Getting into the right college is often the first step to pursuing your dreams in life. Naturally, this can make the process a little stressful.
Don't worry. I'm here to help.
I'm not ashamed to call myself an admissions nerd. From standardized tests like the ACT and GRE to entrance essays of every stripe, I have a passion for helping students achieve the outcomes they deserve. I've been a tutor since my undergraduate days at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. After school I served as a College Access Coach with Americorps. I specialize in both the language and mathematical sections of the ACT, SAT, and GRE. I like to approach exams as challenges and puzzles that can be beat, rather than intimidating tests that measure a student's worth -- they don't!
In my spare time I enjoy attending music concerts and cycling around all of the gorgeous lakes in Minneapolis. This fall I will begin graduate studies at Georgetown University in Washington, DC to continue a career in public service.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Reed College - Bachelors, Political Science and Government
Graduate Degree: Georgetown University - Current Grad Student, Public Policy
ACT Composite: 34
GRE Quantitative: 163
GRE Verbal: 166
I'm into live music, hiking, cycling, and am an unabashed political junkie. Travel is an integral part of my life as well, and I recently returned from a 5 month voyage through South America!
AP US History
High School English
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Learning takes place in environments that are relaxed and engaging, and so that's what I foster with my students. My philosophy is that if the material is kept interesting and the mood kept light, students will best master strategies to beat tests. Every test can be defeated with a thoughtful, critical approach.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In the first session it's important to get a sense of who the student is as a person and as a learner. We work to make a plan and schedule that takes into consideration the individual's strengths, personality, and learning style. And then we get down to business!
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
To become an independent learner, one has to have the strategies and motivation to confront academic challenges. Together we develop mastery of these strategies, while always remembering the goals we're striving for.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I think it's easy to stay motivated when you're having a good time, so I work to maintain a laid-back atmosphere. It's important to also keep in mind students' end goals, whether it is a particular school or program, so they remember what they're working so hard for.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Einstein said insanity was trying the same thing and expecting different results! To keep students sane when difficulty arises, it's all about changing up the approach. How can we restate the problem? What's another angle? There's no single approach that works for all students, so work until we find the one that works for you.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Most students struggling with reading comprehension are trying to read carefully and thoughtfully. In life this is great, on a timed test it can be disastrous! Instead, I focus on reverse engineering questions, and only reading the parts that add points to your score.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The first strategy is to change a student's perspective on what a test is. It isn't a measure of one's intelligence. It's simply a measure of one's ability to take that particular test! From this point of view, we move forward understanding the exam as a limited number of challenges we can meet.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Whenever possible I keep the material relevant to the student's interests. This might mean understanding compound sentences by looking at Beyoncé lyrics!
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Like learning to drive a car, I'm the instructor in the passenger seat. I'm ready to advise and jump in when there's trouble, but the more time a student spends in control and explaining their thinking to me the deeper their comprehension will be.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Confidence is a byproduct of success, and so it's important to meet students at the right skill level. The first step is finding problems that are challenging but doable, and then conquering them!
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I talk to students about their strengths, areas of concern, and desires. Additionally I administer a practice diagnostic that I can go over to see exactly what needs to be addressed.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I adapt to my student's needs by analyzing their particular learning style. Some students thrive by going carefully over a stack of problem sets. Others learn best when we're drawing wild diagrams in 3 colors on the whiteboard--I do both!
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use test prep books, a white board, and sock puppets when necessary. Unfortunately they're not usually necessary, but it's good to be prepared.