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Testing/Test Prep

What’s so great about Collegewise’s Academic Services?

Picture of Stefanie Toye
By Stefanie Toye on March, 28 2022 | 7 minute read

During calls, presentations, and discussions with our families, we are often asked, “Why should I book tutoring and/or test preparation for the ACT/SAT with Collegewise? Collegewise Academic Services (CAS) is unique from other tutoring/test prep places for many reasons. As 19th century poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning writes, “let me count the ways...” 

1. Our philosophy is different.  

When helping students prepare  for an exam, we focus on both strategy and content, whereas other organizations focus solely on the “tricks” of the test. Both strategy and content are necessary for maximizing student scores, and in many instances, applying the “tricks” requires a strong foundation in the material of the exam itself. As one of my greatest art teachers said when we were studying, you need to know the rules before you break them. 

We also take the long view beyond testing: we want to instill knowledge in our students that will take them through the tests and beyond. For example, instructors try to create context—your child needs to understand good grammar if they’re going to be writing emails or texts as a future CEO or IG influencer. Another example: thorough knowledge of Algebra II is needed for many disciplines, including business, economics, engineering, nursing, medicine, and data science. The content found within the tests we teach—the SAT, the ACT, the PSAT, the GRE, the GMAT—is found elsewhere in life.  

In other words, we don’t just “teach to the test” even when we are teaching straight to an exam. We’ve found that some of our students perform better in their academic classes as a result of their test prep training.  

2. Our instructors are top-notch.

We could go on for days about our fabulous tutoring team. But, we don’t have that time, so here are some quick facts. A majority of our instructors have graduate degrees (16 master’s degrees, 1 PhD, and 2 ABD), and every one of our instructors has a bachelor's degree. It is more difficult to become a CW instructor than it is to get into the most competitive college in the US--our hiring rate is less than 3% of our applicants. We’ve been doing this collectively for a LONG time: our instructors' average tenure with CAS is over 5 years.

I’ve been tutoring since I was 6 years old (true story). I can tell you from personal experience that I’m a much better tutor today than I was 20 years ago. Or even 5. Every one of our instructors is at the 95th or above percentile on the ACT/SAT test sections they instruct. Most of them are at the 99th percentile. We offer professional development for our tutors. Past topics have included updates regarding major test changes (remember the SAT redesign in 2016? So do we.), working with students who have learning differences, and making the most of our proprietary student management system, Wise(r)Net.  

3. We tell you when you’re done with us. Seriously. 

When we offer academic, study skills, or test prep support, we don’t want to be a crutch for your students, so we help them in their journeys to academic independence (or as close to it as we can get them). Nothing makes us happier than when a student says to us, I think I can handle this on my own from here. That means we’ve done our job: we’ve directed them to resources they need and we’ve taught them the strategies that they’re ready to go  practice on their own. 

We DO NOT recommend some of the tasks our competitors do: 100 hours of tutoring (yikes!), taking an official test for a baseline score (um....there are lots of free ACT and SAT tests out there, so save yourself some money and time), or testing more than 3 times (generally...there are exceptions). We also don’t recommend that students take  a full practice test every week, since the students become more concerned with the scores at that point rather than understanding the material and strategies. Our instructors all have classroom instructional experience: their work within CW is an extension of a lifetime spent in the world of education. 

4. You (and your student) get access to not just one tutor, but the whole Collegewise Hive.  

If you’re already doing college consulting with one of our counselors, we can share files and information seamlessly. Our tutors can see counselor notes and the counselors can see those of the tutors’ (who can also see each other's) through our proprietary system, Wise(r)net. I know that I often reach out to my students’ counselors, so I get a sense as to where our shared student is and where they need to go. I communicate when I have concerns, and they do, too. Your tutor also has access to a standardized curriculum, as well as centralized management. In the rare case you feel the assigned tutor is not a good match, reach out to our office and we’ll make it right. Our tutors have access to each other, to the counselors, and to professional development so they stay on top of the current testing trends and educational news. 

Our tutors are provided with standardized training, materials, access to a proprietary student management system, and report to a central office (unlike a local tutor). We hold our tutors to high standards and support them by providing them with training and continued professional development. You’re not just getting one tutor when you use Collegewise—much like our counseling side, you’re getting a brain trust of tutors. They can reach out to other tutors, their managers, or other divisions if they have questions. They have access to Slack where they can engage with a variety of Collegewise employees and ask questions related to the college admissions process on a broader scale, or whatever they might have a question about.  

5. Our results speak for themselves. 

We walk the walk. Our methods work: the average ACT score increase is 4+ points across test sections (Composite average) and average SAT score increase is 110+ points. To maintain these high standards, one member of our instructional staff takes every test we teach every year, including the SAT and ACT, to make sure our curricula are tied closely to the exams we teach. We attend outside educational events from leaders in higher education, as well as internal professional development so that we can determine where we can get even better.  

6. We care. 

We embrace the work we do, and it shows both in our retention and our outcomes. Simply put: we care. We care about each other as colleagues, and that translates into our care for your children. We often reach out if we haven’t heard from you (or them, which is fairly common) because we want to celebrate your student’s successes and offer continuing support. We have teaching backgrounds and, in many cases, education degrees and/or certification, showing how invested we are in the craft of teaching and working with students. Not so sure about this? Schedule a 20-30 minute consultation call with one of our CAS Experts: it’s complimentary and you’ll learn a lot about college admissions and tests, and we’ll learn more about you, your child, and what your goals are. 

 


About Us: With more than twenty years of experience, Collegewise counselors and tutors are at the forefront of the ever-evolving admissions landscape. Our work has always centered on you: the student. And just like we’ve always done, we look for ways for you to be your best self - whether it’s in the classroom, in your applications or in the right-fit college environment. Our range of tools include counselingtest prepacademic tutoring, and essay management, all with the support of our proprietary platform, leading to a 4x higher than average admissions rates. 

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- February 28, 2022

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