How to Get Your MRS Degree in College

Vanessa*, a student who intends to get her MRS degree in college, i.e. find a husband, applied early decision to Cornell because she did not want to compete with the other young ladies in big cities like New York City (Columbia) and Boston (Harvard, MIT). She did not like New Haven (Yale) and Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania). According to Vanessa, Cornell is in Upstate New York, in its own little idyllic college town with few outsiders from the city. Vanessa might be on to something there, because Cornell is the only Ivy listed by College Magazine’s list of Top 10 Schools to Find a Husband.

Ranked on the ubiquitous “Most Right Swiped Campuses 2015” list by Tinder itself, it is scientifically proven (well, sort of) that Cornell guys are hot, successful and husband material. What other pre-reqs do you need to get your MRS degree? After all, students make nearly $60,000 on average right out of college. Having vibrant seasons and snowy winters, this Ivy League sets the scene to fall in love.

Top 10 Schools to Find a Husband, College Magazine

What is this Most Right Swiped Campuses rank by Tinder? Do college students need to use Tinder? Aren’t they just naturally in an environment where everyone is single and probably interested in the same things? According to Is There Still Sex and the City? By Candace Bushnell, no one talks to women at bars anymore. Perhaps being on Tinder allows someone to know that you are available. If you are a college student who uses Tinder, Bumble, and other apps and dating sites to meet guys, please post in the comments below.

Of course, we needed to check out aforementioned Most Right Swiped lists. Although the men in Ivies such as Dartmouth, Brown and Yale, in addition to Cornell, were on the list of most right swiped, none of the ladies of the Ivy League were on these lists. What does this mean? Men in Ivies use Tinder more often? Women at Ivies are not as right-swiped? Is Tinder still for hook ups, and if so, should you use it to attempt to get your MRS degree? Please post feedback below.

Please enjoy this hilarious video about getting the MRS at Columbia Business School:


Some tips on meeting Mr. Right in college:

1. Look your best. Do not mope around campus in baggy sweats. Get in shape, wear shapely Luluemons and other cool athleisure around campus, other other nice casual outfits.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on
Get the Beachbody On Demand 12 Month Plan for $99!

2. Respect yourself and do not hook up. Your body is your temple. Men want classy wives. Do not use Tinder; it sends the wrong message. Use Instagram and Snapchat instead. Post cute photos of yourself baking and summering. Yes, summer is a verb! Practice for future networking and use LinkedIn also. Come to think of it, LinkedIn is great for getting to know all your fellow alumni, so set up a LinkedIn profile ASAP. If you still wish to use Tinder, check out this Netflix documentary about the Tinder Swindler, a fake billionaire who scammed women out of hundreds of thousands of dollars:

Tinder Swindler: a Cautionary Tale

3. Join clubs where the men are. While in college, you have access to all sorts of clubs and activities.

4. Make lots of friends and be social. Most of life is showing up. In fact, if you just relax and treat everyone as potential friends instead of maybe future husbands, you will make others more comfortable. See The Social Climber’s Bible: A Book of Manners, Practical Tips, and Spiritual Advice for the Upwardly Mobile— very good and interesting tips on how to win rich friends. According to the Social Climber’s Bible, “You are a special person who would be even more special if you have special friends.” Wink wink.

5. What if you did all of the above and you still have not met the one? Please be patient! Nowadays, people often meet their significant others online. Go on a site where like-minded people post their profiles. If you are seeking a serious relationship with compatibility, I recommend this site. One lady I know, a lawyer, met her husband online and had the cutest baby right after.

Notable people who got their MRS degree at Ivy League colleges:

  • Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg met her super supportive husband Marty at Cornell.
  • Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson met husband Dr. Patrick Jackson at Harvard. They have two daughters.
  • Judith Kent met her husband Jamie Dimon, currently Chairman and CEO at JPMorgan Chase, at Harvard Business School. They have three grown children.

*all names have been changed to protect the not so innocent. This article will be updated continually so please check back.

high school SHSAT



Offers to the testing Specialized High Schools are made in descending order of SHSAT score, combined with each student’s preferences listed on their SHSAT registration. Here’s how that works:

The student with the highest SHSAT score receives an offer to their first choice school. The student with the next highest SHSAT score receives an offer to their first choice school. This continues student by student in downward score order until a student’s first-choice school does not have any remaining seats. That student is then considered for their second-choice school. If there are remaining seats at the second-choice school, that student receives an offer there. If the second-choice school has no remaining seats, that student is considered for their third-choice school, and so on. This continues until all seats at all Specialized High Schools have been filled.

If a student doesn’t get an offer to their first-choice school, it is because all seats at that school have been filled by students with higher SHSAT scores. Similarly, if a student gets an offer to a non-first choice school, it is because all seats at schools they listed higher have been filled by students with higher SHSAT scores (e.g., if a student gets an offer to their fourth-choice school, then seats at their first to third-choice schools are filled with higher scoring students.)

If a student doesn’t get any offer to a testing Specialized High School, it is because all seats at all the schools they listed on their SHSAT registration are filled by students with higher SHSAT scores. Students are not considered for offers to schools that are not listed on their SHSAT registration.

The SHSAT is the only criteria used to admit students to the eight testing Specialized High Schools; no other criteria are used.

Specialized High SchoolEst. Raw ScoreCutoffCutoffCutoffCutoffCutoffCutoffCutoffCutoffCutoffCutoffCutoffCutoff
Stuyvesant High School84%561563560566557559555552555559562562
High School For Mathematics, Science And Engineering At City College (HSMSE)79%518532515523519516504513503512498495
Staten Island Technical High School77%521527525551*527519515508508506503499
The Bronx High School of Science77%521524517532525518512511510517513512
Queens High School For The Sciences At York College76%527523481535514511507516505n/a500n/a
High School Of American Studies At Lehman College75%510516488520524516516506503506501502
Brooklyn Technical High School72%503506492507498493486482483486483482
The Brooklyn Latin School70%493497481498488482479477477480471472

The table above shows the lowest qualifying score that resulted in an offer to each testing Specialized High School from 2012 to 2023. This means that any student with a SHSAT score lower than one listed on the table did not get an offer to that school. The lowest score to result in an offer changes each year based on that SHSAT scores and preferences of the pool of testers for that specific SHSAT administration.

*This outlier is the result of incomplete crowdsourced data.


The cutoff score for Stuyvesant in 2023 was 561. Out of the 27,669 students who took the SHSAT for 2022 Admissions, 756 students (2.73%) were offered admission to Stuyvesant High School.


The cutoff score for HSMSE in 2023 was 518. Out of the 27,669 students who took the SHSAT for 2022 Admissions, 152 students (0.55%) were offered admission to HSMSE.


The cutoff score for Staten Island Tech in 2023 was 521. Out of the 27,669 students who took the SHSAT for 2022 Admissions, 286 students (1.03%) were offered admission to Staten Island Tech.


The cutoff score for Bronx Science in 2023 was 521. Out of the 27,669 students who took the SHSAT for 2022 Admissions, 722 students (2.61%) were offered admission to Bronx Science.


The cutoff score for QHSS in 2023 was 527. Out of the 27,669 students who took the SHSAT for 2022 Admissions, 121 students (0.44%) were offered admission to QHSS.


The cutoff score for HSAS-Lehman in 2023 was 510. Out of the 27,669 students who took the SHSAT for 2022 Admissions, 131 students (0.47%) were offered admission to HSAS-Lehman.


The cutoff score for Brooklyn Tech in 2023 was 503. Out of the 27,669 students who took the SHSAT for 2022 Admissions, 1,498 students (5.41%) were offered admission to Brooklyn Tech.


The cutoff score for Brooklyn Latin in 2023 was 493. Out of the 27,669 students who took the SHSAT for 2022 Admissions, 387 students (1.40%) were offered admission to Brooklyn Tech.


600 is an excellent SHSAT score that would guarantee admission to any of the Specialized High Schools.


The maximum score on each section is usually around 350, and the maximum composite score is usually around 700; however, the actual maximum and minimum scores change from year to year.


There is no single passing score on the SHSAT. Read more about each high school’s cutoff score at the top of this page.

Source: Kenny Tan Test Prep

high school SHSAT

2023 SHSAT Score Calculator/ Conversion Table

This SHSAT score conversion table can be used to convert RAW scores into SCALED scores. It will produce a conservative estimate of your score for each section (ELA/Math).


The DOE website tells us…

  • In the middle of the range of scores, an increase of one raw score point may correspond to an increase of 3 or 4 scaled score points.
  • At the top or bottom of the range of scores, an increase of one raw score point may correspond to 10–20 scaled score points.
  • The maximum score on each section is usually around 350.

Furthermore, while there are 57 questions in each section of the test, 10 questions in each section are field (experimental) questions. Older versions of the SHSAT handbook mention this, while newer editions omit this fact:

Description of field questions from the 2020-2021 SHSAT handbook

Based on this information, I reverse-engineered the following conversion table for RAW scores out of 47. The actual conversion table used for your SHSAT will be more/less generous depending on the difficulty of the version of the test that you receive.

Kenny Tan, a tutor who compiled this information, then multiplied each RAW score by (57/47) and used polynomial interpolation to calculate SCALED scores for each integer from 0 to 57.

Are you looking for help preparing for the SHSAT? Schedule a free consultation with Kenny Tan today to discuss how one-on-one tutoring can help you get admitted to the Specialized High School of your choice.

college admissions consultant

How to Score High on the PSAT

To improve your PSAT score, it is important to understand the format and content of the PSAT exam. Familiarizing yourself with the structure of the sections and the types of questions they contain is essential. Additionally, utilizing strategies to help you answer questions correctly and efficiently will also help boost your score. 

This article provides helpful tips and strategies to help you reach your goal. Keep reading below.


For the PSAT, it is more beneficial to pass on the more complicated questions and focus on the ones that are easier and faster to answer. This is because all questions are worth the same amount, regardless of the difficulty. The only thing that matters is selecting the correct answer, no matter how you got there.

The PSAT does not require you to answer the questions in a specific order. Instead, you can use your knowledge and skills to get the most points. You may find it helpful to skip around and tackle the questions that you are most confident in first. With this strategy, you can maximize your score on the PSAT.


The PSAT has four possible answers for each question, and you won’t be penalized for guessing. Even if you don’t know the answer, you still have a one-in-four shot of randomly choosing the right option. It’s worth taking a shot at the questions even if you don’t know the answer since you won’t lose any points for getting it wrong. The worst outcome is that you won’t earn any points on that question, so it’s worth a try!


Take the time to care for yourself while studying for the test. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat nutritious meals, and avoid staying up all night before the exam. Reduce stress and fatigue, and don’t focus on negative thoughts. Prepare for the test with a positive outlook and view it as a chance to show off your knowledge.


Taking practice tests before the exam is a great way to get ready for the exam. They help you familiarize yourself with the structure of the exam and also give you an idea of how well you are doing in terms of preparation. You can identify your weaker and stronger topics so that you can focus more on the weaker ones. Additionally, taking practice tests teaches you how to manage your time effectively, which is essential for any exam.

The key to successful PSAT preparation is focusing on the quantity and quality of questions you practice. Begin by taking practice tests or doing practice questions from official PSAT material. This will help you identify which areas you find difficult and need more practice with. After you complete the practice questions, try to determine what went wrong in any questions you got wrong, and work to understand how to avoid making the same mistakes again. This will help you become more confident and prepared for when you take the actual test.


If you want to do well on the writing and language section of the exam, it’s essential to make sure that you are familiar with basic grammar rules. Pay attention to any errors that sound correct but are incorrect so that you don’t make the same mistake on the test. It’s good that there are not too many concepts tested in this section, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time studying to improve your score.


Researching, practicing, and reviewing the material is essential to achieving a satisfactory PSAT score. Several resources are available to help students prepare, including online practice tests, study guides, and test-taking strategies. Working with a tutor or taking a prep course can also provide extra guidance and support. With the right approach and dedication, students can feel confident and well-prepared for the PSAT.

Content provided by Kenny Tan Test Prep. If you are looking for a PSAT tutor, choose Kenny Tan Test Prep, which helps students get into the best public and private schools, including Ivy League and other top-tier universities. Schedule a free consultation.

The Best Ways You Can Overcome Test Anxiety Today

high school


The SHSAT is the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test, used to determine admission to certain public high schools in New York City. On top of attending daily classes, students would also have to prepare for the exam, balancing their school work, review periods, and extracurricular activities. Therefore, it takes skills to do well on the exam while doing other tasks simultaneously. But how can students prepare better for the SHSAT? Here are some ideas.

The first step is to know more about specialized high schools. There are nine specialized high schools in New York City: Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Technical High School, High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College, High School of American Studies at Lehman College, Queens High School for the Sciences at York College, Staten Island Technical High School, Brooklyn Latin School, and Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.

These schools are known for their rigorous academics, and students must take and pass the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) to be eligible for admission. The SHSAT is a multiple-choice test that covers reading comprehension, writing, and mathematics. Students should research and learn more about the schools and what they offer. They can use the internet, books, and other resources to learn about the schools. If they know what they want, they can focus on that school and prepare better for the exam.

As a student, it is essential to challenge yourself to improve your skills. They should try to read more challenging books and texts. It will help them improve their reading comprehension and prepare for the SHSAT. They can read recommended books for high school students or even college students. Overall, advanced reading sessions should help them prepare for the topics covered by the SHSAT and help students study for them.

A diagnostic test can help a student identify their strengths and weaknesses. As a result, it will help them focus on the areas they need to work on and prepare better for the test. There are many diagnostic tests available online, and they are usually free. Students who know their weaknesses can find ways to refocus their study sessions on tricky topics.

The Math section of the SHSAT is one of the most challenging sections for students. Therefore, students must brush up on their math skills to prepare for the SHSAT. They can do this by practicing various problems and reviewing their math notes from school. Even if students are not great at math, they should try to improve their skills by studying for the SHSAT.

Students should take a variety of practice tests to improve their test-taking skills. By taking practice tests, students can enhance their time management skills, learn how to better pace themselves on the test, and become more familiar with the questions that the questionnaire will ask on the SHSAT.

The SHSAT is a significant test for students who want to attend one of the specialized high schools in New York City. Students must work hard and prepare for the test if they’re going to have a chance of getting into one of these schools. The tips above will help students prepare for the SHSAT and improve their chances of getting into their dream school.

Content used with permission by Kenny Tan Test Prep, a professional SHSAT tutor based in Brooklyn. Kenny Tan Test Prep aims to identify every student’s weaknesses and invest in them to help them excel in exams. However, instead of following the traditional way of tutoring, Kenny Tan Test Prep tries to make every session dynamic, engaging, and enjoyable. Schedule a free consultation and prepare for the SHSAT.


Even if a school claims to be “test-optional,” the reality is that admission to a highly desired school still often requires meeting certain score thresholds on standardized tests that measure a student’s ability, skills, and knowledge. However, very few students can produce the scores implicitly required by top-tier schools.

Enrolling in a one-on-one tutoring program is the best way to ensure your student will be prepared to take their exams and handle the rigorous coursework at their preferred school or university. But why else should they consider the services of a test prep tutor? Here are some ideas:

A test prep tutor can offer personalized testing strategies that help students better understand the material they need to know. These strategies are tailored to each student’s learning style and strengths. Therefore, they do better with them than with one-size-fits-all approaches.

Testing strategies ensure that students can best prepare for their exams and improve their chances of success. Therefore, personalizing them depending on the student should heighten their scores once they take the exams, securing their spot in their first-choice school.

Personalized testing strategies can help improve students’ test scores because they are tailored to the individual student’s strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, they can focus on the material they need to know and can apply the most effective strategies to answer the questions.

In addition, personalized testing strategies can help reduce the amount of time spent studying, resulting in less stress and a better chance of success. Students can become more confident and better equipped to answer the questions correctly.

Personalized testing strategies can help increase students’ confidence in their abilities because they are tailored to their strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, they can focus on what they need to know to do well on their exams.

In addition, they can practice their strategies more efficiently, as they can target their weak areas and focus on what they need to know. As a result, they will feel more confident and perform better on their tests without thinking about the possibility of failing.

Personalized testing strategies can also help students better manage their time. By having a customized testing strategy, students can plan their study time more efficiently and make sure they are focusing on suitable topics, reducing the time they need to prepare overall.

It can help them stay on track and avoid wasting time on topics they are already familiar with. In addition, they can set realistic goals and ensure they are not spending only a little bit of time on specific issues. They will also better manage their time on the testing day, answering all items.

Personalized testing strategies can also help students improve their memory retention. Students can better remember the information they have studied by focusing on topics related to the test material, leaving unnecessary issues behind.

By understanding the topics and the way questions are phrased, students can better recall the information when they see it on the test. As a result, it can help them answer questions quickly and accurately, leading to higher scores with a better chance of admission to their preferred schools.

Personalized testing strategies can be an effective way to help students prepare for their exams. By understanding the topics and how questions are asked, students can improve their memory retention and answer questions more quickly and accurately.

Additionally, they can also create customized learning plans that are tailored to their individual needs and strengths. All in all, personalized testing strategies can help students achieve their academic goals.

Content used with permission by Kenny Tan. Kenny Tan Test Prep is a tutoring center in Brooklyn helping students ace the SHSAT, ISEE, SSAT, HSPT, ACT, SAT, and other standardized tests.

college admissions consultant high school

The Dirty Little Secret Other Parents Don’t Want You to Know…Until it’s Too Late!

On a beautiful hot summer day at an Ivy League university, some parents of incoming freshmen are at a garden reception to welcome them and their students to the school. There are cheese and crackers, freshly baked cookies and lemonade, and the parents are catching their breath after moving their kids into their dorms.

The topic of conversation between the parents soon become how many schools the kids applied to and how they were accepted to this top Ivy League school. It turned out that both students took advantage of admissions consulting services.

The dirty little secret of Ivy League parents is that many of them use admissions consultants, but they won’t let you know until their kids are already attending the school of their choice. When their kids are applying, they will not likely let you know for fear of competition. It is after their kids are attending the schools that they start trading notes. Ivy week came and went, and there were many tears from parents and kids who didn’t get in. What went wrong? You didn’t know what you were doing!

I recently received this mailing from Solomon Admissions showing the 2020-2021 average acceptance rates of students to top schools with and without Solomon’s consulting:

As you can see from the above, there is definitely an advantage to hiring a consultant. A consultant will guide the student throughout the admissions process. The schools are looking for passion and the consultant can help find that passion and make the student’s application be the best it can be.

One parent we interviewed paid over $10,000 to Solomon for their services. Was he happy with the results? Well, his kid didn’t get into Harvard (the student didn’t apply). However, the student did get into one of the Ivy League universities listed in Solomon’s mailing. The parent’s only regret is that Solomon did not get involved sooner. If Solomon had started guiding the student during her freshman year in high school, she would not have wasted time on less important things like science Olympiad, which she was not passionate about, and instead focused on her passion, which was sports and fitness. But to tell you the truth, how can normal teenagers be expected to know what their passion is? It’s all a crapshoot anyway. The college consultant just makes your student sound better than the rest. And that is the dirty truth no one wants you to know until their kids get into the top schools.

high school

Why is Staten Island Technical High School Arguably the Best High School in NYC?

I admit, as a Stuyvesant High School alum, I was kind of disappointed when my daughter decided to check off Staten Island Technical High School as her number one choice before she took the SHSATs. You must pick one high school, and if you score high enough, that is the school you will attend, no changing of minds. I had worked so hard to try to get her ready for the SHSATs: three years before the test, I took her to Kaplan in Manhattan, and then every weekend, I hired a private tutor to hone her math and English skills. The tutoring was not for naught, because she was able to get straight As in class as well as score a near-perfect score on the SAT. I just kind of wished that she could have attended Stuy like I did. But– is Stuy really the best high school in NY? It is in Manhattan, and Manhattan is supposed to be the best, right? However, for kids who do not live in Manhattan, the commute is terrible. Why subject a young teen to four hours of commuting everyday?

Unfortunately, Stuyvesant is near the World Trade Center, which has been the target of at least three terrorist attacks. In 2017, someone even ran his car across the pedestrian walkway near Stuy, killing and injuring many. For this reason, Stuy will always be more dangerous than other high schools in the other boroughs. As for traffic, a Stuy kid can cross the pedestrian bridge to cross the West Side Highway to get to the high school. A kid from Brooklyn who takes the S79 bus to get to Staten Island Tech will need to cross Hylan Boulevard to go home.

Staten Island Tech has some excellent athletic facilities right on campus, including a football field, track, and tennis court. Being in Manhattan, Stuy’s space is more vertical, with many floors in the building, each dedicated to a specific topic like math and science. Of course, Stuy’s Olympic pool is very special and Tech does not have a pool.

The competition at Stuy is fierce; more so than at any other school. Seems like your kid will constantly be competing with others in the class. However, college admissions officers might be more inclined to accept a student from Stuy due to past acceptances. Staten Island is also competitive, but not as bad as Stuy. But isn’t the goal to aim high and see where you land? If your goal is Stuy, then go for it. After all, Stuy is a feeder school to Harvard. Stuyvesant probably gets more students than Staten Island Tech into the elite schools. However, the competition is stiff, and your kid would be way more stressed out all the time. The two things you must do to help your kid get into an Ivy are: hire a professional college coach and spend money on tutoring. The competition is so stiff nowadays, you need a strategy for applying to schools. Even if schools don’t require SAT scores, tutoring is key to scoring high grades in class.

What if you are undecided and your goal is just to get into a specialized high school? Should you just pick the school you really want to attend? We asked Kenny Tan, an SHSAT tutor in New York City, and he replied:

Students are ranked according to their score on the test and assigned to a school depending on their rank, the priority in which they placed schools on their application, and the seats available at each school.

The cutoff score for a school changes from year to year depending on how the test takers perform that year. Students are ranked from highest to lowest score. The student with the highest score always gets their first choice. Then the next student gets their first choice and so on and so. If, by the time the system gets to you, your first choice school is full, then you’ll get your 2nd choice, unless that one is also full, then you’ll get your 3rd choice unless that one is also full, and so on and so on. The cutoff score for a school is whatever score the last student that gets admitted into that school scored.

Not all students who took the SHSAT will get an offer to a testing Specialized High School, and the Specialized High Schools do not have waitlists.

Kenny Tan, SHSAT Tutor

The moral of the story is that the SHSAT is like musical chairs, and if you do not choose your first choice wisely, you might not wind up with a seat!


Ivy League Golf Courses

As an avid observer of business networking dynamics and tools, I have been trying to get my child to take golf lessons. Unfortunately, opportunities did not present themselves and in NYC, the best option is the driving range at Chelsea Piers. Expensive and too much work to get to when you do not live in Manhattan. Also, can the driving range and video simulations actually teach a child to play golf better than playing on a real golf course? I think not.

Imagine my excitement when I learned that Cornell has its own on-campus golf course. This is where our future masters of the universe can start to learn to network. Take a look at Google Maps and you will see that it is indeed close enough for your child to go on a regular basis. The golf course is accessible by bus.

If you are a Cornell student, you can take advantage of this great opportunity to learn the skills you need to succeed in the workplace. According to this New York Post article, after college, it is way harder to learn how to golf.

Upon further investigation, it seems the Cornell golf course has not been kept up to par. It is a shame that this beautiful course cannot be as glorious as it once was. However, as of this writing, Cornell is proposing to make renovations at its Robert Trent Jones Golf Course: installation of new stormwater drainage lines would be installed, and replacement of some sand bunkers with turf.

Yale University has a beautiful golf course that is featured in many Golf magazines. So, if you are lucky enough to be a Yale student, be sure to take golf lessons soon.

Age 3-8

My Three-Year Old Learned to Read with Hooked on Phonics

We were stopped at a red light when my three-year old daughter said, “na-ka-ta”, reading the sign of a Japanese restaurant. I heard her and tears started to well in my eyes. For the past few months, I had been sitting with her at the kitchen table with the Hooked on Phonics book, teaching her phonics like cat, sat, nat.

Being an immigrant who did not learn English until age eight, I realized the importance of being able to read. I did not take it for granted or leave it up to the teachers. I wanted to show my daughter the possibilities after one learns to read.

Yes, a kid can start to read at age three. Why is this important? Your kid can get a head start on all the educational possibilities after learning to read. Your kid will always be above grade reading level, and be put in the better classes. This affects the education of your child more than you know. After teaching my child to read, I was able to make my child do workbooks for active learning. This allowed her to pass entrance exams to get into honors programs, top high schools and ace the SATs— and become an Ivy League university student.

I checked out the Hooked on Phonics website and they’ve provided a lot more material than was available to us 15 years ago, when I used the awesome tools for reading. I highly recommend that you check out some of the free samples and see what they can do to help your child learn to read.

college admissions consultant

Ask an Ivy League Mom

Ask an Ivy League Mom

Dear ILM,

Will an SAT score of 1560 out of 1600 and a 4.0 Grade Point Average and excellent extracurriculars (tennis and president of the finance club) get me into an Ivy League university?


There are no guarantees that a great SAT score and perfect grades will get you into the Ivy League.  The schools reject plenty of students with flawless scores and grades; there are just too many applicants to allow everyone in.  It’s all based on what your college is looking for that year.  If you are great at tennis, and they happened to need a tennis player that year, that might help your application.  If they need someone who is really interested in finance and have done unique things to demonstrate that interest and you fit the bill, that might help your application.  You cannot predict your acceptance based on grades alone, because the colleges get a ton of students with perfect grades, most of whom they must reject.  If your family can afford it, we suggest that you hire a college coach early to determine what you need to concentrate on to make your application stand out.   One college coach we spoke to said to apply to the less competitive majors, such as art or labor relations instead of finance, then transfer later on if the school will allow. We suggest that you look into yourself and ask what are you passionate about that can help make the world a better place, and start something that would help your community.  Something unique, something that few have done before.  Perhaps help low-income kids learn tennis, or start a website to help people learn finance. 

Some suggestions:

  1. Apply early decision to your top choice school.  There is less competition for early decision, and colleges will more likely to accept you to increase their yield of acceptances.  Be aware, however, that you are committed to that school and agree to attend regardless of the financial aid package.  Therefore, be sure you have plenty of money in your college fund or be prepared to borrow. 
  2. Concentrate on your essay.  Top colleges will be reviewing your essay very carefully, so make sure you write a great essay that shows what you are all about.
  3. Work on your community service.  Do as much good for society as possible and put it on your application.  Build websites for churches and charities. Volunteer.  Raise money for the local food bank.  Ask not what a school can do for you but what you can do for the school and society!
money money saving hack

How to Afford a College Education

If you add a little to a little, and then do it again, soon that little shall be much.” —Hesoid

A very wise woman once told me that money provides freedom in life, and a college education is expensive at around $60,000 to $80,000 a year (with room and board) at the time of this writing in 2022.  If you are extremely rich, you don’t have to worry about this part.  However, for the rest of us, money for education is something we need to consider as soon as your kid is born.  There are groups on Facebook about paying for college for high income families.

You have 18 years to come up with the money: how will you spend these 18 years?  If you have a rich relative who is kind, perhaps you can get him or her to start a college fund for your child.  Even if your kid has a college fund, keep on adding to it every year, because you just never know if you will need more money. What if your kid wants to attend graduate school after college?  However, if the rich relative never appears, you need to start a college fund yourself as soon as possible.  A 529 account is a tax-free account for college as long as the expenses are used for college.  If you do not withdraw from the fund, your child can continue to keep the fund and use it for her child’s educational expenses.

Whatever you do, invest early and invest often.  Invest as soon as the kid is born. 

We used the Mass Mutual calculator to see how much one needs to save for a kid born today (2022):

When your first child goes to a private 4-year college in 2040, their total estimated tuition will be $517,293.

To fund your children’s education you need to save $1,251 per month until 2043.

In addition to your contributions of $320,346, your college savings could grow by $196,947 over 22 years.

Based on this calculator, you need to save $15,012 per year around 21 years.  If you split the savings into months, it makes the amount a bit easier to stomach. One thing you need to watch out for is not to be too aggressive with your investment choices as your kid becomes closer to college-age.  Yes, in 2021, the S&P 500 returned 26.89% but so far in March 2022, the S&P returned negative 12.17%.  You can lose so much money in just a few months if you are not careful!   If you are in a 529 account, make sure to stick to the age of the child recommendations in the fund.  Look at what happened to the stock market between 2021 and 2022 before you get too confident that your money will keep on going up and your child is close to going to college (as in within a year or less). 

There are Facebook pages about affording college.  One of the more popular ones is called Paying for College for High-Income Families 101.  It is good just to lurk and read posts by parents to learn how people are saving and trying to afford college.

Another thing to trick yourself to save if you are a parent is to increase the taxes that your employers take out of your paycheck so that you get a bigger refund at tax time.  If you claim single and zero deductions, the employer will take out a lot more for taxes.  Or, you can just ask them to take out more taxes.  Then, you or your accountant can file your taxes using the formula for married filing jointly (if that is your situation) and you will get a huge tax refund especially if you have child tax credits and other tax deductions such as a mortgage.

Apply for as many scholarships as possible.  You never know, maybe someone will give you some money for college.  Your high school guidance counselor should be emailing opportunities for scholarships.

I have heard good things about work study, but if your child needs to concentrate on school, it is up to you whether this is a good thing for you.  Of course, there are people who have no choice but to work, and this is fine too.

If you are a student who is reading this and your parents did not save any money for your education, should you take out loans?  Often, this is the only way you can stay in school.  Yes, you might owe a lot of money when you graduate, but you have a chance to make something of your life with this degree.  With some hard work, ambition and smarts, you will never lose money with an Ivy League degree.  An Ivy League education is the best investment you can make in yourself.  You will gain access to a group of people who can help you in so many ways.  Let me tell you about a girl who was offered an opportunity to go to law school.  She was working in a retail store at the time, and she could not quit any faster.  She left the store with a big bag of books that she purchased at the bookstore for her courses, and never looked back.  She signed for the student loans and just concentrated on her school work.  She did not know this, but the tuition they charged was a bargain because the tuition would increase tremendously year after year.  When she got married, her husband’s family paid off her student loans.  She worked as an attorney and became a self-made millionaire due to the blind faith that she would succeed one day.  That is manifestation, ladies and gentlemen.  Believe that it will happen and it will.