Vince: I grew up in small-town Connecticut and completed the honors program at Boston College, graduating with a B.A. in English Literature. I moved to San Diego in 2007, and I’ve been working full-time as a test-prep tutor ever since. Along the way, I've written some test-prep books and courses, but I still enjoy tutoring, even after 11 years. When a student texts me that she aced the test or got into her reach school, I still literally jump up and down and grin.
In my opinion, conversation is what makes private tutoring so valuable. It lets me focus on what you need most, whether that's content (like understanding math concepts), strategy (like figuring out if a reading comprehension answer choice is right or wrong), timing, or even something like study skills or test-taking skills.
In my spare time, I like traveling using miles and points (Japan is our favorite country to visit), reading (favorite authors include Haruki Murakami, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and Philip Pullman), watching The Great British Bake-Off (and sometimes actually baking things), hiking and camping, and rooting for the Red Sox and Patriots. I live in the Kensington neighborhood with my hilarious wife and our crazy cat.
Vince offers all kinds of GRE prep and is a true GRE specialist - he's one of the very few tutors out there who ONLY teaches the GRE. His publications include Barron's 6 GRE Practice Tests, LinkedIn's GRE prep course, and the apps "GRE Math Knight" and "GRE Vocab Cartoons".
Blake: I’m a native San Diegan, father, and an aficionado of basketball, vintage video games, pitchy karaoke, and lecturing my son on how much better Star Wars was "back in the day." I played college basketball at St. Mary’s College and Whittier College, where I earned my B.A. in Psychology in 2002.
Having been a full-time test prep coach for over 13 years, I have seen just about every type of student and tutoring situation. This allows me to give my students exactly what they need to reach their goals.
My years of experience have also led me to coach my students a little differently than most. A lot of test prep revolves around how to answer a question. While that is a necessary component, identifying what is needed to answer a question is at least as important, especially for timed tests like the SAT and ACT. I show my students how to look at the test the way I do, to the patterns and tendencies of the tests to make them faster and more accurate.
Though I still work with students of all types, these days I tend to specialize in students with ambitious score goals.
Matt: I am originally from Hopkinton, Massachusetts - the start of the historic Boston Marathon. I went to college at Northwestern University, where I graduated with a degree in Theatre. After college, I wised up and moved to the warmer coast. I worked in Los Angeles for many years as a full-time SAT / ACT tutor and part-time arts educator.
I have been tutoring for over 10 years and have spent thousands of hours helping students improve their scores. Recently, I moved to San Diego after getting a M.A. in Education from Stanford University, and I currently work as a credentialed classroom teacher.
When I’m not working, I enjoy good books, performing improv comedy, surfing, watching Game of Thrones, and enjoying the charms of San Diego. I live in North Park, where I love to get out and take advantage of all the delicious food in the area. I am also a huge Boston sports fan - the Patriots, Red Sox, and Celtics are my favorite teams. I usually have something in common with every student - my interests are really diverse!
Kaitlin: I am originally from Amarillo, TX, where I developed a love of BBQ, country music, and beautiful sunsets (I can still get about 2 out of 3 of these things in San Diego).
I attended the University of Pennsylvania and received a B.S.E. in chemical engineering with minors in Spanish and nanotechnology. I also have received my California teaching credential in chemistry. I have taught chemistry and environmental science at the high school level for eight years and currently teach 10th and 12th grade at a private school in San Diego.
At the same time I started classroom teaching, I began tutoring the SAT, ACT, and GRE. I use my knowledge of classroom teaching to infuse my tutoring sessions with strategies for students to help improve their scores. I love helping students do well on these tests so that they can shine in other areas of their applications. I never want a test score to limit a student from their potential dreams and goals.
As a tutor, I focus on creating clear expectations, providing the best resources and strategy recommendations, being available to answer questions both during and between lessons, filling in gaps in necessary content knowledge, and working with your schedule to determine a study plan that makes sense.
For those experiencing test anxiety or who need additional support for ADHD or a learning disorder, the test-taking process can be especially stressful! I include strategies such as clearly documenting progress and homework, chunking homework assignments into smaller pieces and working with your schedule (i.e. not treating test prep like it's the only thing on your plate!) to help minimize stress and support you as much as possible.
Lauren: I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Literature and Writing, with a concentration in Writing, at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) and my Master’s Degree in English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University (SDSU). I am currently a fourth-year PhD student in English at the University of California Riverside (UCR).
I have been a writing consultant for over six years now, and I've helped people with research writing, thesis/dissertation projects, rhetorical and literary analyses, writing in the humanities, grammar/sentence mechanics, and more.
I love hanging out in San Diego during my downtime! My favorite activities are snorkeling and playing volleyball at the beach, cruising the fun hiking trails, and making my way through all of the local eateries. When I am not at the beach or in the classroom, I am usually napping and cuddling with my dog, Lego.
"Our daughter worked with Matt Sheelen to prepare for the ACT, and she could not have been more pleased. Matt gave her clear strategies to improve in the areas that she needed to most, and, from her 1st practice test to the real test, she raised her score 8 points! She did so well on the actual test the 1st time she took it, that she did not even need to re-take it, as many students choose to do. On top of Matt's expertise, he happens to be a really great guy that relates well to teens (and their parents :-) ). My daughter really enjoyed working with him and we highly recommend him."
- ACT Parent
"My 17 year old daughter used Blake this past summer for a month to help her improve her SAT scores for college admittance. Blake thoroughly trained her for the test and she felt prepared going in on text day. Her scores went up 200 points with Blake's fantastic tutoring help. She got a 1250 and is thrilled. Blake is worth every penny of your time. Thank you again."
- SAT Parent
"My daughter worked with Bronte D’Acquisto for about two months to prepare for her SAT and ACT. Bronte’s help was invaluable! She assessed where Fiona’s strong points and weak points were on both tests, and worked to improve on the weak points. They offered proctored practice tests so you can take the test in a testing situation, which I highly recommend. My daughter got exceptional scores on both tests on the first attempt, and I think Bronte’s focused tutoring made all the difference. Thank you!!"
- ACT Parent
"(Student) and I will always be grateful to you, Vince, for all the support and guidance you provided to him which enabled him to do amazing on his SAT. He was also thrilled that he only had to take it one time. I will admit, getting private SAT tutoring was definitely a sacrifice...especially being both a single mom and a teacher, but it was honestly the absolute BEST investment. His GPA is not very high, so I know his SAT score really helped him, not only with being admitted to every school he applied to, but also with the merit scholarships he earned. They offered him a guaranteed slot into their direct entry doctor of physical therapy program as well as a full-tuition scholarship beginning freshman year and continuing until the completion of his doctoral program."
- SAT Parent, The Bishop's School