|A mock tester in the foreground and a group class (with two students) in the background with Melissa, a Foley Prep Pro|
January 5, 2020
The past three days have been very big enrollment days here at Foley Prep. If you are brand new to the program, thank you and welcome aboard! If you are an ongoing or former client, I truly appreciate your business and any feedback you might have along the way.
Eric, Jeff, Steve and I have been trying to keep up with the phone calls, emails, and texts flowing in from new clients. The rest of this week promises to be more of the same, so please be patient with us. We take a consultative approach with our clients, and new clients take extra time to get oriented. Please reply to this email if you would like me to call you – talking to parents and tutoring is all I am doing each day this week. I don’t want to miss anyone who wants to chat for any reason.
Juniors: now is the time to enroll in Foley Prep
Because we have capped all group sessions at 5 students to maintain social distancing, some of the sections will fill up by January 11th. Also, our 1-on-1 tutoring availability is getting very limited, with some tutors almost maxed out. The March SAT and April ACT are traditionally the most popular test dates, but with all of the canceled tests and school closing issues, we expect the juniors to be with us throughout the summer.
Pro tip for kids looking at top colleges: reach out to a few professors teaching subjects you are interested in at your target schools and see whether any would be open to you auditing a class meeting or two. It’s as simple as inviting you to the Zoom class meeting. The worst they can do is say “no” so don’t be shy.
Our Progressive SAT and ACT classes are starting this month, and we have capped the maximum number of kids at 5 to allow for social distancing. We will run these sections with even with just 2 kids, so whichever way, your child will get a lot of individual attention. Please have a look at the new FoleyPrep.com/Progressive SAT-ACT page now if 1) you’re interested in a set schedule with a cohort of kids and 2) your child is scoring 22-27 ACT or 1050-1350 SAT and hopes for a bump of +7 ACT or +220 SAT points (our average gains).
Present situation in education: not good
You don’t need me to tell you that the pandemic has been devastating to a great many kids’ learning progress, especially those in under-resourced households. Zoom learning is an invitation for kids to learn new ways to
cheat game their way around doing hard work. Without rigorous in-person learning and in-school testing, kids have become mentally flabby, which shows in the disparity between high grades and lower-than-expected SAT and ACT (and SSAT) scores. In-person learning has been drained of the all-important, spontaneous, conversational feedback kids give to one another and exchange with teachers. Kids are desperate to return to normal school conditions.
Advice to Juniors and Sophomores: here is some general advice that isn’t all that different from what I’ve been telling folks every January for the past decade or so, in no particular order:
- Honestly assess where you stand academically. With increased grade inflation due to the pandemic, this is not easy to do. KhanAcademy.org has diagnostic assessments for many subjects, and Foley Prep has benchmark assessment tools that can measure where you are within accepted learning standards. The SAT and ACT are meant to be proxies for college readiness, and our mock tests are good ways to motivate kids to improve.
- Start planning for summer. Assuming that life gets somewhat back to normal, plan for a mix of recreational and enriching experiences. Mental, physical, and spiritual health should be at the top of the agenda (academic achievement flows from these). Even the steadiest children have felt setbacks in this socially-distanced world. Foley Prep will have a range of academic, test prep, and other small group courses to help kids get back on track, so be on the lookout for these to be announced in February.
- Connect with your teachers. No one is happy about the situation, teachers included. It’s very easy to find flaws in your teachers, but a little grace can go a long way, so if you find a way to be helpful and human with your teachers, everyone can benefit. A compliment about something small – some feedback that a certain topic interested you or some words that helped you understand – can go a long way.
A brief word to families of sophomores: most students prep hard for the SAT/ACT over the summer between sophomore and junior years. We have seen that students at prep schools with savvy counselors start SAT/ACT prep during the spring of sophomore year. Because everyone is different, my advice would be to talk to us at Foley Prep in the next few weeks to begin formulating a plan.
Thanks for your time. Please do not hesitate to reply to this email or call/text 732-412-1416 if you have any questions at all.
Ron Foley, M.S.
Doctoral Candidate, Rutgers University
Tenured Professor of Mathematics, Middlesex College
Member HECA, NJACAC, NACAC, NCTM, MAA, NAS, AMATCYNJ
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