Each coaching package is tailored to our clients’ specifications, and is designed to enable students to become the most compelling, distinctive applicants they can be. Some clients begin our college coaching program as early as 9th and 10th grade; they are paired with a coach who will serve as guide, confidant, writing tutor, and all-around mentor all the way through to the end of the process in the winter or spring of senior year. To determine the best time to start your coaching, please contact us.
We encourage prospective students and parents to reach out to us as they consider this process, as we are happy to make suggestions over the phone. The plan of attack differs depending on what year of high school you are in, what your strengths and weaknesses are as an applicant, and what the logistics of your situation are. That said, no matter where you are starting, we typically recommend an initial meeting, which includes an evaluation of: your grades and anecdotal reports from school, your standardized testing, your extracurricular activities, and your summer activities. After the first meeting, you will receive an initial set of recommendations from your coach.
We always look at your academics first. Since your transcript is, bar none, the most important component of your application, your coach’s first job is to help you excel in your academic coursework. If you’re struggling with a subject, he or she will pair you with one of our academic tutors in that subject. You’ll never have to go through the hassle of finding a supplemental tutor yourself; we’ll take care of it for you, and we’ll never say, “We don’t offer that.” Most importantly, you’ll always be certain of working with a tutor who is not only an expert in the material, but loves teaching it. For an overview of our academic tutoring program, please follow this link.
Essay Writing Skills
Writing is the core of any successful college application. Regardless of your written ability, one of the first things your coach will do is evaluate your writing to see whether supplemental work could help you to improve it. This is not just to help you with your application essays, but also to make sure you’re ready for college-level writing. It’s so easy to forget, in the tumult and stress of the application process, that the hardest thing about college isn’t actually getting in—it’s excelling when you get there.
Although some writing coaching is central to the process for any applicant, it’s especially relevant to international students. For non-native speakers of English, we suggest starting on the college process early with our tailored English for College tutorials. For an overview of this approach, please view our English page. We also offer more traditional ESL approaches and tutoring in expository writing.
In the fall of your sophomore or junior year, we will work with you to develop a plan for PSAT preparation. While many students don’t take the PSAT seriously, we generally encourage our students to create a preparation plan and study for this test. Why? Because it’s the perfect opportunity to develop your test-taking skills and build your confidence while the stakes are still relatively lower than they will be for the SAT or ACT. Subsequently, we can use your performance on the PSAT to formulate an initial plan for your SAT or ACT preparation.
Subject Test and AP Exam Preparation
Preparation for subject tests and AP exams requires extensive content knowledge combined with test-taking skills. Cambridge Coaching subject tutors, who are frequently also college-level teachers, are perfectly suited to help you beat these tests. Once you and your coach create a testing plan, he or she can make suggestions about what kind of subject tutoring might make sense for you.
Extracurricular and Summer Program Advising
What you do outside of school tells admissions officers an enormous amount about what kind of personality and interests you’ll bring to their campus, so choose wisely! Extracurricular pursuits are an essential component of a strong application, and frequently, students have questions about managing their overloaded schedules. Our coaches – who were once overscheduled applicants themselves – will provide guidance to help you figure out where best to direct your energies. Meanwhile, summers are a great time to immerse yourself in the things you care the most about, whether it’s a foreign language, entrepreneurship, or community work. Thus, Cambridge Coaching carefully gathers information about the best summer programs of all types, from study abroad trips to dance intensives. Your coach will work with you to find a program or project where you can truly explore the things that you’re passionate about.
Around the late spring of junior year, your coach will sit down with you and your family to discuss the list of schools you’ll apply to. We are prepared to help craft a list from scratch or provide constructive feedback on the list that your high school gives you. Your coach will do extensive research in order to help you craft a list of reach, match, and safety schools that works for you. Because we draw our tutors from the top universities in the country, Cambridge Coaching has an unparalleled degree of institutional knowledge about what life is actually like at the most selective colleges.
Application and Essay Preparation
For most high school students, the personal essay is a critical introduction to public presentation. How can you fit yourself into 650 words? What does it even mean to put yourself into words? It actually sounds a little weird - and it can feel that way. At Cambridge Coaching, we try to turn this highly pressured task into a memorable opportunity to see who you are and where you are going. Our carefully designed approach is both sensitive and structured, and we have found that it allows high school students to produce their best essays. Starting in the summer before your senior year, you and your coach will get to work sketching out, writing, and polishing your essays. You’ll go through drafts, revisions, and editing, all under the watchful eye of an expert writer. By the time you submit, you’ll have a set of essays you can be truly proud of.
College Interview Preparation
Interviews, whether on-campus or with alumni, can really strengthen your application. Remember: each reader usually takes between 8 and 10 minutes with your application, so meeting admissions officers or alumni face-to-face really helps the college get a better sense of who you are. Before you meet your interviewer, your coach will help you prepare to show yourself at your best.