FAQ

Below are replies to our most frequently asked questions related to:

USApplicants and what we offer

What do you help with?

USApplicants provides support across the three core areas of US school admissions: tuition for standardised exams (ISEE, SSAT, SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Tests); school list advice; and application mentoring. We specialise in guiding students though the whole process, but are always flexible to specific needs.

How do you compare to other American tuition and advice services?

First, all of our tutors are well-versed in the UK education system and are thus able to teach the exams and mentor applications from a UK perspective. Second, our service is highly personalised. We do not ask our clients to sign contracts or commit to a number of hours. We are there for you – when and how you need us. Finally, we are highly personable. Our tutors have all been through the process themselves, and are closer in age to the students than others on the scene. We’re friendly and aim to make the process as enjoyable as possible–read our testimonials to hear it from former clients!

How much do your services cost?

Most families who are serious about quality one-on-one support for US-focused training find that our rates are very competitive. Please do not hesitate to initiate a conversation with us by sending us an email.

We live outside of London. Can we still receive at home tuition?

We generally offer tuition in the Greater London area. However, depending on where you live and your requirements, we have tutors who are happy to travel. For holiday stints in the country or abroad, we can provide residential placements. Alternatively, online tuition may also be an option. Please get in touch with what you have in mind and we will work with you to find a happy solution.

When should I start?

We can help at any stage of your application or test preparation. Touch base two years before you apply, give us a ring a few months before your test date, or call for last-minute assistance. Whatever you need, we’re here for you.

For students applying to primary or secondary schools, we recommend getting in touch in as soon as you know you will be applying to American schools. We can ease the transition between the UK and US systems with sustained academic support, create a school list with you, or give targeted tutoring for the entrance exams.

For students applying to American universities, we recommend getting in touch the summer before GSCE exams (after Year 10). We can help you plan coursework, extracurriculars and exam schedules to ease the application process in Years 12 and 13, particularly if you will also be applying to UK universities. We offer casual or intensive support for the SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Tests, and AP exams, whether you need to brush-up on a specific topic or to immerse yourself in a comprehensive review. Mentors are available to help you craft applications from day one, or to give focussed feedback on final drafts.

Do you give advice on visas?

We give top-line information on visas, but you will need to contact the American Embassy to progress this when the time comes. Be forewarned that it can be a bit of a process, so budget plenty of time for dealing with bureaucracy.

How do you select your tutors?

USApplicants has a rigorous selection procedure. Tutors are all interviewed face-to-face by our directors, and are selected for appropriate experience, teaching talent, and plain kindness. We tap into networks of young, enthusiastic, and bright American recent graduates based in London. Many of our tutors have been teaching for years, yet they can still maintain sympathy for just how confusing and competitive the application process is, having completed it not too long ago themselves.

Beyond their own experience and methods, USApplicants tutors have access to a “best approaches” guideline for each subject. We don’t have one set curriculum; rather, our headquarters maintains a repertoire of strategy guides, textbooks, and practice materials to support all standards and personalities. We facilitate our tutors to work as a team with each other and with USApplicants Headquarters, so you get the shared wisdom and tactics of more than just one expert.

Do I have to sign a contract for a specific number of hours?

No. Unlike other organisations, we don’t ask you to sign contracts or commit to a certain amount of hours. Whether you need a single refresher session or regular meetings over the long term, we’re here to help. We also believe in constant accountability and reporting: if the student is progressing more quickly than expected, we will adjust the planned hours accordingly. In this way, we are respectful of your time and pocketbook!

Do you provide teaching materials?

We have some teaching materials at our HQ and also on our website, but strongly recommend that every student has their own materials. For ISEE and SSAT preparation, we recommend books by Test Prep Works, LLC. For SAT preparation, the practice tests available from The College Board are a good place to start; for the ACT, The Official ACT Prep Guide.  For university selection, we recommend The Fiske Guide to Colleges.

Where do I start?

Read through this website and familiarise yourself with our process. The next step is to call us at 0203 794 1948, or email us the details of your needs, to which we will respond right away. We can then start building a programme that’s perfectly tailor-made for you.

Do you offer online tuition?

Yes, we provide Skype tuition. We recommend this option for students who already have an in-person relationship with their tutor, but we are happy to discuss completely remote course offerings. Students in remote parts of the UK or the world beyond have benefited from access to our top calibre application advisors. Tuition is made possible by our innovative teaching software, which combines video and audio streaming, desktop and file sharing, digital pens and an interactive whiteboard.

Please do drop us a line if you would like to know more about online tuition opportunities offered by USApplicants.

SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject Tests

Do you offer SAT or ACT testing?

We do not offer any official SAT or ACT testing. Students must register with The College Board for the SAT and SAT Subject Tests, or the ACT exam board for the ACT. These examinations are taken at official test centres on official test days.

However, we do offer mock SAT and ACT proctoring services, designed to emulate test day conditions as much as possible.

Can you advise me on SAT Subject Test choices?

Yes. Our tutors’ expertise covers all 20 SAT Subject Test exams options and we will advise students based on their ability and experience in the subjects. Very often, GCSE, AS, and A-level courses have an impact on the SAT Subject Tests a student chooses to take.

Can you help with other American entrance exams (GRE, LSAT, etc.)?

Perhaps! We have a very multi-talented group of tutors, and at any given time, it is entirely possible that we have someone who can suit your needs. Please get in touch to let us know what you’re thinking.

University Admissions

Can you get my child into an “Ivy League” university?

USApplicants’ main mission is to honestly inform and advise to give all students the best possible shot at gaining admission to their best-match school(s). Like their UK counterparts, US universities, especially the internationally renowned ‘name’ schools, are incredibly competitive; the admissions process is complex and nuanced beyond any formula. As such, we hope you understand that it would be both misleading to you and unfair to the student to give any guarantees beyond fulfilling our mission.

My son/daughter is an academic/sports/music/arts prodigy. Can you help with scholarships?

Although USApplicants does not provide guarantees, our tutors have aided students applying for all forms of scholarships. We pride ourselves on our ability to tailor-make our approach to your child’s specific talents/interests, and use them to the best possible advantage.

Can you help me choose which universities to go to?

Absolutely! Our favourite past-time is waxing lyrical about our experiences and those of our friends/family/colleagues. The resources section of our website contains a useful document on US-UK university choices — it is a collection of the thoughts and experiences of our top tutors.

We speak to students extensively about academic, geographical, extracurricular and social considerations, and how these manifest themselves in the daily life of different colleges. As much as you are searching for the right fit, the right university is searching for you. Matchmaking is our business!

ISEE & SSAT, Primary and Secondary School Admissions

Where in London can my student take the ISEE or SSAT exam?

Students must register to take the ISEE or SSAT exam at official test centres on official test dates.

Students can take the ISEE (lower, middle, and upper levels) and the SSAT (middle and upper levels) at the official test site in London, the American School in London (in St. John’s Wood).  The exam offered at ASL is administered on paper, and scores are mailed to the family and indicated schools, usually within 5-7 business days.  The test dates are typically once a month, during the testing season of October to April.

Alternatively, the ISEE can be take at a Prometric Center (at Mansion House).  At Prometric, the exam is administered on the computer and scores are posted online for the family and schools, usually within 24 to 72 hours. There tend to be multiple exam dates each month at Prometric. Registration for taking the exam at either Prometric or ASL must be done online through the ERB/ISEE website.

At this time, neither the lower level SSAT nor the ECAA (administered by ERB) is offered in London.  The SSAT is not available in London outside of the official test dates from October to April.

We are happy to discuss which testing set-up is right for your student, considering their test-taking strategies and application deadlines.

When should my child start preparing?

For students applying to primary or secondary schools, we recommend getting in touch in as soon as you know you will be applying to American schools. You may want to ease the transition between the UK and US systems with sustained academic support, and we can create a school list with you. We can also give targeted tutoring for the entrance exams. It’s unlikely your child will be familiar with all the content (especially math) on the test, so the sooner preparation begins, the more progress we can make.

How long are sessions? Do we come to you or do you come to us?

At USApplicants, we tailor our schedule to you. Sessions tend to be an hour, hour and a half, or two hours, depending on student availability and age. Some students work with their tutor in weekly sessions over several months; others choose intensive sessions during a holiday break. We are completely flexible and will plan around what’s best for your family. Most often, our tutors come to you. If you prefer, we can meet at a mutually convenient and suitable location (e.g. the British Library). We have very limited space for tuition at our Oxford Street offices, but occasionally hold sessions there.