High SChool Test Prep & College Admissions Coaching
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Work with One Expert for your Entire College Application
Quality is always better than quantity when seeking an expert to guide the college application journey, but finding that quality whether it's identifying the best college to attend in pursuit your ambitions or locating the right consultant to help write a truly captivating application essay can be challenging amidst all of the available options. MyGuru believes that the first job of any successful graduate school admissions and test prep expert is to keep the application process (which should be an exciting opportunity!) from devolving into a stressful obligation. MyGuru's Director of Instruction, Stefan Maisnier, has two decades of experience doing just that and so much more.
College is expensive, but scholarships and merit-based aid are available for students with a compelling application, so working with someone who is capable of asking the right questions and cultivating the skills necessary to make that applicant as appealing as possible is priceless. While most admissions consultants are not test prep experts and most test prep experts aren't accomplished editors, Stefan's diverse background of experience both academically and professionally allows him to excel in each of these roles.
He understands that busy high schoolers and their families may not have the time needed to discover and consider all of the academic options that are available to them on their own. Similarly, a junior or senior juggling many responsibilities will need to maximize every minute they spend preparing for either the ACT or SAT, so it's better to have an expert guide them to the best test to avoid wasting time on the wrong one. As a single point of contact for everything from researching programs to ACT or SAT prep to essay drafting and editing to curating extracurricular activities, he is a true college admissions guru who can guide any and all aspects of the application journey to make sure that you submit an application that is irresistible to any admissions committee!
Tell Us Your College Application Story
No matter how accomplished a student is, the college applications process is stressful. We understand part of that stress comes from finding the right application coach when there are so many options out there, so we always start with a free introductory conversation. While we can also conduct a phone call, we recommend a videoconference as it allows a greater opportunity to share exactly what separates MyGuru and Stefan from all other admissions consultants and test prep experts out there. In that videoconference you will be able to:
- Talk about your goals and whether you have identified target schools or would like help in doing so
- Explain where you are in the application process and what deadlines, if any, you have to meet
- Discuss the standardized testing requirements of your admissions process to consider which test might be best for you to attempt and learn how MyGuru's online tutoring is the best way to prepare for any virtually administered test
- Share an overview of your academic history, extracurricular resume, and personal biography to help Stefan begin to understand what would be best to highlight (or minimize) in any applications
- Review any essay prompt(s) you need to address or rough drafts you might have written for initial feedback or brainstorming
- Have a friendly conversation with Stefan to determine whether you click with him as your potential graduate school guru!
Based on this introductory conversation, Stefan will provide itemized pricing and package options so that you can choose exactly what services you want and leave out any that you don't.
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Your ACT or SAT Tutoring Guru
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of policies for including a standardized test as part of a college application has grown significantly. Some schools advertise test optional policies, but those really should read "test optional for Nobel Prize winners", since even though it's never said, a good score remains an asset to just about every application. Other schools may require an exam but deciding whether that is the ACT or SAT is an important consideration that is unique to every student. Having a true expert to help you understand all of these options and identify the best test for you can help significantly augment your application by improving your performance on the only part of it that can be changed in a period of weeks or months.
As a dedicated full-time test prep expert for nearly a decade, it is hard to find anyone who pays more attention to the ACT or now digital SAT than Stefan does. Since his days working for The Princeton Review, Stefan has always recoiled at the idea that these assessments are just "stupid tests". He believes that while they are somewhat arbitrary, they do in fact help evaluate (and if prepared for well, develop!) logic and problem-solving skills that are beneficial in college, and even further down the line in graduate school.
Stefan turned that passion for teaching the skills of these artfully developed exams into the dynamically engaging MyGuru approach for online tutoring that focuses on teaching the content of test to each student individually rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all curriculum that maximizes deployment efficiency over instructional efficacy. He has also produced three different online, 40+ hour video courses with our partners at Analyst Prep to share his approach to the Executive Assessment, the legacy GMAT, and the new GMAT Focus edition to students who aren't able to commit to live tutoring. Regardless of the method, Stefan enjoys turning testing skeptics into believers by illustrating that the seemingly arbitrary math and logic skills tested on these exams can in fact help encourage useful skills in college and beyond!
Impress Admissions with Your Application Essays
Unlike most admissions consultants, Stefan does not have years of professional experience as an admissions officer at a top 20 business or law school. Instead, he possesses what a past student called "the superpower to get people to be completely open and honest with him and themselves". This superpower, along with his degrees in communication from the University of Southern California and journalism from Northwestern University, enables him to truly showcase an applicant's unique strengths while skillfully explaining away any potential liabilities.
The key to any successful college application is knowing why you want to pursue the specific degree program you're applying to explain how the degree will be an asset to you as a graduate and you will be an asset to the university as an alum. Accomplishing this in an application requires the extensive research and storytelling abilities that Stefan developed working as an Emmy-nominated live associate producer and assistant director at ESPN and Fox Sports. At every step of the application process, he'll be working onto make sure that you aren't surprised by or unprepared for anything that the admissions process throws your way.
Global Application Experience
Applying to college is becoming an increasingly international competition, so working with someone possessing an international perspective is very important. A dual US and French citizen, Stefan lived, studied, and worked abroad before committing to MyGuru full time, so he can speak to the experiences of international students more insightfully than many other college admissions consultants.
Because of his expertise, he has been invited to speak with and teach students about test prep and application best practices at top universities, including at the number 1 business school in Germany, ESMT, as well as at his alma mater Northwestern and Northeastern Illinois University in his home state of Illinois. From his adopted hometown of Chicago, Stefan has worked with applicants across the globe from Africa to Latin America to East and South Asia to Europe and with students in nearly every corner of the United States. Most of this work is conducted virtually, but he is available for in-person consulting and test prep upon request, having traveled internationally to meet with students in the past.
Making Application Deadlines
Applying to college is a serious commitment, so hopefully you're not facing imminent deadlines as you consider how to make your application shine. That said, Stefan is used to working on tight deadlines and can accommodate just about any schedule (and has!) around the globe regardless of time zone.
Theoretically, though, an exceptional application (or several) should take 3-6 months to complete from start to finish when considering all of an applicant's other responsibilities. These tasks usually include, but are not limited to, identifying potential target programs, crafting a tailored resume for your academic pursuits, sourcing recommendation letters, preparing for and taking a standardized admissions exam, filling out the online components (usually through the Common App) of the application, and writing any long form essays or producing a video essay. Additional tasks can include seeking merit-based or other forms of financial aid using the FAFSA.
At every step of the way, Stefan would personally be responsible for addressing all of your application needs so that you never had to worry about repeating or reintroducing yourself to another consultant.
More Grad School Application Resources