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Meet The Team


college planning | act & sat test prep | admissions essays tutoring


We eliminate the confusion and reduce the stress of getting into the college of your dreams.


Not only do we have backgrounds in education, but we're also parents who've helped launch our own kids into some of the world's most prestigious schools. Over the years we've worked with countless students and have identified some of the most successful ways to prepare all kinds of learners for challenging exams.  

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Meet Valerie

ACT/SAT Verbal | ACT Science | College Essays & Supplements

I'm proud to say I'm one of only two tutors to have been personally trained by acclaimed author and tutor Erica Meltzer of The Critical Reader.

Additionally, I have a background in education and worked as a management consultant in publishing for many years. Some of my past projects and positions include:

  • Brainscape: Educational technology Curriculum Designer & Managing Editor for adaptive digital test prep flashcards for AP U.S. History and AP U.S. Government & Politics (available in iTunes).

  • Greenwich1on1: Founder of company that developed K-12 academic, athletic, and arts enrichment programs.

  • Norwalk Youth Symphony: Executive Board, VP Curriculum Development, Organized summer music camp fair and college panel for musicians.

  • Harper Collins & Penguin Books: Publishing consultant who specialized in diagnosing, analyzing, and finding solutions for strategic issues.

I’ve worked with students and families throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan, China, India, and the Caribbean (so far). I enjoy meeting and helping students from all over the world and my foreign language background makes me especially sensitive to the needs of international clients.

As the mother of two teens accepted to Harvard and Yale, I also understand the confusion and responsibility many parents feel about the college process: I've been through it. And thanks to my education background and work as an NYU alumni interviewer, I have a broader view of how testing fits into the picture of a student’s academic profile and college application. When it comes to admissions essays, I can pull a great story out of any student and can help them design a compelling approach to their college application strategy.


Meet Vickie

ACT/SAT | AP | Academic Math

Math has been a focus of mine since college. I studied math at the University of Notre Dame before getting my Master's Degree in Mathematics from Fairfield University. My mathematics education makes me qualified, but it's my deep understanding of concepts and my ability to relate to people that gets my students to stick with me for years.

During my 15 years as a math tutor, I've worked with students of all ages, from young children to mature adults. My goal is always to support you as you build your confidence, while I explain even the most complex concepts in accessible ways. I believe that everyone is capable of learning math; yet, I know that every student is unique and I carefully consider that as we work together. I have ways of helping students manage common issues like math anxiety and technical errors. Working with me can not only help you to improve your grades and test scores, but also help you understand more and struggle less. Together we can help you overcome your math anxiety and perform at your highest possible level!


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Meet Chris Nilsen

Chemistry and engineering have been passions of mine since high school. Why did that test tube get hot? How did two clear solutions produce a blue solid? What’s happening at the molecular level? With an excitement about exploring these questions further, I went on to earn my Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at Columbia University.

After spending a decade in the pharmaceutical industry designing processes to make novel drugs for clinical trials, I wondered how best to find ways to get more people interested in science and engineering. Teaching and tutoring were two solutions - no pun intended! So for the past 10 years, I've been teaching all levels of HS chemistry (including AP) at a New Jersey high school where I also serve as an advisor and coach of Chemistry Olympics and Robotics teams.

Since much of chemistry is based at the molecular level, it can be difficult for students to visualize and understand. I excel at finding ways to explain concepts that can seem very abstract to students by returning to basic concepts and building knowledge in chemistry’s language (formulas and equations) and its visuals (diagrams and graphs). Together we’ll identify your strengths and use those to deal with your gaps, all the while building your confidence and reducing your fear of chemistry!

No matter what type of student you are, applying to college is a daunting process that Valerie makes easier in every way. She is the “real deal.” I know this because my son, a rising sophomore at Yale, was fortunate to work with her as he prepped for the verbal portions of the SAT and needed objective feedback on his college essays. Valerie helped him improve significantly on both. His SAT verbal score rose from a 720 to an 800. She helped him hone his essays’ main ideas and express his thoughts more succinctly, persuasively, and grammatically! Any student would be fortunate to have Valerie in their corner. She is inexhaustibly patient, crystalline clear, and deeply knowledgeable.
— Nancy G. | Ossining, NY

Having bold college dreams is exciting!
But underestimating your need for targeted, experienced support can lead to disappointing results.

We'll help you succeed.

  • Accurate Analysis

    The reason we can help you get fantastic results is because we'll thoroughly (and quickly) evaluate your academic strengths, blind spots, grades, goals, and interests. Good ACT/SAT diagnostics are KEY to effective and efficient test prep.

  • Customized Strategy

    Based on our preliminary analysis, we'll know exactly what you need to work on to make significant improvements as quickly as possible. We'll create a personalized tutoring plan adapted to your unique needs.

  • Personalized Plan

    Every student has a personal starting point, individual knowledge strengths and gaps, a distinct learning style, and particular college goals—yet, so many test prep companies provide one-size-fits-all services. We don’t. Our tutoring sessions and college essay guidance are structured to get measurable results that truly fit you.

  • Efficient, Targeted Preparation

    We have deep experience teaching all kinds of kids with varying learning styles and knowledge gaps. The adolescent brain has patterns and pitfalls that we know how to navigate and unlock. We use the most current test-prep materials and understand how to motivate, instill confidence, and coach young adults toward their goals with an approach that feels relaxed, yet structured.

  • Time To Celebrate

    When our clients get their acceptance letters and scholarship awards, we couldn't be more thrilled! One of the most rewarding parts of our work is getting upbeat letters from parents who feel happily relieved about their child's increased test scores, grades, and confidence.

He received a full score in the grammar section with only 1 wrong! He is very happy with this result! He is very appreciative of your thorough explanations and would like to continue to work with you on the college essay/application process.
— Nancy Chua | Taipei Taiwan | New York, NY