SAT Preparation – Forthcoming Geneva Course

Susan Moldow, whohas her own educational consultancy, is running an SAT preparation course in March.  Here are details from the email she sent me: (and here is the flyer – 2012 March La Chat)

There will be a  SAT preparation course at the International School of Geneva in a few weeks on Saturday, March 24th and Sunday, March 25th.   There are still a few spots left.  Attached please find a flyer with details.  The course has been taught at the International School of Geneva and at other schools internationally over the past ten years.

Course information:

My course is focused on test taking strategies as well as content in math, reading comprehension, vocabulary, and writing/editing for the SAT’s three core sections. Students receive strategy and question practice both days of the course, and are encouraged to take at least one full length test after the course.  As repetition and practice are key to score improvement, students should plan on practicing/honing their strategies with further work on their own or with me in small groups or privately via Skype after the course. 

My experience and other services:
In addition to working with students in the U.S. on test preparation on a regular basis for the past 15 years, I have helped students internationally (including students at the International School of Geneva) to improve their SAT scores.  Please see my website at for additional information about my experience with and passion for helping students attain success on college admission testing.  In addition to teaching the course, I hope to offer private tutoring during the week of March 25th when I am in town. 
I am also available via Skype (online) for one-on-one tutoring before or after the course as my office is in the United States.  Skype tutoring provides the same level of teaching and strategy students receive in an in-person meeting or class, with the added benefits of personalized instruction.  I can provide this service over a few or many months at one, two or more sessions per week depending upon a student’s time frame for taking the test and his/her abilities.
— Students should let me know if they would like to enroll in the course (and in the supplemental SAT course/small group session on Monday, March 26th for additional review of SAT concepts and strategies) as soon as possible.
–Payment can be made via PayPal on my website:

US Universities – the Essay!

Advice from Kathy Compagnon –

When you look over the topics of essays, you will probably feel daunted and a bit at a loss. You’re 17 or 18, you haven’t done anything to save the world: what can you possibly say? Fear not. You have lots to say; you have to be brutally honest with yourself, unembarrassed about revealing yourself, a bit creative, but never phoney, and willing to brag without sounding obnoxious or pretentious.

Bottom line: these schools want to know that you have an interesting mind and a lot of intellectual curiosity. They view learning as a two-sided affair, an exchange or a social contract. They know what they have to offer you; they want to know what you have to offer in return. You have to convince them that you’re worth it.

While all the topics sound slightly different, they are all asking basically the same question: What makes you different and intriguing. The answer comes not so much from what you’ve done, but from how you THINK about it, how your mind works. What you write about might be simple and banal (an argument with a friend, someone you met on a train, tripping in the hallway); what makes it interesting is what you learned from it and how you express yourself.

A good way to start is to make three columns:

Column one: The school’s questions.

Column two: Adjectives that honestly and genuinely describe you. Think in terms of what you really want them to know about you.

Column three: events or activities that mean something to you (sports, school, activities, multiculturalism, languages, friends). For general activities, try to find an aspect you can focus on.

Match up the columns.

Writing: You want your reader to want to read your essay. Remember they are reading literally thousands of them. Take pity on them and write something that is a pleasure to read. By doing so, you will make yourself an interesting candidate. It is often wise to start with a short narrative scene to draw them in. Then build on the basis of that scene a larger statement about yourself, using the ideas developed in your column work. The narrative part will also give validity to your larger statements.

Give yourself time to write several drafts. Have other people you trust read it, preferably someone familiar with US universities, but remember this is YOUR statement. Make sure you believe what you are saying, and that even if your accomplishments sound somewhat embellished, the overall image is indeed you.

US – Early Decision and Early Action

Advice from Kathy Compagnon –

For most schools, the complete application must be in their hands by December 30 of the year before you plan to attend. Check dates for each school.

You will receive a decision by early April, and it will NOT depend on your baccalaureate results. Many schools offer Early Decision or Early Action programs.

Typically, for early decision, a student applies to ONE school, his or her clear first choice, the application is in by November 1, and a decision (accepted, deferred or rejected) made by mid-December. If accepted, the student is obliged to enrol and must withdraw applications to all other universities; if deferred, the student maintains that application and applies to other universities in December. It is a smart option if you are absolutely certain of your choice and if your school record is clearly superior in light of the university’s standards. In general, acceptance percentages work in favour of early admissions candidates, so give Early Decision some serious thought.

Early Action or Notification programs follow the same timetable, but the decision is not binding. If your heart is set on an Early Action school, use that option. It will still improve your chances. And acceptance makes for a very merry Christmas holiday.