The SAT. The ACT. The SAT AND the ACT? OR just the ACT?
Wait, there's a NEW SAT?!
So…SAT, ACT, and/or the Subject Tests (which ones?) and/or A.P. tests?
Is there a new ACT? What's the difference?
Which do I take? How many times? I heard some colleges "superscore"?
Ugh. Yes. Standardized testing. Test anxiety. Information overload. It's a whole thing.
I'll make this simple. Because it suited my particular skills and background, I spent about five years working for a couple of test-prep companies, and I've continued tutoring on my own using my personalized approach to the material over the past several years.
Families often opt to hire me in this capacity because they'd prefer to have one go-to person for all things in the realm of college preparation.
I tutor students for the current version of the SAT (administered through December 2015), the ACT, and the Subject Test in Literature. In special cases, I'll work with younger students applying to independent schools on the ISEE, and with older students applying to graduate schools on the GRE.
I can assist with ALL components of the above exams (including the math!). Students interested in the new SAT should go here for free guidance. Students who just plain hate testing should go here to view the ever-growing list of schools that don't require test scores.
My aim: to arm students with simple strategies, according to their individual needs, that help them excel in all aspects of each exam format. I help them implement practices for keeping test anxiety under control. I teach to each individual test, and strive to make sure that, through our mutual efforts, students ultimately move the needle across their desired score threshold.
NOTE: I'm not crazy about all the madness surrounding test prep. I think, for the most part, it's completely overblown. A high score doesn't guarantee anything, nor can it be relied upon as an indicator of future success. However, getting a high score can remove a potential obstacle to gaining acceptances to competitive programs, and can also equate to greater merit aid awards, depending on the institution. So…it is what it is.
Nick is a college wizard, creative writer, and, oddly, a therapist. Not an awkward, obviously paid "yes-man" type of therapist, but one that you open up to and discover inner truths about yourself—making for wonderful essays. But Nick doesn't hold your hand; he makes sure you write it yourself first to capture your own creative flair, and then coaches you through restructuring and making the piece as coherent and interesting as possible. I can't thank Nick enough for helping me get into my top school, but ultimately, he taught me a skill even more valuable, that I'll use for the rest of my life: how to properly write about myself.
Nick's SAT and ACT tutoring services have been excellent for both of our daughters. In 2016, Nick's expertise helped our daughter, Sydney, raise her already strong score by 120 points! During the Early Decision process, Sydney was admitted to Duke University where she is now a sophomore in Spring 2018. In 2017, we returned to Nick to tutor our daughter, Kendall, for the ACT, and he helped her achieve a score above 30, which was her goal. Kendall was admitted to Cornell University during the Early Decision process and will be a Freshman in the Fall 2018. Nick Soper is one of the very best SAT and ACT tutors in Los Angeles. Thank you, Nick!
I am so grateful for how much Nick helped me through the college process. I came in with a good ACT score and good essay topics, but he help make them both outstanding. By our second meeting, it felt as though Nick had known me for my entire life. His calm and cool personality made him approachable and fun to work with.
For my essays, Nick was spectacular at helping me get my personality and message across to the reader. His extensive knowledge about different applications and admissions processes made him extremely adept at helping me write to my different audiences.
Without Nick's help I do not think I would have gotten into all my top choice colleges that I applied to. I always felt enthusiastic to go meet with Nick, and I wanted to stay past my allotted appointment time just to talk. I can't thank Nick enough for making the college process go so smoothly and for helping me get accepted to my dream school.
My college application process would have been extremely difficult without Nick. Whether for ACT prep or college applications, he prepared me for everything that could be thrown at me during junior and senior year. He kept timelines throughout the process and helped me choose deadlines that would keep my stress under control. To lessen the pressure during senior year, he also made sure that I stayed on pace to turn in applications way before their deadlines, so that I could relax over break. In addition to working with me as a student, Nick really took interest in my life and found out who I was as a person. Then, in our work together, he helped me to develop 'my story' and portray that in the applications. My college application journey was smooth and fun, rather than a daunting experience! I am so grateful that I was able to work with Nick!
I recently received the news that I was accepted to UC Berkeley after working with Nick through my college application process. I am an extremely shy person, but somehow Nick made me feel very comfortable and in addition to his fantastic advice, he gave me the confidence I needed to share my story. His experience, knowledge, and humanity made the college application process much less stressful and I learned a lot more about myself through his guidance.
When I came to Nick, I was starting the first semester of my senior year. Prior to this, I thought I had everything under control, until I began writing my personal statement. I had essays drafted, but I was not confident that they conveyed all of my ideas the way I wanted. Nick helped me put into words everything that I was struggling to do on my own. He knows exactly how to synthesize the writing, without judgment. His process of brainstorming and drafting makes the whole college process bearable and actually exciting. Nick coaches writing in a way that enables the student to take the lead, while he helps to refine ideas and the language to express them. I learned a lot about myself in the process. As the student, if you put in the work, you will definitely see the results. I strongly recommend Nick as a writing coach.
First as my SAT tutor, then as my college counselor, Nick has been part of my life for about two years now. From start to end was always there to answer any and all questions about the college application process. He kept me on top of my deadlines and proofread all my drafts for all the written parts of my application. Nick really took the time to get to know me as a person, not just as a student, and when I wanted to take an unconventional route for my personal statement, he encouraged me to trust in my own ideas and believed in my conviction.
Thanks to Nick's help and guidance, I will be attending Yale University, my top choice school, in Fall 2017!
I cannot thank Nick enough for the work we did together this fall! It took off an immense amount of pressure to have someone guiding me that was mellow, creative and could talk to me on my level. Nick was much more hands-on than the school counselor (who was extremely busy and couldn’t offer as much time or attention as Nick). I can't imagine how that would have worked without Nick.
As a creative type, it was so important to me to find someone who could balance the academics components with creative ones. Nick finds that balance.
We were always able to get things done without getting stressed out. We worked together flexibly, and even when I wasn't able to get something done, we'd just talk through it. I was really comfortable talking to him; it was therapeutic, even if what we were discussing was not directly going into the essay.
Most important of all, Nick always made sure the story I was telling was true to me, and he ensured that I was writing to tell my story rather than give them an answer I thought they would want to hear.
From the moment I met Nick, I knew he'd make the college application process a breeze. He tries really hard to get to know you and what your strengths and weaknesses are so he can brainstorm colleges that relate specifically to what you want.
At every meeting, Nick takes notes so by the time you have to write your essays, everything is right there for you in your own words. He also takes his time to help you edit your work and make sure it's the best it can be. Nick made me feel confident about my application rather than nervous.
The best thing about Nick is that he helped take away the stress that applying to colleges can cause. He made sure that I turned in all my applications way before the deadlines.
I'm so glad I decided to work with Nick because he helped me apply to all my schools with ease.
Nick was way more personable and easy to talk with, to work through my ideas with, than other tutors and mentors I've had. He always asks the right questions to get me to think about things that wouldn't have occurred to me otherwise. I also really like the setting at his home office because it was comfortable and relaxed. This really helped to relieve the stress that otherwise can come with the hard work of college preparation.
Nick was especially helpful with ACT prep. He really helped me break down what I was doing and showed me how I could get a better score the next time.
Nick is great for people who have a certain degree of independence and a sense of time management—he gives just the right amount of space to allow us to take the initiative. I'm so grateful to have someone with me on this path to the colleges I really love.
If you're like me, you thought that you could write essays without a college counselor. So I brought some of my essays to Nick, mostly to make sure I was putting commas in the right places. He looked at my favorite essay for one second and recounted exactly what was in the essay almost word for word. I asked him, "How did you do that? You didn't even read the essay." He told me that about 1 in 3 students write about a trip to a third world country in similar fashion, therefore boring their college admission officer and simultaneously squandering their chance at admission. If you want a college counselor who knows which essays interest admission officers, then Nick is the right guy for you. Secondly, when choosing a college counselor, it is imperative that they possess superb writing talent. Nick definitely has you covered in this department. Thirdly, in order to make great essays, you need a lot of time. The more time you spend perfecting/polishing your essays, the better they will be. Nick is amazing, but hard work is required on both ends. Nick encourages you to start early because great essays don’t appear out of thin air. Finally, Nick is a very welcoming presence, whether you meet him at his home or talk to him over Skype.
Nick’s kind words of wisdom and masterclass writing talent is the only thing between your application and the shredder. He's well worth the money. In fact, he's undervalued.
Before I met Nick, the only idea I had of college was from The Secret History. Besides daydreams, I was clueless. Nick shaped every part of my college process. After first working to get to know me, he gave mapped out a list of schools that fit what I was looking for and my interests. Together, we planned a college tour, prepared for the ACT, practiced free-writing and brainstormed in preparation for college apps, and finally helped me edit and rework those apps right up until they were sent off. I will be attending Middlebury College in Vermont this fall, one of Nick's recommendations. Besides his diligence during the college process, Nick is an extraordinary person, and one of the people who I admire most in the world. Nick has always understood me when I stammered through vague and confused descriptions of who I am and what I care about. He was able to guide me to the right word, the right phrase, to help me expand my abstract musings into larger, and more concrete declarations. I will be forever grateful for the process that I underwent with Nick, a process that has irrevocably changed who I am and how I think about myself.
I came to Nick flustered, with only a vague idea of what I wanted to do and where I was interested in studying. Nick really encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and do lots of research. This showed me that the "best schools" are the schools that are right for you personally. I was encouraged to stay true to myself, and to make that possible he had personality tests, free-writing and goal setting exercises. Nick was able to pinpoint aspects of my personality that are crucial to who I am and what I wanted to show colleges. Most people won't say this, but I really enjoyed the college application process. I learned so much about myself and what I need to do to accomplish my goals. Thanks, Nick!
About a month before my early decision application was due, I came to Nick with my personal statement and a feeling of impending doom. At the very beginning of our time together, Nick told me to completely disregard any and all essay prompts— and suddenly that feeling vanished.
My first meeting with Nick was a simple “get to know you”: he asked me questions about myself and assigned me basic freewrites, where I would sit down and write about anything I wanted for twenty minutes. This process of getting out ideas was essential for me, because then the actual writing came naturally. Over the course of a few meetings, my personal statement formed on its own, my ideas and values weaving together beautifully to create a piece of writing that truly felt like an accurate representation of myself.
Nick’s approach to this process was incredibly flexible, liberating, and safe. I knew I would finish my personal statement and my supplements and meet my deadlines because of Nick. This feeling of security and assurance is crucial in a process with so much uncertainty. And I’m so proud to say that I will be attending my top choice, Smith College, in the fall.
The college application process for me was one of the most daunting aspects of my youth. But over the course of a few months, Nick helped me work through my anxiety about the sheer size of the task and my fear of writing about myself. Coming out of the college application experience, I am a much better writer, learner, and efficient worker. I will be attending Sarah Lawrence College in the fall, and I highly recommend Nick for his college application and writing support!
I’ve been amazed at how personable, hard-working, and passionate Nick Soper has been, and I am in awe of how he essentially transformed a stressful process into an enjoyable one. That’s right—enjoyable!
Nick helped me compose a well-balanced list of “reach,” “target,” and “safety” schools, spent hours meticulously editing all my writing supplements, and was there whenever I had any questions or concerns. I was never worried about missing a single deadline because together, we had crafted an efficient, week-by-week calendar of everything I needed to have completed by a set list of dates. In fact, I met most of those deadlines early, because Nick actually made the process fun and exciting—I was constantly eager to move on to the next step.
I was accepted into 4 of my 5 top schools, and I was overwhelmed with excitement knowing I had options. I have chosen to attend Tulane University in the fall, and it’s truly all thanks to Nick Soper that I have made this enormous decision with confidence and optimism for my future. I cannot express strongly enough how much I recommend Nick Soper as a personal college counselor.
College as an institution is changing. But Nick tackles the changes with such innovation, it is truly astounding.
The first thing Nick does is to get to know you as a person. Answering a personal survey he provides, Nick gets a feel for your work habits as a student as well as the type of individual you are in terms of socializing. Paired with his knowledge of school atmospheres nationwide, Nick helps you narrow down what colleges/ universities he sees you fitting into well, and you find yourself rarely disagreeing with him. Nick has you describe your views on the world around you, family life, personal experiences, etc., while he takes notes. When you begin brainstorming your personal essays, his notes are the best foundation to work from. Nick treats every idea you have he with the utmost care and respect.
I cannot thank him enough. I appreciate him immensely as a counselor and as a person for the time and effort he spent helping me.
We had started working with a traditional college counselor that used a cookie cutter approach to the college process. She didn't seem to want to get to know my daughter and think about what might work for her talents, interests and abilities. We felt like we were wasting our time and money.
Then we heard Nick speak at a Santa Monica High School event and decided to set up a meeting. Immediately my daughter connected with him. He wanted to build a plan around her, not around a competitive, often mysterious and frustrating process.
After the first session, Nick helped her organize her thoughts, and they began to work together directly on the various assignments he was giving her. They came up with a list of schools and began to prepare for the application process. Nick was able to turn a potentially stressful situation into something that was actually fun for my daughter. She was researching and brainstorming and planning campus visits with enthusiasm. And the results speak for themselves. Ella's lists of schools were spot on. She was accepted at 11 of the 16 schools she applied to and will matriculate at Tulane in August. We couldn't be happier.