Columbia University, 2011, major in English and Comparative Literature, 3.96 GPA, graduated Magna Cum Laude with English Departmental Honors, Dean’s List Fall 2007-Spring 2011; member of Phi Beta Kappa; National Merit Finalist, 2007; Recipient of the Robert C. Byrd Scholarship, 2007; Near-perfect score of 2350 on SATs, (with perfect scores on Writing and Reading sections), 770 on Chemistry SAT Subject Test, 800 on Spanish SAT Subject Test; AP Scholar with Distinction: Score of 5 on AP exams in U.S. History, Latin, Spanish, and BC Calculus.
A lifelong academic high-achiever and extremely versatile and experienced tutor, Alice has worked with hundreds of students to help them excel in such diverse subjects as English, history, Spanish, geometry, chemistry, physics, algebra, trigonometry, precalculus, and calculus; she has also tutored dozens of students for the SAT, ACT, ISEE, SSAT, SHSAT, GRE, and various SAT subject tests with consistently spectacular results.
As a native New Yorker and graduate of the New York City private school system, Alice is well acquainted with the stress and anxiety created by its pressure-cooker academic environment. She employs empathy, humor, and enthusiasm to help her students solidify their skill sets and develop confidence in their own academic abilities, while having as much fun as possible along the way. Her methodology consists of a systematic, step-by-step breakdown and explanation of concepts and strategies, as well as a keen attention to the details of each student's unique personality and learning style.
When she is not tutoring, Alice may be found reading at home, running in various NYC parks, or pursuing her career as an actress/singer/dancer.
Princeton University, 2012, major in Religion with a certificate in Theatre, top quintile; Member of Phi Beta Kappa; Award for Outstanding Original Research in Islamic Studies, 2012; Sophomore Award for Excellence in Theatre, 2010; Shapiro Award for Academic Excellence as a Freshman, 2009; score of 5 on AP exams in Chemistry, BC Calculus, US History, and Psychology.
Clayton has worked with Competitive Edge since 2012, working with students in virtually every area of test prep and coursework. He is uniquely qualified to support students in both the humanities and advanced science and math courses, and shifts seamlessly between these disciplines. As a test prep tutor, Clayton has worked with students to prepare for the ACT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, Advanced Placement exams, Regents Exams, ISEE, and the SSAT. Though his plan for students is always based on their individual needs, Clayton strives to make his sessions fun and engaging, while also holding his students accountable. He takes great pride in letting his students gradually take more ownership over their test prep program, and has helped them gain admittance into some of the top colleges in the nation. Clayton loves to make personal connections during his sessions, and still regularly keeps in touch with many of his former students.
Prior to his work with Competitive Edge, Clayton tutored for three years as a Fellow with the Princeton University Writing Center, an undergraduate and graduate resource for academic writing. He worked individually with hundreds of students on a wide variety of academic papers, becoming known for his calm and approachable demeanor, and his ability to explain concepts clearly while letting students take ownership of their work. He later became a Head Fellow at the Writing Center, training other Fellows to become more effective at their craft.
Clayton is also a certified high school science teacher for the subjects of Physics, Biology, and Chemistry. He has experience teaching science in the classroom at Sharpstown High School, part of the Houston Independent School District. His passion for science dates back to the earlier years of his education, when he won the Bausch and Lomb Award for Excellence in Science in 2007. Through Competitive Edge, Clayton has designed curricula for and taught full classroom based courses on the ACT and the SAT Physics subject test. In the classroom setting, Clayton focuses on finding a balance between creating engaging content for all students, while making sure no students feel left behind.
Lastly, he is a nut for all things creative—he loves theatre, writing and music, so much so that he has trouble determining which of these is his true love! Currently, he is writing a book, while occasionally performing his award winning one man show at colleges along the East Coast.
Teachers College Columbia University, 2016, M.A. with Initial Certification in Art and Art Education; Williams College, 2012, major in English Literature; Class of 1960 Scholar, 2011-2012; Gates Millennium Scholar, 2007-2016; perfect score on Essay section of the GRE; National Merit Scholar, 2007; National Honor Society, 2006-2008; perfect score on SAT Essay section and scores of 800 and 790 on the Writing and Critical Reading sections; Scholastic Writing Awards, 2004; Prep for Prep Valedictorian, Contingent XXIV; scores of 5 on AP exams in U.S. History, English Literature and Composition.
Raised in New York City, Paisley attended Hunter College High School and the Brearley School. At Brearley, she was a writer for the literary journal and school newspaper, and was the President of the Music Appreciation Club. On Saturdays, she attended the Parsons School of Design Precollege, later the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Jazz Division. At Williams, Paisley was a leader in the Student Government, serving as Neighborhood President. Always active and yearning for outdoor adventure, she was a member of the Equestrian and Cross-Country teams. Paisley’s curious nature led her to take Winter Term courses abroad in Argentina and Egypt for choral singing and art. In addition, she contributed to the Williams Record as the restaurant critic.
Paisley has been teaching and tutoring for over a decade, and she loves every second of it. After college, she taught in public and private schools in Massachusetts and New York City, during which time she gained valuable experience in lesson planning, curriculum design, classroom management, and how to foster the most effective student-teacher relationships. Two of the schools she worked in were Berkshire Arts and Technology and Coney Island Prep, where she taught grades 6-12 Visual Art and grades 6-7 English, respectively. Paisley tutors the SAT, ACT, AP, ISEE, SSAT, and SHSAT in addition to academic subjects including Social Studies, History, Algebra I/II, Geometry, and English. All of her students see clear improvements in their grades and test scores. She has also worked with students on college essays and applications for college and awards. Her students have won honors including the Scholastic Writing Awards.
A methodical tutor, Paisley subscribes to zeroing in right away on any weaknesses and constantly drilling difficult concepts (grammar, math, science, reading comprehension, or vocabulary) until they are internalized. However, Paisley’s goal is not only to teach her students the strategies and content knowledge they need to succeed on their tests and courses, but also to be a mentor and motivator. Lightening up the tutoring experience by injecting humor and laughs, she aims to have her students look forward to their sessions.
When she is not tutoring or planning lessons, Paisley spends her time cooking, exploring new restaurants, swimming, going to museums and jazz concerts, and listening to music.
Yale Law School, 2016, J.D., Yale Law Journal Fellowship, 2014;The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2010, B.A., double major in History and Political Science, highest honors; Phi Beta Kappa; graduated in 3 years; William and Ida B. Taylor Summer Fellowship, 2009.
Katherine grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and attended the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics where she participated in student government and the student activities board.
At The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she started the UNC Creative Writer’s Association, was a member of the Carolina Union Activities Board and a member of the Honor Court. She graduated in three years, spending the summer between her sophomore and junior/senior year collecting oral histories from local civil rights activists in preparation for her senior history thesis.
She spent two years prior to Law School as a Teach for America Corps member. She taught high school English, Argumentative Writing, and ACT English and Reading prep at an Arkansas charter school.
At Yale Law School, she served as the chair of the Civil Rights Project, which connected students to pro bono public interest opportunities throughout the school year. She interned at the Department of Justice, Voting Rights Section, and with a Judge on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. She was also a Teaching Fellow for two Yale College humanities classes.
Since graduating, Katherine has been working as a writer and tutor in New York City. She writes long-form fiction and freelance non-fiction.
She takes an individual approach to tutoring, assessing each student’s current level of ability and learning style and then tailoring her instruction to their specific needs. She believes that confidence-building is key to academic success.
When not tutoring or writing, Katherine enjoys vegan cooking, hiking, art museums, and documentaries. She also enjoys snow days, spa days, and snow days at the spa.
CUNY Graduate Center, currently matriculated, Ph.D. in English Literature; Columbia University, 2011, M.A. in English and Comparative Literature; St. John’s University, 2009, M.A. in Secondary Education; Smith College, 2006, double major in English and Fine Arts, recipient of Highest Honors.
As a senior at Smith College, Erin spent a year on her first major writing project: a senior thesis on the psychology of Alice in Wonderland which was awarded highest honers and the annual award for best honors thesis in English. After graduating, Erin pursued secondary education, teaching English to high school students in Red Hook, Brooklyn. After two years in the role of English Teacher, Erin was promoted to Educational Interventions Coordinator. In this position she was responsible for implementing strategic individualized learning programs for students who were struggling. During this time, Erin worked as a consultant for other schools, creating and facilitating professional development days designed to help other teachers implement the strategies that had been so effective in Erin’s classroom. Meanwhile, Erin attended Columbia University part-time, completing a master’s degree in English literature.
After four years in public education, Erin returned to academia full-time, and is currently matriculated in CUNY Graduate Center’s English PhD Program. Her research interests include the history of the novel and narrative theory. She teaches at Queens College and continues to work as a private tutor for high school and college students. Erin is a master editor, bringing her knowledge of genre and her years of experience into play in order to help her students write as effectively as possible. Her role as the head of a team designed to bring struggling students up to grade level taught Erin how to help struggling learners see their own potential; she excels at sensitively holding students to high standards.
Erin is an animal and nature lover, an avid reader and writer, and a passionate consumer of arts and culture.
University of Iowa, 2016, MFA in Nonfiction Writing; American University of Cairo, 2012, Masters in Arabic Language; Dartmouth College, 2011, major in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Arabic), Phi Beta Kappa (2011)
At Dartmouth, Spenser wrote for the school newspaper, was the social chair for his fraternity, and dove for the varsity swim team. The day after he graduated, he flew to Cairo where he studied Arabic in a one-year Masters program and joined an Egyptian parkour team. After completing his studies in Cairo, Spenser moved to New York City and tutored the SHSAT, SAT, and ACT for A-List Tutoring until he left to attend Iowa's Creative Writing MFA program where he studied nonfiction and translation.
In addition to being a student at Iowa, Spenser also taught undergraduates courses. His Introduction to Nonfiction course examined six aspects of the genre: personal writing, science writing, travelogue, writing about language, profiles, and political writing. Students also learned how to workshop, revise, and then revise again. For his Writing for Grants and Awards course, he required his students to design their own semester-long project. He then worked with them to draft personal statements, grant proposals, Fulbright applications, resumes, and cover letters. Spenser currently lives in Brooklyn, and his writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, and Sports Illustrated.
Spenser tutors Constructing America, social studies, and all things ELA and writing related. He believes in hard work and discipline but also thinks that tutoring can be casual and, if not exactly fun, then pleasant. In terms of style, he focuses on practicality. If a student wants to learn the difference between a coordinating and subordinating conjunction, he's happy to teach him/her, but otherwise, Spenser eliminates jargon and pretension in order to make the subject matter as accessible as possible. Students who come to him for help with writing can expect to learn specific, concrete techniques to improve their organization, structure, and flow. They should also prepare to revise, revise, revise.
In 2015, Spenser competed on “American Ninja Warrior,” which he wrote about for Rolling Stone.
Barnard College, 2011, major in Comparative Literature with concentrations in French and Spanish, minor in Art History, GPA of 3.7. Dean’s list Fall 2007-Spring 2011. Recipient of the 2014 Fulbright Scholarship Award for English Teaching in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Emelyn has been dedicated to foreign language learning from a young age. In high school, her advanced placement in French led her to undertake an immersive study abroad program in Bordeaux, France, where she gained fluency living with a host family and attending a local public school. In college, she deepened her romance language expertise, quickly becoming fluent in Spanish and studying abroad, again, this time in Barcelona, Spain.
Emelyn’s teaching career began in 2012 at the Language Workshop for Children, an Upper East Side after-school program, where she instructed students one-on-one in French, Spanish, and ESL. From there, Emelyn began working closely with the head of the program, writing and editing original French and Spanish language textbooks for romance language learners. Later, Emelyn tutored high school students seeking placement in AP Spanish and French before being selected to teach university-level English courses with the Fulbright Program in Rio de Janeiro, where she lived for one year.
Emelyn is an enthusiastic, nurturing teacher. She believes in establishing a strong rapport with every student in order to create lessons that integrate his or her personal learning needs, goals, and interests.
Emelyn practices yoga and meditation. She also loves to read, write, and make pottery. She can often be found taking walks around the Central Park Reservoir.
Northwestern University, 2017, major in Theatre, minor in Sociological Studies, certificate in Creative Writing for the Media, graduated Summa Cum Laude, GPA of 3.96, Dean’s List from Fall 2013-Spring 2017, Lambda Pi Eta (Communication Studies Honor Society), Honoree at Northwestern Honors Ceremony and School of Communication Honors Convocation.
Ben grew up in New York and is a product of the private school system. He attended the Browning School for grades K-8, and he spent his high school years at Riverdale Country School, graduating with a 3.9 GPA and with honors. His experiences taking Constructing America and Integrated Liberal Studies are among his fondest memories during his time at Riverdale. Ben has always enjoyed finding different approaches to break down complex material, a skill that contributed to winning two Riverdale Science Awards and excellent performance in math.
At Northwestern, Ben served as the Artistic Director of Lipstick Theatre, a student organization dedicated to providing opportunities for female artists, where he mentored more than ten directors in the staging of various productions. In addition to studying theatre, Ben took numerous courses in Art History and Spanish, and he developed a passion for academic and creative writing. In his sociology courses, he examined and analyzed research pertaining to the effects of race, gender, sexual orientation, education, and urbanization on individuals in American society. In his senior year, Ben completed Northwestern’s screenwriting certificate program, in which he penned multiple episodes of an original sitcom as well as a full length feature. His experience in this program gave him the proper communication and organization skills for workshopping, revising, and analyzing writing topics with his fellow students.
Following his graduation, Ben moved back to New York both to pursue a career in acting and to continue engaging in academia through tutoring. His mother currently teaches History at The Spence School. Teaching and a commitment to helping others mature as students and thinkers are important qualities to Ben as well. Ben is able to understand the pressures and responsibilities of New York-based high school students in particular, as he successfully went through the same process not too long ago. His experience working with student writers and directors has also helped him become a stronger tutor.
Ben believes in establishing a strong rapport with students, fostering a collaborative approach to learning, and catering all lessons to the specific needs and learning styles of the individual. The ultimate goal is to help students build confidence, find their own voices as critical thinkers, and feel in control of their academic material.
Ben holds an encyclopedic knowledge of theatre, film, and all things popular culture. He can name you the winner of every major Academy Award dating back to 1960.
Columbia University, currently matriculated, M.F.A., Playwriting; Harvard College, 2012, major in American History and Literature, graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, Phyllis Anderson Prize for Playwriting, 2014, Detur Book Prize, 2012, John Harvard Award, 2011; score of 800 on SAT Reading and Writing, 720 on SAT Math; Scores of 5 on AP exams in European History, American History, English Language, and English Literature.
Andy, in addition to courses in his major at Harvard, took classes in philosophy, evolutionary biology, statistical methods for health policy, climate science, and Spanish. He also was a member of the improv comedy group The Immediate Gratification Players, and wrote and directed many plays with the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club.
He began tutoring while in college, initially focusing on SAT-prep but later branching out into college admissions coaching, academic tutoring, AP exam tutoring, and other standardized tests. Since then, he has tutored dozens of students from age seven to thirty-seven, with extensive experience tutoring SHSAT, SSAT, ISEE, SAT, ACT, PSAT, and Common Core exams. After graduating, Andy served as an assistant teacher and tutor with City Year Rhode Island, working to boost reading and writing skills among under-served populations in Providence.
Working with City Year gave Andy invaluable experience in tutoring reading and writing. He believes that English is no more fuzzy or subjective than math. Students often rely too much on what they "feel" is the correct answer without grounding their answers in a close reading of the text at hand. This rigorous, objective technique enables him to help both students who are avid readers and students who think of themselves as "math kids" understand and appreciate the written word.
When tutoring students in history, Andy emphasizes a systematic approach rather than one based on memorization. He strives to make history come alive through an appreciation of the contingent nature of what may seem to have been inevitable. Andy wants his students to understand more than names and dates; he wants them to understand the underlying causes of historical events. In this way, Andy presents history as an engaging and contested narrative, rather than as a collection of facts.
His approach to tutoring the math sections of the SAT and ACT emphasizes problem solving as opposed to memorizing formulas with a methodology similar to his tutoring history. Andy believes that students will best succeed in math if they understand the underlying concepts behind the problems. In this way, math becomes more of a puzzle game than a chore.
Andy also emphasizes making a personal connection with his students, allowing him to connect their academic work with their personal interests.
Andy spends most of his free time writing plays and songs. His plays have been produced across the country at theatres, universities, and fringe festivals. He loves going to the beach, and dreams of one day retiring to live full time in Coney Island.
Yale, 2017, major in American Studies, graduated with Distinction in major, GPA of 3.78, recipient of Mellon Fellowship, 2016, recipient of V. Browne Irish Prize, 2017; 800 on SAT Reading, 760 on SAT Math, 780 on SAT Writing; 800 on Math II SAT Subject Test, 750 on Biology SAT Subject Test; Score of 5 on AP exams in BC Calculus, US History, Biology, and Psychology; Valedictorian of Hunter College High School, winner of top awards in Math, English, Social Studies, Biology and Theater.
Growing up in Manhattan, Oliver attended Hunter College High School throughout middle and high school. There, he developed a love for the learning made possible in a rigorous academic culture, as well as an awareness of how the challenges of such a high-pressure environment can become stifling. This sparked the beginning of Oliver’s educational career, tutoring peers as a peer mentor, and leading workshops on bullying and bias. Oliver continued this work at Yale, teaching in a wide variety of contexts, including in workshops about bystander intervention and consent, as a peer tutor, at a youth prison, and most recently, in Zhengzhou, China as part of the US-China Elite University Colloquy.
At Yale, when he wasn’t acting in his role as an educator, Oliver spent his time studying, writing for the Yale Herald, acting, and performing stand-up and sketch comedy. His dual comedy and teaching experience has confirmed that, as a rule, the best work is collaborative, fun, and occurs when you meet someone where they are at, rather than where you want them to be. As such, Oliver works to build close relationships with students, encouraging a sense of their own capacity to reach their full potential. As someone who has studied and excelled in a broad range of academic fields, Oliver is a firm believer that any subject can be made interesting. When tutoring standardized tests, Oliver helps students unlock and understand the test inside and out, and find the best preparation strategies on an individual basis.
When he’s not tutoring, Oliver can be found performing stand-up comedy around the city, biking down the Hudson River, or missing his subway stop because he is too engrossed in his book.
Barnard College, 2015; major in American Studies and Human Rights; graduated with departmental honors; summa cum laude; member of Phi Beta Kappa; 3.95/4.0 GPA; Tow Foundation Public Service Program; Dean’s List 2011-2015; 5 AP scores in AP English Language and Comprehension, AP Calculus AB, and AP Psychology.
In college, Mollie’s passion culminated in her year-long departmental thesis, “Dave Duerson, Affirmative Action and Racial Justice Under Neoliberalism,” which received high distinction. Prior to that, Mollie completed a semester-long independent research project as part of her study abroad program with the International Honors Program in Human Rights on the tension between an international human rights framework and the unique female experience. Throughout college, Mollie consistently worked to develop her writing, research, and interrogation skills. When not running between internships, the library, and outdoor concerts, Mollie was auditioning for plays and writing fiction.
Mollie’s role at Barnard as a Speaking Fellow, where she encouraged fellows to speak amongst themselves, furthered her experience in cultivating dynamic conversation. Working as a peer to peer tutor and helping her peers overcome their fears of public speech taught her that the best way to teach is to encourage and support. She takes this same approach to standardized test prep and homework help. Focusing on the basics and ignoring the traps laid by tricky tests takes confidence and Mollie focuses on building that up in students. Mollie works with students to break down the material and solidify their building blocks. Students will not only nail their tests, improve their grades but develop better learning habits. By approaching these tasks as opportunities to flex students’ muscles, they become stronger with each practice session. Using these same tools, Mollie also tutored Washington Heights middle schoolers in math while at Barnard.
Since graduating from college, Mollie has worked with nonprofits and in government service, at the New York Attorney General’s Office. She continued cultivating her passion for social justice and love of learning. She’s helped protect the rights of New Yorkers and promote nonviolence amongst youth.
When not tutoring or working, Mollie can be found lounging in Prospect Park, watching 30 for 30 documentaries, or boxing. And if not, most likely she’s lost in a game of fetch with a Pit Bull.
Yale University 2016, major in humanities, graduated with distinction, Directed Studies: selective first-year intensive on the Western canon, Franke Fellowship in Science and the Humanities, Yale College Writing Center Contest winner, National Merit Finalist 2011, 2320 on SAT (with perfect scores on Writing and Reading sections), 800 on World History SAT Subject Test, 770 on U.S. History SAT Subject Test, AP Scholar with Distinction: Score of 5 on AP exams in U.S. History, European History, and English Language and Composition.
Caroline brings an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of complex texts and primary sources, from her work with Harold Bloom to archival research in collections across the country. She specializes in college admission essays, tutoring in the humanities, and reading comprehension and writing for standardized tests. She has effectively worked with students on dissertations, undergraduate theses, and personal statements for applications to Ivy League universities and graduate programs. She takes seriously the opportunity writing gives applicants—space for a nuance that grades and scores do not allow—and works to help students convey their core identity and most valuable traits.
As a private school graduate, Caroline understands the challenges of meeting overwhelming expectations and balancing an ambitious schedule in a competitive environment. In addition to academic support, she offers a levelheaded perspective, helping students overcome their fear of failure to grow as scholars and young adults. Caroline aims to cultivate students' strengths to build confidence and improve their performance on assignments, on standardized tests, and in the college application process.
Caroline is an editorial assistant at a major publishing house where she works with best-selling and award-winning authors of fiction and non-fiction.