SAT and ACT Test Prep Done Better
Achieve scores that matter—the VEC proven way.
Valle Educational Consultants (VEC) provides services for college preparation and testing expertise. Statistics show that repeated attempts at nationally standardized tests, without skills and strategy development supplemental work, almost never yield optimum score results. VEC facilitates confidence-building practice tests and assembles a comprehensive review, especially areas in need of improvement. Then we discuss with the family and come up with the best plan going forward.
Does this sound like your student?
- Direct student in organized game plan for prospective college online applications.
- Or would your student—with or without test accommodation—benefit from prep that includes learning skills to conquer test anxiety and/or timing challenges? We coach your student in useful tips and tricks that translate to better performance. But that’s just the beginning.
- Does your student require strengthening specific academic areas?
- Do you know if your student is better when comprehending specific questions from the ACT or the SAT? It makes a difference for many test-takers.
All subject area weaknesses are addressed in coaching sessions. Busy schedule? We understand. VEC offers flexible, tech-enabled prep coaching sessions that fit seamlessly into overbooked lives.
The College Essay: Turn that fear into your greatest strength
A well-conceived and written essay says much about your student as a superior applicant and can make all the difference in admissions consideration. With an increasing number of candidates in the prospective talent pool, it’s critical to nail the essay to separate your teen from the pack.
- There can be thousands of essays competing for relatively few freshman slots. The essay is often the tiebreaker among qualified applicants. Show your daughter or son’s intellectual and storytelling skills. Turn the college essay reader who has seen it all into an advocate for your student with a memorable 650 words.
- Your student need not feel overwhelmed through the essay process. Writer’s block creeps in and affects even the most accomplished essayist. VEC has perfected the process, gathered an extensive compilation of samples–and critically employs techniques that guide each student through the draft process. This results in a unique personal statement or essay prompt response.
- Coaching can include any or all of the following: topic brainstorming, strategic differentiation through competitive content, technical draft editing and an in-depth challenge by our helpful editors to direct the student to turn their good draft into great content.
- Writing is not only an art form. A solid base of structure and grammar forms the crux of every college paper for the next four years. High school English classes don’t automatically churn out great writers; VEC coaching takes your student’s growth in this area to the next level.
We make the smorgasbord of admissions assistance simple to understand.
Feeling overwhelmed? Relax. VEC covers it all—or just the problem areas of admissions assistance. Here is a sampling of the areas of emphasis where we can put your family on the proper path:
An overall plan
Everyone needs a plan. Milestones and structure keep “The Plan” on track. We develop a specific and practical admissions plan timeline (with due dates) for each stage’s tasks to be accomplished to keep students accountable for meeting deadlines based on their individual requirements. Every college-bound student needs a resume of accomplishments. VEC can help collect and polish the material into a professional expression of your student’s best facets that admissions will love.
We cultivate a collaborative relationship between the admissions consultant and the student. We listen and gently prod when necessary, but most students are mature enough to understand the future is in their hands. Does the student have special circumstances surrounding his/her high school story? We are experts at helping a student craft an explanation to give compelling, positive perspective, which helps admissions gain insight when evaluating an applicant.
How NOT to look like every other student walking around a campus. Campus visits are a big deal and must be planned, questions written, red flags considered, and much more. VEC knows the Top 10 secrets to nail a campus visit and how to stand out. “Demonstrated Interest” can mean a great deal to universities, and we peek inside the admission algorithms for the ways to go beyond what everyone else is doing.
High-level assessment of interests, aptitudes and values related to guidance on major considerations. We offer templates to help guide students in online independent research. And don’t despair if that one area of “major” interest hasn’t not arrived at age 17. We can guide your student through the maze of possibilities for the “undeclared” student who prefers to sample an assortment of courses.
Individualize “best fit” college search and guidance in considering, selecting and refining a list of schools for application. We have seen the one-and-only-one-school. And scratched our heads over the list that includes 20+ universities. There is no “magic number”. Rather, we ask what does it mean to have a balanced list of prospective schools? While the exact number may change, we help to refine the List; our focus is on “stretch,” “target” and “safety” options. Our template sheets help a student record notes and track proactive interchanges. And, as often happens, when colleges tend to blend together on strengths and question marks, we help the student keep the differences straight.
Student’s competitive value
How to stand out as a prospective student and conduct productive college visits are often a direct result of effective, productive college fair navigation. What is a high school profile and what role does it have in the application process? One of the most informative roles that VEC provides is our ability to show students how they will be perceived compared with their school peers and international competition. For example, a 17-year-old is consumed with how they can fit in the college puzzle through their microscope; we light up the wide, wide world through the wide-angle lens.
Strategic engagement and positioning
VEC guides students in planning and executing a proactive strategic approach with colleges. There are a number of communication techniques in the social media world, and universities have become very adept in ranking level of interest.
Teacher recommendations are not, as some may suspect, a cookie-cutter approach that does not change from year to year. When should you make requests? How? With whom? Our proactive approach shows your student better ways to connect with each teacher, ensuring certain character qualities are highlighted and embellished upon. Is there a sports team coach, employer, ministry leader, or internship mentor who is eager to share valuable insight regarding your student? VEC also guides students on how to engage with these supporters, making each a compelling cheerleader outside your family.
Online college applications pack a tremendous amount of material into one place. What are key components of the apps? Also, remember “The Plan” mentioned at the top? We then direct your student in an organized game plan to generate complete, polished and compelling apps.
ED1, ED2, EA1, EA2, Rolling, REA, RD…Too many acronyms, sure. VEC makes sense of the alphabet soup of potential admissions’ deadlines and guides the family to the best fit for their student.
And when all the heavy lifting is finished, we help you understand the decisions – accept, reject, deferred, waitlisted. VEC explains what to expect, and how to navigate potential wrinkles.
Alternative admission approaches
Gap year (deferred enrollment) and transfer students welcome. Sometimes the college readiness decision involves taking time off. VEC guides the conversation in educating and informing the family regarding the granular details while helping to build the big picture plan. Transferring mid-stream in college presents its own unique challenges. Additionally, VEC guides the student considering a transfer in all critical options and helps plan and execute on the specifics involved with a college move.
College resumes that stand out
In fact, grades and test scores often top the list of important high school benchmarks. But universities look at the whole person—and that means clubs, sports, activities and volunteering. VEC also helps the student expand a resume with well-rounded choices. We then show areas to explore passions as well new horizons, and how to package the stellar applicant for a college.
Colleges examine the four-year progression of classes. VEC discusses the appropriate honors/AP level and electives to position properly for college. While college may seem a long way off from middle school, we can create a personalized, effective game plan out of the gate.
Goal-setting is crucial, but as interests change and new strengths emerge, the plan can be adjusted without angst.
- The creation and annual review of a resume requires suggestions, and challenges, for content positioning partnered with a proactive distribution strategy. A resume is a valuable tool throughout the pre-application process that can be uploaded to many applications. A complete and compelling resume effectively engages admissions officers while reflecting the qualities that best highlight the student’s interests and values.
- How to organize and rank your activities/extracurriculars/jobs/volunteer efforts.
- How to use keywords and video to promote your D1/D2/D3 athletic skills, your fine arts and music talents, or what you learned from your foray into graphic design club or protection of the environment in your bass fishing club. When a college gives you a tweet-sized sound bite for your activity entry, we show how to craft verbiage that hits home.
- How to make the most of ZeeMee. This relatively new innovation gives students an option to create a profile that can include photos, videos, and files. Thus, presenting a fuller picture of their accomplishments to prospective colleges. Universities have taken notice of this tool as more than 200 schools are active in varying degrees in ZeeMee.
- Also, community service is a terrific addition to any resume. It’s highly prized by universities when you show the ability to help others who do not have all the advantages you and your peers enjoy.
- Honors, publications, blogs and academic awards beyond the school walls. Yes, it’s OK to brag a little.
- Have an unusual hobby such as collecting bobbleheads of Supreme Court Justices or enjoy entering your dog in obedience trials? Or perhaps have a skill such as a coding genius? It’s the little things that often register with the resume reader.
- Don’t forget employment. Maybe work kept you from sports or clubs. You’ve worked long hours during high school. Responsibility and teamwork are qualities developed while working, and they demonstrate qualities needed in any college community.
You may feel that there’s a long road ahead, but with VEC as your guide, the anxiety of milestones can be averted.
Interview prep/role play
The College Interview is a big deal. The student needs to be able to weave a confident story about their strengths, accomplishments, dreams, aspirations—and especially, how to spin the positive about an outlier grade or some misstep. Even in the midst of nervousness, the job at hand is to show maturity, self-confidence and great interest in the school that may be potentially home for the next four years. It’s important to realize that a well-prepared student feels the most comfortable in an interview. Furthermore, it shows your polished persona without saying you have these qualities. Actions speak louder than words.
Non-verbal mannerisms and choices matter.
We will discuss what to wear, role-play what to do and what to avoid doing. Also, with technology taking on a much larger role in the admissions process, how to best handle a tech-enabled interview.
Act like you are applying for a million-dollar job—the most lucrative position you will ever get. We also prepare a proactive strategy to get desired results, along with appropriate questions for admissions/faculty/coaches to get answers for the student. Another key point is to think of P.A.P.: Polite, Attentive, Prepared.
What questions to prepare for:
Get your 30-second elevator speech down pat when they ask, “Tell me about yourself.” You’ll also hear, “Why this school?” Specifics from personal research are better than “I like math.” VEC will also help you spin into a positive the inevitable “What are your academic weaknesses?” And in that vein, we use well-honed skills to turn most any negative such as an academic hiccup into a positive.
Sometimes, local alumni conduct interviews. Additionally, we explain their role in the chain of college command. What character qualities are college reps looking for in a prospective student? In fact, it’s critical to weave a threaded common theme to connect the dots for evaluators between college visits, essays, interviews, the application, etc.
Enter in the oh-so-delicate subject of money. Scholarships and financial aid enter into almost every family’s decision. There are also ways to navigate questions with admissions and financial aid officers. Next, how does one convey the importance of money without sounding inappropriate? How do the student and family then compare schools early in the process so expectations are on par and to help rank prospective schools? VEC can prevent disappointment down the road when top schools look to be less generous.
Lastly, no matter what the interaction has been, how to engage after the interview through carefully worded and memorable Thank You notes.
Read our BLOG to find more helpful insights.