Nine months ago, Laura Harlick and Nicole Shelley were talking about what they had been up to since they last worked together as teachers at Sandy Ridge Elementary School in Waxhaw.
They both get requests for tutoring from parents of former students. Some of their former students are now in high school preparing for the ACT or SAT.
Harlick and Shelley decided to start a new academic advising venture, Partners in Prep. Their approach is much more than test prep.
With more universities putting less stock on standardized test scores when it comes to admissions, Harlick and Shelley wanted their company to take a more holistic approach to help students prepare for college.
“We wanted the kids to look at themselves first and kind of pick the colleges that would match who they are rather than applying to a bunch of schools because they have the right GPA or extracurricular activities,” Shelley said.
Ideally, they want to help eighth-graders navigate high school, but they help upperclassmen, too.
“We meet them where they are and help them move through the whole pre-college process,” Harlick said.
Some of the services they offer include setting academic goals, picking courses, exploring volunteer and work options, preparing for the ACT or SAT, planning campus visits, and nailing the dreaded college essay.
One service that will come in handy this summer, in particular, is the slate of academic boot camps.
North Carolina closed schools in March to prevent the spread of COVID-19, prompting school districts to offer remote learning. Some students did the work. Others, not so much.
Students can select the boot camp they need most. Boot camps include math, ranging from algebra to Advanced Placement calculus, as well as ACT/SAT prep, college essays and debate.
“In our hearts and souls, we’re both teachers no matter what path we choose,” Shelley said. “This goes back to our teaching passion and getting kids really where they need to be just because we care about each kid. That’s the focus of our company, the focus of our boot camp and the focus of everything we do.”
On the web: www.partnersinprep.com