Your free thirty-minute consultation with Open Door Education’s Intake Team is the crucial first step in your family’s tutoring journey. In order for Open Door Education to help your student navigate their path to academic success, we need to get to know both them and you. It’s important to us that both you and your student attend this meeting so that we can best understand your student’s needs while accounting for all perspectives. To ensure that the consultation is a positive experience for you and your student, we’ll discuss the meeting with you beforehand via email to address any potentially sensitive topics or delicate aspects of your student’s academic history and school experience.
Once we are face-to-face (either in-person or via Zoom), we will start by reviewing your student’s current course load. If you are seeking college admissions test prep for your student, we will likely begin by focusing on their experience in mathematics – including their current subject level, challenges, and any patterns over time. This will help us identify gaps in their math background, which your student’s tutor can then prioritize during their sessions. We will also discuss your student’s reading habits. Do they read for pleasure during their free time? Are there certain types of books or articles that tend to be most challenging for them? By understanding your student’s reading habits, their tutor can better provide them with strategies and assignments that ensure that they are well-prepared for Test Day.
While grades and general academic performance are important, your consultation is also about getting to know your student as a person. We’ll ask them about their life outside of academics to learn about their personality through their own passions – from extracurricular activities including clubs and athletics to their unstructured hobbies and their aspirations for the future. By learning about who they are and what’s important to them, we are able to understand how their tutor can best relate with them, and we can be sure to connect you with a tutor who will be a terrific match for your student.
If you are meeting with us about SAT/ACT test preparation, our next step will be reviewing your student’s diagnostic reports. By analyzing their score reports, we can identify patterns relating to timing, specific content areas, and even question format. Our diagnostic reports frame this information in such a way that students feel empowered by “room for improvement” and not disheartened by “wrong” answers. Our diagnostic reports also include a post-test questionnaire to elicit student feedback about their impressions of their testing experience. Equipped with this knowledge, we will help establish a tutoring plan that is just right for your student, ensuring that their test preparation is targeted to address their specific challenges and capitalize on their strengths.
We typically recommend starting a tutoring program about 8-10 weeks out from Test Day to facilitate your student’s greatest chance of success, but we can also help you come up with longer or shorter prep plans that accommodate your student’s busy schedule.
Your student may have questions about the additional workload of preparing for the SAT or ACT. They should expect to meet with their tutor once each week and complete 2-3 hours of homework per session. Academic work should always come before tutoring homework, so students may need to plan ahead to ensure that they have sufficient time to complete their schoolwork and their SAT or ACT assignments. If your student is struggling to complete the workload on a regular basis, we will work with them to adjust and reprioritize in order to establish a sustainable study plan.
At Open Door Education, we firmly believe that each student is unique, and therefore each student’s test preparation process should be unique, tailored to meet their specific needs. Our programs are entirely catered to the individual student – you won’t find any canned one-size-fits-all curriculum or long-term obligations in our offerings. We will advise you on the best route forward, helping to develop the right plan for your student. All of our test preparation programs are flexible and pay-as-you-go, so that your student’s process is nimble enough to accommodate their busy life and evolving schedule.
During your consultation, we will also cover some of our best practices for preparing for the SAT or ACT. These include:
- Once you have selected which exam is right for you, plan to take the test twice, but allow room in the calendar for a third attempt as a back-up.
- Take a short break after the first test, then resume tutoring while allowing time for four-to-six additional sessions before your student’s next test.
- Allow for the possibility of a third-and-final test in the fall of senior year.
- Sign up for a second test when you register for your first to ensure that even if the first one is cancelled, you are not reliant on a make-up exam date.
Having helped thousands of students navigate admissions testing over the past ten years, we have found time and again that students who actively engage in the tutoring process will get the most out of it. When students are open about their challenges, thorough in completing their homework, receptive to trying new strategies, and diligent about learning from their mistakes, they not only see dramatic score improvement but also grow as learners who develop a mature understanding of how sustained hard work pays off. For more information about how to get the most out of your tutoring, read our blog post on the topic here.