Kelsey received her B.A. in Psychology from Cornell University in 2013, where she earned Distinction in All Subjects (awarded to students in the top 30% of the College of Arts and Sciences), and she also holds a Master of Science degree in Nutrition and Food Science at Montclair State University. She graduated from Immaculate Heart Academy in 2009 as the class salutatorian, an AP and Distinguished Honor Roll student, and the recipient of the IHA Math Award.
Kelsey still attributes her academic successes to the study tactics she developed during her formative elementary and high school years, and she believes that all students (regardless of their field of focus) need to build a solid foundation in writing, reading comprehension, grammatical and syntactical knowledge, and time management techniques.
Kelsey has experience working with students of all ages and a wide range of subjects through her vast tutoring and editing background; she had worked as a lead tutor at a math-focused center for students ages 5 to 18, had individually tutored numerous students on college entrance exam preparation, and has worked professionally as an editorial assistant for research institutions.
Her personal goal is to help students build a foundation of solid study skills that they can rely on throughout their education so that they have the confidence to perform their best in every course.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Cornell University - Bachelor in Arts, Psychology
ACT Composite: 34
ACT English: 36
ACT Math: 33
ACT Reading: 36
ACT Science: 32
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1560
SAT Math: 790
SAT Verbal: 710
SAT Writing: 800
GRE Quantitative: 163
GRE Verbal: 164
Nutrition, Singing/Songwriting, Musical Theater, Photography, Health & Wellness
2nd Grade Math
5th Grade Math
6th Grade Math
7th Grade Math
7th Grade Science
8th Grade Math
9th Grade Math
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Writing
High School Chemistry
High School English
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Science
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
My first session is always focused on getting to the know the student's areas of comfort and concern, as well as working through a few questions from each area we'll address to see how he or she approaches problems. Discussing the goals of our time together is important, and that begins with understanding his or her learning style. Tutoring is a personal matter, and ensuring that a student is comfortable working with me is a major priority of mine.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
When beginning to work on a new topic, I first work through problems alongside the student to help develop the skills necessary to answer the question. I then watch them work through similar problems and offer assistance when needed. Once the student can solve the problems on his or her own, I assign sample problems for homework to help develop the skills to work on questions independently. This also allows him or her to notice areas that need more attention to foster self-assessment and growth.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I believe in the importance of relationship building skills to develop a rapport between tutor and student. It's important that my students know I am there to help them. There are no grades, and they will not be penalized for wrong answers. I encourage them to be honest about their weak points so we can work on them together to help strengthen those points. As a tutor, my job is to offer constant support to help develop skills but, more importantly, to improve their self-confidence and their belief that they can and will improve!
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that we, as a society, need to be comfortable with the fact that we do not know everything. To develop a stronger passion for learning, we have to accept that we have a need for knowledge. This will give you the drive to move forward and master subjects through dedicated study. I often find that students interpret struggles or knowledge gaps as 'failures,' so I emphasize that this is part of the learning process. Being able to identify where you need help and what topics require extra focus is an incredible strength that will help them learn anything they want. Once a student becomes more understanding of that fact that we all start off as blank slates and slowly increase our knowledge through hard work, they stop feeling any shame or frustration with their current weak areas and start to see the results that come with dedicated study.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I try to keep sessions fun! Study skills should not feel like horrendously dry, tedious tasks. I like to rotate topics and keep students interested by giving them some control over which topics we cover on a given day, ensuring that we do address everything necessary but also allowing them to understand that they are in control of their own learning. I keep the tone of the session comfortable and enjoyable so that they do not feel like our time together is a chore. I find that students who enjoy our sessions are those who also are the most motivated in the long run.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
My first plan of action is always to make sure students do not feel any negative feelings when they are having difficulty with a specific area. I try to gather extra materials related to that skill and present a technique in multiple ways, since certain approaches work best for different people. I like to break it down as simply as possible before building the difficulty, allowing them to increase their capabilities and self-esteem as we go.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Many students who struggle with reading comprehension simply need to focus on a few key skills: Slowing down to read deliberately, summarizing as they go, and reading contextually. I find that students tend to speed through passages that they find boring and skim questions haphazardly, though this makes it nearly impossible to understand the meaning of a passage. It is also incredibly difficult to understand the outline of the reading without keeping an ongoing annotated outline as you read, so I teach students how to make brief notes for themselves to organize their thoughts as they proceed. I also encounter students who tend to ignore sentences if they do not understand a certain phrase or word, but focusing on the context of the sentence can help them to capture the meaning instead of skipping it altogether. These steps, when taken together, can make a major difference in students' critical reading skills.