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.
Junior Standardized Test Preparation Specialist
Georgetown University, 2014, major in International Politics with a certificate in International Law, Norms, and Ethics from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service; graduated Cum Laude with an advanced proficiency in Mandarin; High school valedictorian, Recipient of the Robert G. Hazo Award for the highest weighted-GPA, 2010; National Merit Finalist, 2010; Near perfect SAT score: 2320.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Alex has always been both a political junkie and an arts enthusiast, pursuing his passion for international relations and musical theatre since childhood. In his senior year in high school, Alex won the 2010 Gene Kelly Award for Best Actor, the highest accolade given to a Pittsburgh high school student for musical theatre acting, and went on to become first runner-up at the 2010 National High School Musical Theatre Awards, held at the Marquis Theatre in New York City. Changing his focus in college to political science, Alex enrolled in Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 2010, where he majored in international politics and Mandarin, concentrating his research on China’s role in the global community.
While at Georgetown, Alex tutored for Capital Educators, a standardized-test prep company catering to the DC-Baltimore area. During his tenure, he consistently received top ratings from the more than 200 high school students he tutored. His enthusiasm, energy, and sense of humor promote strong ties with his students, transforming the way they approach standardized tests and empowering them to successfully reach their test goals. At Competitive Edge, Alex has blended his experience as an SAT tutor with Competitive Edge’s proprietary materials and methodology to become an exceptional, all-around standardized test tutor, specializing in the ISEE, SSAT, ACT, and SAT.
While in New York, Alex is pursuing the musical theatre career he put on hold briefly while at Georgetown. You may also catch him occasionally performing stand-up around the city, taking every dance class he can find, and playing softball in the park.
Teachers College Columbia University, 2016, M.A. Initial Certification in Art and Art Education; Williams College, 2012, B.A. in English Literature; Class of 1960 Scholar, 2011-2012; Gates Millennium Scholar, 2007-2016; National Merit Scholar, 2007; National Honor Society, 2006-2008; Scholastic Writing Awards, 2004; Prep for Prep Valedictorian, Contingent XXIV; scores of 5 on AP exams in U.S. History and English Literature and Composition; scores of 800 and 790 on the Writing and Critical Reading sections; perfect scores on Essay sections of the SAT and GRE.
Raised in New York City, Paisley attended Hunter College High School and the Brearley School. While attending, she was involved in the literary journal and school newspaper, and was the President of the Music Appreciation Club. On Saturdays, she first attended the Parsons School of Design Precollege, then the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Jazz Division. During her time at Williams College, Paisley was a leader in the Student Government, serving as Neighborhood President. Always active and thirsty for outdoor adventure, she was a member of the Equestrian and Cross-Country teams. Her curious nature led her to take courses abroad in Argentina and Egypt. In addition, she contributed to the Williams Record newspaper 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 she gained many valuable skills in lesson planning, curriculum design, classroom management, and fostering the most effective student-teacher relationships. Some of the schools she worked in include 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 such as the Scholastic Writing Awards. A methodical tutor, she believes in zeroing in on any weaknesses right away and constantly drilling the difficult concepts (grammar, math, science, reading comprehension, or vocabulary) until they are internalized. However, her aim 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. With her sense of humor, she strives to make students laugh and to make tutoring an experience they can look forward to.
When she is not tutoring or planning lessons, Paisley spends her time cooking, exploring new restaurants, going to museums and jazz concerts, or playing music.
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.
Manhattanville College, Masters of Professional Studies in English and Special Education, 2011, 4.0 GPA; Colby College, 2006, major in English Literature, graduated Magna Cum Laude with Distinction in Major; Dean’s List 2002-2006; High School Valedictorian.
Lauren earned her M.P.S. degree while acting as a learning specialist, supporting undergraduates with learning disabilities in their college-level mathematics, science, humanities, and social science coursework. She is adept at making complex concepts understandable to learners at all skill levels. As a New York State Certified Teacher in English and Special Education grades 5-12, she currently provides targeted special education services to students in the Bronx. Lauren believes that all students can excel when given appropriate supports and individualized attention.
A native of Mid-Coast Maine where tutoring programs were few and far between and an accomplished graduate of the state’s public school system, Lauren is a self-motivated individual who strives to foster the same ambition and determination to excel in her students. A tutor since 2007, she has worked with numerous public and private school students in Westchester, specializing in Test Prep, Mathematics, English, History, Earth Science, and Study Skills. She employs strategies to empower her students by establishing internal loci of control and developing their confidence in their academic abilities. Lauren’s success as an educator can be attributed to ability to empathize with her students, guiding them to channel their strengths and remediate their weaknesses.
When she isn’t tutoring, Lauren is likely reading a novel, viewing an independent film, or improving her physical fitness at the gym. She also enjoys exploring Westchester and tending to the needs of her two very demanding feline roommates.
CUNY Graduate Center, currently matriculated, Ph.D. in Comparative Literature; The New School, M.F.A. in Fiction, 2007; University of California, Berkeley, 2002, major in German Language and Literature with a specialization in Philosophy, recipient of High Honors (graduated in top 4 percent of the class of 2002); Humbolt Universität, Berlin, Germany, 2001 and Georg August Universität, Göttingen, Germany, 2000, studies in Philosophy and Literature; enrolled in California State University, Dominquez Hills and Stanford University for a total of 33 credits before graduating high school.
While an undergraduate at Berkeley, Jesse began tutoring in a program called Break the Cycle and, as a junior consultant, taught seminars for the University’s microcomputer facilities. Shortly after graduating, he moved to Germany and taught English at several German corporations including BMW, Siemans and Schindler. In 2005, he returned to the United States to pursue an advanced degree in Fiction at the New School in New York City and later that year moved back to California, where he tutored autistic and emotionally disturbed children in mainstream and specifically dedicated public school classrooms. During that time, he taught himself Spanish, honing his skills by spending several months in Spain and Mexico and later tutored Test Prep for both the SAT and the ACT, specializing in English and Spanish.
In 2008, Jesse was back in New York City, working at the Bronx Preparatory Charter School in the South Bronx, where he taught high school English and assisted over 100 seniors in the messaging and execution of their college essays in the school’s College Prep program. Currently he teaches courses in Rhetoric and Composition, as well as German language, at Brooklyn College and the New York City College of Technology. He has also written professionally in the field of advertising for organizations including Charter Asset Management and the Asian American Music Festival.
Jesse’s years of work with a broad range of students, from the severely autistic to the highest achievers, has trained him in individualizing the learning experience according to each student’s personal style. If given the proper tools and framework, all students, he believes, can disassemble and conquer the barriers that hinder their scholastic achievement.
When Jesse is not tutoring or teaching, he is reading or writing about interpretation, perception and aesthetic psychology, as well as Post-War American literature. Aside from his academic interests, he practices yoga and loves to cook, working hard at maintaining the skills he acquired during a stint as chef in a Berlin café.
Brown University, 2011, double major in English and Literary Arts; 2330 on SAT with perfect score of 800 on Math section; 35 on ACT (35 on English, 36 on Math, Reading, and Science); 790 on SAT Math II Subject Test; National Merit Scholar; AP Scholar with Distinction: scores of 5 on Physics B, Calculus BC, Statistics, English Literature and Composition, Spanish Language, and U.S. History.
Dmitriy first started teaching after his freshman year of college, when he started a branch of a newly founded SAT/ACT prep company entirely from scratch in his hometown, Vernon Hills, Illinois. After coordinating all logistics, publicity, and marketing, he taught two classes and tutored dozens of students privately. He then continued freelance tutoring on both exams over the next three years. After graduating, he moved to Seoul, South Korea, where he primarily taught high school literature at an elite after-school academy. Since moving to New York, Dmitriy has continued to tutor on the ACT, SAT, and writing. Until recently, he worked in the editorial department at Bedford/St. Martin’s, a leading college textbook publisher.
Throughout his years of teaching, Dmitriy has helped students with the SAT, ACT, AP English Literature and Composition Exam, AP English Language and Composition Exam, SAT Literature Subject Test, SHSAT, SSAT, writing (including both English class and admissions essays), literature, and K-8 and high school math. His goal is to direct students to better futures by building their confidence and helping them reach higher scores.
When it comes to test prep, Dmitriy systematically targets gaps in knowledge and suggests specific strategies to overcome weaknesses. When helping with homework and writing, his strategy (and pleasure) is to connect with students and help them realize how their studies are relevant to their lives and the world around them. He has a passion for literature and is excited to inspire the same in his students.
In his free time, Dmitriy enjoys attending literary events, dancing at concerts, playing poker competitively, experimenting in the kitchen, and traveling the world (26 countries and counting).
Yale University, 2016, MFA in Playwriting; Brown University, 2008, BA in Literary Arts, with honors; Weston Award in Playwriting, 2008; 2007 Lisa Beth Feldman Prize for Excellence in Fiction, 2007; 2007 Barbara Banks Brodsky Prize for Excellence in Expository Writing, 2007; Irving Lysander Foster Prize for Excellence in French Studies, 2005.
Brendan grew up in Newburyport, Massachusetts, where he attended Waring School. He participated in an exchange program during the fall of his freshman year, when he lived with a family in the Loire Valley city of Angers, and the summer following his junior year, which he spent surrounding by barley fields in Porvoo, Finland.
At Brown, he interned for a stint at the public relations office of the Comédie-Française in Paris and worked as an assistant dramaturg at the Théâtre National Populaire in Lyon. He was also the interpreter on a public health study in Bamako, Mali. After graduating, he worked as a French-English translator for clients including the McGill Law Journal in Montreal, ESSEC Business School in Paris, and the Belgian National Lottery. He was also a teacher and tutor, spending the winters of 2011, 2012, and 2013 running 12th grade Shakespeare seminars at the Taktse International School in Sikkim, India, and working with private clients in French, expository writing, and the SAT and ACT exams.
As a dramatist and librettist, his work has been staged at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Humana Festival of New American Plays, and the Yale School of Drama. He has taught playwriting as a teaching fellow at Yale College and as a visiting instructor at Wesleyan University. He is also a regular contributor to Ed., the magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Shortly after completing his graduate work in playwriting in May of this year, he moved to New York City.
Brendan believes the key to successful tutoring is personalization. He takes time to get to know his students’ habits and patterns, and then works to develop approaches to problem solving that will allow them to keep learning independently long after the session is over.
When not tutoring or writing, Brendan is most likely cooking, outdoors, or both. He is especially enthusiastic about biking, hiking, and cross-country skiing.
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.
Princeton University, 2011, major in Electrical Engineering with certificates in Materials Science & Engineering and Chinese Language & Culture; Sigma Xi Book Award for oral presentation at Spring 2011 Materials Research Society conference; National Merit Scholarship Winner; 800 on GRE Quantitative Reasoning; 800 on GRE Verbal Reasoning; 800 on SAT Writing section; 800 on SAT Mathematics Level 2 Subject Test; 800 on SAT Physics Subject Test; 5 on AP Physics B; 5 on AP Biology; 5 on AP Chemistry; 5 on AP Latin - Vergil; 5 on AP Calculus BC; 5 on AP Statistics.
Alfred grew up on Staten Island, New York, and attended Brooklyn’s Poly Prep Country Day School throughout middle school and high school. There, he developed a love for asking tough questions and sharing the answers he found with others. This, combined with his love for taking things apart, led him to pursue the path of engineer by day and journalist by night.
Alfred majored in Electrical Engineering at Princeton and spent much of his free time either interning at WABC radio’s John Batchelor Show or working for the news division of Princeton’s own student-run radio station, WPRB. He also taught math for Princeton's Freshman Scholar's Institute, where he welcomed incoming freshmen to campus and helped them gain the confidence they needed to tackle freshman year math coursework.
Upon graduation, he moved to Lexington, Kentucky, to work as an engineer for the printer maker Lexmark International. There, too, he maintained an interest in sharing his knowledge with others. On nights and weekends, he coached the University of Kentucky’s elite college athletes not in basketball—Coach John Calipari has that under control—but in math, physics and economics.
Alfred returned to New York in 2013 to attend Columbia Journalism School and to pursue his dream of asking questions for a living. When he’s not tutoring or pursuing a story, Alfred can usually be found rocking out to country music, hitting rails on the squash court, or cheering on his beloved Yankees.