PrepWell Podcast - Ep. 26 | Going Back on Shark Tank

prepwell podcast Mar 28, 2020

Show Notes:

In today’s episode, I announce the airing of my second appearance on Shark Tank where I pitch PrepWell Academy to the Sharks. The episode airs this Friday, 4/3/2020 8pm on ABC. I hope you’ll tune-in to join the fun. I also share the story of when I decided to re-apply to Shark Tank, what the casting call was like, and what I thought of my chances. 
The second half of the episode focuses on a private 1:1 mentoring student of mine whom I call “Sarah”. I help Sarah build a comprehensive semester-at-home course curriculum to help her demonstrate her initiative, curiosity, and ability to thrive under all circumstances - even at-home quarantine due to coronavirus. If your child is at home and not sure what to do - this is a must-listen.

Here is what I discuss in this episode:

0:01:10 When will I be back on Shark Tank?
0:01:35 My first appearance on Shark Tank
0:03:15 Getting a second bite at the apple?
0:04:00 How is Shark...
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PrepWell Podcast - Ep. 25 | Dumber by the Day

prepwell podcast Mar 22, 2020

Show Notes:

In today’s episode, I add some meat to the bone of last week’s podcast. In the last show, we discussed how important it was for your high schooler to keep their academic and personal development momentum going even during a quarantine. This week, I provide a tangible tool to help in this regard. 
Here's a template for a daily schedule that you and your child can fill out together. As a rule, children don’t enjoy long periods of unstructured time. They say they do, but they really crave to be on a schedule. This template will help them set goals, stay organized, and feel better about themselves.
Below is an example of what a completed template looks like. Remember, it doesn't have to be complicated. I know you may be getting inundated with new passwords and logins and platforms.
If you can't manage all of that, try to use this very simple method of carving out time across different disciplines. If it's not perfectly organized,...
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It was over two month's ago when I sat down with my 10-year old son to discuss the academic tasks he was assigned over the summer by his 5th grade teacher:

  1. Read 3 books (Hatchet, The Giver, A Wrinkle in Time)
  2. Create index cards for 300 vocabulary words
  3. Complete 300 math problems

At the time, nothing about these tasks seemed particularly difficult, especially with the "whole summer" to do it.

Preparer or Crammer?

He and I discussed two options:

"Chip away method" - this involved spreading the workload over the entire summer. We did the math, and it came out to roughly 2 pages of reading per day and 1 vocab word and 1 math problem every other day. This amounted to about 8 minutes of concentrated work per day. No big.

"Cram-it-all-in method" - this involved skipping the daily 8-minutes of work in exchange for a 3-week cram session at the end of the summer when all the work had to be completed at once.

We prepared a spreadsheet that mapped out 10 weeks of daily tasks. He could...

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How 9th & 10th-Graders Thrive Under Quarantine

early preparation Mar 18, 2020

As the estimates for quarantining seem to get longer by the day, what can your 9th and 10th-grader do to thrive at home?

They may not appreciate it, but this downtime gives them unprecedented opportunities to grow as a student, citizen, and person.

I've broken down my ideas into a few buckets. My hope is that your child will take some of these suggestions for action.


Not enrolled in PrepWell Academy yet?

Now might be a good time to get started.

Freshman programs

Sophomore programs


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How Your 11th-Grader Can Thrive in Quarantine

As the estimates for quarantining seem to get longer by the day, what can your junior PrepWeller do to thrive at home?

They may not appreciate it, but this downtime gives them unprecedented opportunities to get ahead in the college admissions process.

My guess is that they've been slammed with schoolwork since September and have found it difficult to keep up with all their PrepWell videos and Journaling.

Well, kiss that excuse goodbye.

With weeks and weeks of downtime ahead of them, a meticulous review of every PrepWell video is a must.

Here's how they should be thinking about the next few weeks and months:

Standardized Tests

As we all know by now, your child's SAT or ACT score is a key factor in determining what colleges to focus on. If they have a 4.0+ GPA, but no legitimate SAT or ACT score yet, it will be difficult to determine where they stand on the college admissions continuum. Lots of students have 4.0+ GPAs.

Until they secure a solid SAT or ACT score, they are in...

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PrepWell Podcast - Ep. 24 | How the Coronavirus Just Increased Your Child's College Prospects

prepwell podcast Mar 13, 2020

Show Notes:

In today’s episode, I provide a blueprint to help motivated juniors in high school who need a plan (or a backup plan) for Spring Break - especially for those who just had their college campus visits canceled. 
If your child planned to spend Spring Break visiting colleges, cruising around campuses, eating in the student cafes, taking tours, and gazing up at the pretty buildings - they will be disappointed. It's likely that these plans will be canceled. The good news? My proposed backup plan will be better than the trip would have been in terms of your child's readiness for the college admissions process. If your child does even 1/2 of what Im proposing, they will significantly increase their chance of getting into more colleges. 
Now, your child probably wont think this is such a great deal, because given the choice between going on a 10-day college tour boondoggle versus doing what I’m about to propose, most...
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Letters of Recommendation

How do I ask for a Letter of Recommendation?

I received this question from a highly motivated 9th grade PrepWell Academy student. It's a bit early for 9th graders to worry about this - and I couldn't be more proud! This is proof positive that our message is getting through. It is never too early to prepare well.

How important are letters of recommendation?
If you plan to apply to selective or highly selective schools, they are very important. After a few hours of staring at GPAs and standardized test scores, they all start to blend together - especially for application readers at highly selective schools where everyone posts impressive scores. Letters of recommendation can help you stand out from the crowd. In fact, qualitative inputs like this can serve as tie-breakers in many cases.

When are they needed?
Letters are not normally due until the beginning of senior year, but in no way, shape, or form should you wait that long to begin this process.

Whom do schools want to see letters...

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PrepWell Podcast - Ep. 23 | The Guidance Counselor

prepwell podcast Mar 06, 2020


Show Notes:

In today’s episode, I explore an often overlooked secret weapon in the college admissions process - the high school guidance counselor. Guidance counselors represent a wealth of information, resources, connections, and opportunities that often go underutilized by students and families. Though many guidance counselors are overwhelmed with caseloads 2-3X larger than they should be, they can still play a pivotal role in a student’s success in the college admissions process.
Today’s show discusses why colleges rely so heavily on guidance counselors’ opinions and what students can do to maximize their time with their counselors.

Here is what I discuss in this episode:

0:02:00 Why colleges care about guidance counselor comments
0:03:09 Guidance counselors' subjective input
0:05:09 Why guidance counselors are so credible
0:06:30 Why students should invest in their guidance counselor
0:10:15 How to...
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Why is it so hard to get into college today?

Getting into college is becoming more and more competitive - and expensive. Here are five reasons that suggest why competition has increased so dramatically:

1. More international students
International students are applying to U.S. colleges and universities in record numbers. These students are often the best and brightest from around the world and many are willing (and able) to pay full-freight for a U.S. education. Imagine how enticing these candidates are for colleges. They deliver an admissions trifecta: (1) geographic diversity, (2) high-performing students, (3) paying customers.

2. Common Application
Back in the day, high school students thought long and hard about where to apply to college. Each college had its own application, unique essay questions, quirky formatting instructions, and different submission deadlines. Adding one additional school to the target list might add weeks or months of extra work. Students proceeded with caution. With today's Common Application,...

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PrepWell Podcast - Ep. 22 | A Message For Your Teen

prepwell podcast Feb 29, 2020

Show Notes:

In today’s episode, I go right to the source - your teenager. In a departure from the usual format, I bring what I normally reserve for inside PrepWell Academy, directly to you and your child.
Part of the reason for this experiment is because many parents have told me that they enjoy listening to the podcast with their children in the car.
I thought I’d try to enhance that experience by producing a podcast that was actually meant to be listened to together in the car.
I hope my message resonates with your child, or, at a minimum, opens up the dialogue between you and your teen. 
Today’s topics include: (1) the amazing opportunities that high school provides every teen, (2) a frank discussion about preparation versus procrastination, and (3) the impact of split-second decision-making on long-term success.

Here is what I discuss in this episode:

0:02:37 Who is Phil Black and why should I care?
0:10:56 Topic...
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