prepping for the SAT or ACT, college fairs, more!

Resource mentioned for appealing financial aid:

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Which extracurriculars "suck," which ones "sell?"

Uncategorized Feb 21, 2023

Summer Bootcamp

When I interview students for my private 1:1 college advisory program, I ask them which two-three extracurricular activities take up most of their time.

Frequently, the mom interjects (Red Flag Alert!) and launches into a recitation of 5-7 items, which typically include, at the top of the list, National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society and sometimes another society.

Do you know how hard it is for a guy like me not to smirk at that?  Probably not, so...

Here's a clue:  when my daughter Lizzie was inducted into the National Honor Society a few years back, I not-so-silently took a quick headcount of the auditorium.

Then I turned to her, and said "Congratulations for making it into the top 70% of your high school!"  

Now THAT's good parenting.

But she got the point and agreed:  honor societies are participation trophies, designed to make everyone feel "included", and I guess, motivated.  Although I don't understand how motivated or...

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