Groza Learning Center

College Class of 2025

Class of 2025

Did you know that this year’s applicant pool for the College Class of 2025 has been the most competitive in recent history.  With limited access to traditional extracurriculars such as sports and school clubs, prospective college students wondered – what will colleges expect from them?  College Admission

This year was all about student’s personal stories.  In addition to grades, colleges required compelling essays and videos that documented students’ growth, limitations, and lessons learned during COVID-19.

Strong writing and communication skills were a must for this year’s applicants.

Less academic pressure and commitments make summer a perfect time to brush up on essay writing and interview skills and give you an edge over the competition! 


  • Brown University: 5.4%
  • Columbia University: 4%
  • Dartmouth College: 6.17%
  • Harvard University: 3.4%
  • Princeton University: 4%
  • University of Pennsylvania: 5.68%
  • Yale University: 4.62%
  • MIT: 4%
  • Duke University: 5.76%
  • Johns Hopkins University: 6%
  • Vanderbilt University: 6.7%
  • Amherst College: 8%
  • Colby College:8%
  • Swarthmore College: 8%
  • Williams College: 8%
  • Rice University: 9.3 %
  • Barnard College: 10.4%
  • Tufts University: 11%
  • University of Southern California: 12%
  • Georgetown University: 12%
  • Boston College: 18.9%
  • NYU: 12.8%
  • Washington University: 13%
  • Colorado College: 14%
  • University of Notre Dame: 15%
  • Middlebury College: 15.7%
  • Wellesley College: 16%
  • Colgate University: 17%
  • UVA: 20.6% (17% out of state)
  • Georgia Tech: 18%
  • Boston University: 18.3%
  • Emory University: 20%
  • Bucknell University: 34%
  • Villanova University: 25%


Dear Class of 2025,

The Groza Team would like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to the Class of 2025!  Your exceptional work, dedication, and grit during this very unusual time has paid off.  This year’s pandemic-fueled surge in applications translated into record-low acceptance rates for the country’s colleges.  In fact, this year’s applicant pool for the college Class of 2025 has been the most competitive in recent history.

The coronavirus pandemic has made in-person standardized testing difficult (if not impossible).  Therefore, most Colleges across the country made standardized tests optional — including all eight Ivy League schools and the entire University of California system.

We are very proud of you and we wish you continued success on your exciting journey!

The Groza Learning Center Team

Private School Admissions

Online-tutoring-girl 1

Is the ISEE or SSAT optional?

A personal experience for you and your family is always one you can hold to heart and look back on.  An experience in which you feel comfortable, safe, and reassured.  An experience in which relationships are deeply developed and open conversations are encouraged. Undoubtedly, this experience is one a parent might be seeking for their child when applying for a private school yet, with current world situations almost everything has shifted away from normalcy, and the same should be expected when applying for such schools. Questions about how the admissions process has changed, and requirements for ISEE and SSAT are on the table for discussion.  Parents and students alike need to be mindful of such changes. The road ahead isn’t completely straight, yet with proper guidance and knowledge it will  be easier to navigate.

Private School

Admission Changes:

Private schools expect the best from their students, and the students applying are already stepping up to that expectation. This means that private schools are choosing the best students from an already elite group of students, and these schools conduct this process in several ways. Traditionally, incoming students completed an entrance exam, whether it be an ISEE or an SSAT.  Addionally, students were required to submit an essay and have an interview. However, for the 2020-21 school year many private institutions have decided to due away with standardized tests. The onset of  COVID-19 altered the admissions  process forcing tests, interviews, orientations, and tours to take place virtually.


According to the LAIS the following schools:


  • Archer School for Girls
  • Berkeley Hall School
  • Brentwood School
  • Bridges Academy
  • The Buckley School
  • Campbell Hall
  • Chadwick School
  • Country School
  • Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences
  • de Toledo High School
  • Heschel Day School
  • Marlborough School
  • Marymount School
  • New Roads School
  • Oakwood School
  • Rolling Hills Prep
  • Sinai Akiba Academy
  • Turning Point School
  • The Wesley School
  • Westside Neighborhood School
  • Wildwood School
  • Willows Community School
  • Windward School


  • Calvary Christian School
  • Episcopal School of Los Angeles
  • Harvard-Westlake School
  • Milken Community Schools
  • Mirman School
  • Sierra Canyon School
  • St. Matthew’s Parish School
  • Viewpoint School (CSS Character Skills Snapshot required)
  • Vistamar School


  • Archer School for Girls
  • Windward School


Please note that the Common Transcript Request Form will ask for the last 3 years of each applicant’s school record, to include “an official transcript of all grades and evaluations, testing results, and information regarding disciplinary actions at your school for the 2018-19, 2019-20, and 2020-21 academic years.”

Updated August 28, 2020

How To Prepare:

During these uncertain times having a plan b or c is always a good option.  For those applying or in the admissions process for an independent school, ISEE and SSAT scores definitely stand out from the criteria even if they are not mandatory.  So, what should one do if in a situation where they must take this test?  Test prep and tutoring centers are always a go to when in any academic struggle, and Groza Learning Center specializes in  strengthening test taking skills, increasing confidence, and boosting scores.  While this time may be different, Groza Learning Center is here to help guide families through the process.

A message from Chancellor Johnson on changes to Athletics

A message from Chancellor Johnson on changes to Athletics

Chancellor Johnson provides an important update on changes within the Department of Athletics & Recreation

Dear UMassD community,

I am writing to announce important changes to our Department of Athletics & Recreation.

The decision came after multiple reviews of the intercollegiate athletics program over the past decade. To provide our student-athletes with an exceptional experience, these reviews focused on the areas of sports sponsorship, as well as all areas of department organization. The reviews analyzed major aspects of the department, including available resources, gender equity, enrollment, full-time/part-time coaches, sports sponsorship trends, facilities, as well as strengths and weaknesses of programs.

Intercollegiate athletics provide valuable leadership opportunities for our students and contribute significantly to the vibrancy of our campus. However, our current composition is not sustainable moving forward. With 25 intercollegiate athletic programs, UMass Dartmouth has the second-highest number of offerings in the Little East Conference and this has hindered our ability to effectively support all our student-athletes and teams. The average number of sports offered by NCAA Division III institutions is 19.

Considering this reality, it is with a heavy heart that I must announce that UMass Dartmouth will discontinue eight intercollegiate athletic programs. Effective immediately, the University will no longer sponsor women’s equestrian, men’s golf, men’s lacrosse, co-ed sailing, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s and women’s tennis.

Although these changes will serve UMass Dartmouth Athletics and its student body well for years to come, I cannot begin to imagine the sense of loss our student-athletes must feel at this moment. I want them to know that this decision in no way reflects their tremendous contribution to our University. It is because of these contributions – not just on the field – but in the classrooms, labs, and in the community that makes our student-athletes such valuable members of our community. It should be noted this process began before COVID-19 and is in no way related to the current health crisis.

Our top priority this summer will be to provide support and advising to affected students. Announcing these changes now provides our current and newly recruited student-athletes’ much-needed flexibility to consider their options.

Our incoming and current student-athletes will have the opportunity to join live Zoom sessions with Athletics staff, colleagues in Student Affairs, and other support staff to ask questions and learn more about this decision. Human Resources is also committed to supporting our coaches during this difficult time. Please review our Frequently Asked Questions website for additional information.

UMass Dartmouth is committed to the remaining Athletics program and will be maintaining its current operational budget. The savings realized because of these changes will be allocated strategically within the Department and reinvested in the remaining athletic programs. Our expectation is this will lead to a more sustainable future.

This decision was not made lightly, and I understand the impact it will have for students and their families, for alumni of our teams and our coaches. The University will continue to support our Athletics Department in every way possible as we navigate this transition together.

With gratitude,

Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D.


Thinking About College? Your SAT Prep Guide


The SAT is a standardized test widely used for college admissions in the United States. It is also one of the most challenging components of the admissions process and requires effective planning in order to achieve success.

Deciding when to begin prepping for the SAT will vary; starting too early may leave you struggling since the content on the SAT might not be taught in school until later in the year, plus you will likely forget the material by the time the test rolls around.  In contrast, starting too late will not earn you the high scores you are capable of.

Despite this, every students’ journey will be unique since each learns at a different pace with differing strengths, weaknesses, schedules, and goals.

Step One – taking the PSAT/NMSQT®:
PSAT/NMSQT® (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) is a preliminary version of the SAT exam. The PSAT can be written once per year, and many students take the test in both their sophomore and junior year. Earning a high score on the PSAT in your junior year could qualify you to receive a National Merit Scholarship.

Step Two – take a practice SAT:
A practice SAT is not the same as taking the PSAT. The practice SAT will include all the content found on the official SAT(including the essay), allowing you to establish an accurate baseline score, identify weak areas, and set realistic score goals.

Step Three – create a learning plan and timeline:
The intensity and length of your SAT test-prep will depend on which college you want to attend (State School vs. Ivy League). For instance, highly selective schools like MIT and Harvard are looking for scores of 1500 and above.  In addition, your timeline will depend on whether you choose a more extended and gradual approach versus a shorter and intense one. These decisions will be based on individual study styles, schedules, and goals.

Factors to Consider When Building Your SAT Success Plan:

When To Take The SAT:
Students typically take the SAT a few times, it is recommended that the first time is in the fall of their junior year, the second in the spring of their junior year, and the third in the summer or fall of their senior year.  However, many students prefer taking it in the winter of their junior year, when they have covered most of the material in school.

College Application Deadlines: 
Typically students taking the SAT are doing so as part of their applications to 4-year colleges. Regular decision deadlines for colleges are around January 1 of senior year. But remember, early action (EA) will push your notification and deadlines up by a few months.  The most common EA deadlines are November 1 and November 15. Typically, you will hear back in December, maybe even before you send off your regular decision (RD) application.

SAT Test Dates: 
The SAT is offered seven times throughout the year, in March, May, June, August, October, November, and December.  You will most likely take the SAT three times; therefore, creating a test schedule is crucial since you will want to leave several months in between test dates to prep effectively and increase your score.

Overlapping Dates:
Accounting for overlap with busy times of the year, like AP exams, IB exams, college applications, varsity sports, and extracurricular activities in junior and senior year, is imperative. Effective planning will help balance your schedule, alleviate stress, and allow you to stay focused.

SAT Test Dates:

Due to COVID-19, June 6th SAT and SAT Subject Test Administration have been cancelled.

The College Board will provide weekend
SAT administrations:

  • Aug. 29
  • Oct. 3
  • Nov. 7
  • Dec. 5

Students can register for these administrations starting in May. They will contact students directly when we have the exact date. Eligible students can register with a fee waiver.

For each administration, they are preparing to significantly expand their capacity for students to take the SAT once schools reopen so every student who wants to take the SAT can do so.

How Can Working With A Tutor Maximize Your SAT Score?

Customized Strong Study Plan:  

  • Create timelines
  • Assign homework
  • Target weaknesses
  • Teach important test-taking strategies
  • Reach and crush goals        

Motivation and Accountability: 

  • Provide coaching, mentoring, and cheerleading
  • Keep students on track
  • Students are more engaged
  • Interactive learning
  • Build trust
  • Consistency 
  • Confidence

Personalized Attention: 

  • Lessons tailored to fit your schedule
  • Critical thinking
  • Test-taking strategies
  • Opportunity to discuss questions/concerns in-depth
  • Build confidence 
  • 1-to-1 learning


Free SAT Practice Test
Begin Your College Journey

 Get started on your SAT prep today! 
For more information or to schedule a
complimentary consultation,
please call 

(310) 454-3731 or click here.

Private School ISEE Action Plan: Lets get Prepared

Private School ISEE Action Plan: Lets get Prepared

What is ISEE?

Getting into the right private school can be an incredibly confusing process for parents and students.  Similarly, registering, applying, and testing can often feel daunting and frustrating.  The first step, research and select schools you would like to attend.  The second, register and prepare for the ISEE.  The ISEE, or Independent School Entrance Examination, is a test that students are required to take to gain admission into private schools in the United States.  Therefore, if  you want your child to attend a private school, they will most likely have to register and test for the ISEE as part of the admissions application.

ISEE Test Dates for Private Schools:

Students may register to take the ISEE one time in any or all of three testing season

  • Fall (Aug.-Nov.)
  • Winter (Dec.- Mar.)
  • Spring/Summer (April-July)

 Note: Most private schools require ISEE official scores be submitted between Dec-Jan

Levels of ISEE:

  • Primary Level (entrance to grades 2-4)
  • Lower Level (entrance for grades 5-6)
  • Middle Level (entrance for grades 7-8)
  • Upper Level (entrance for grades 9-12

How is the ISEE structured?

  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Mathematics Achievement
  • Essay ( The essay portion is unscored and sent to the schools you apply to) 

How Can Groza Learning Center Help?

The importance of preparation is truly the key to success during this time, which is why Groza is here to create a clear path for your child and provide the necessary guidance along the way, online and in person. Grozas’ award winning program prepares students for the ISEE by introducing tricks and strategies to attack each question, reinforcing important academic concepts, instilling disciplined work habits, and building confident test taking skills.   Furthermore, you will likely notice an improvement in your child’s current grades since the ISEE contains math and verbal material that intentionally goes beyond most students’ comprehension level .  As a result, your child’s overall education will be enriched with valuable skills that will benefit them well beyond the ISEE. 

Our Recommendations for success:

  • Apply to at least 3 schools
  • Start your preparation as early as possible
  • Take a practice test to establish your benchmark 
  • Identify strengths and weakness
  • Work with an education specialist who can identify and strengthen weak areas 
  • Leaving plenty of time to prepare and improve
  • Consistently complete independent home work to insure retention and understanding
  • Repetition – Repetition- Repetition

Planning for Long Term School Closures

Planning for Long Term School Closures 1

By now your head is probably swirling with all the information about the Novel Coronavirus.  It’s important to stay updated and informed but it’s equally important to stay calm, take deep breaths, and plan for the future.

On March 17th Governor Gavin Newsom stated … that public schools across the state, many of which are already closed until early April to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, may stay shuttered for the rest of the school year.

“Let me be candid … don’t anticipate schools are going to open up in a week, please don’t anticipate in a few weeks,” Newsom said, acknowledging that “6-plus million kids in our system and their families need to make some plans.”

“I would plan and assume that it is unlikely that many of these schools, few if any, will open before the summer break,” the governor said.

At Groza Learning Center our experienced education specialists are ready to support and guide your family during these unprecedented times.  We understand that this is a very stressful time for parents and children.  Many children are self-motivated and will be able to keep up with their curriculum, however, there are also children who will require more direction, structure, and guidance in order to ensure continuity.  We can create, customize, and implement a long term learning plan for your child.

We are offering online tutoring and test prep using video conferencing with an interactive whiteboard and screen sharing. Sessions will be held in-center today, March 2oth for those previously scheduled.  However, as of  11:59 pm, we will be closing in compliance with the “Safer at Home” ordinance. We will continue to keep you updated and informed.   We are here to help and are easily accessible, call or email us with any questions or concerns.  Let’s work together to ensure our kids are given the tools and resources they need to grow and thrive.

Warm Regards,

The Groza Learning Team

Updates on Standardized Test: Reschedules and Cancellations:

SAT – March 28th & May 2nd SAT & SAT Subject Tests are canceled. Click here for updates.
AP Exams – Still as planned. Additional information will be posted by March 20th. Click here for updates.
ACT – April 4 test date rescheduled for June 13, check here for updates on future dates.
CAASPP, PFT – State Assessments have been suspended, click here for more information.
ELPAC – Waiting for further CDE/ED guidance, click here for more information.

AP Exams

AP Exams 1

Are They In Vogue Or Out of Fashion?

As a parent, it can be challenging to keep up with the latest trend in the high-pressure culture of academics. AP classes were designed to give students the experience of an intro-level college class while in high school, and they can even earn college credit for the course if they pass the AP exam saving money and time. By the way, the AP program is run by the College Board (the makers of the SAT). AP classes have been in vogue for the last decade as a determining factor in college admissions.

These days, AP’s are considered helpful but not necessarily a determining factor anymore. There are even some highly elite private high schools in the Washington D.C. area that are doing away with them altogether because they believe they already have a rigorous course of study and don’t want to feel beholden to the specialized curriculum that is required by the AP standards.

The mindset has predominantly been – more is better. More applications, higher test scores, and as many AP classes as you can possibly sign up for. Sometimes, that can be bad advice. For example, if your student takes an AP class that is too much for them, it can tank their GPA, and there is no coming back from that. Your student will spend the rest of his or her high school career, trying to climb out of that GPA slump.

Colleges do want to see that your student is taking the most rigorous schedule that shows their academic strength, but they also want to see that students know how to have balanced, healthy lives. That’s the ultimate goal because it informs the college that your student will be able to handle the pressures of college life.

Yes, AP’s can be awesome, especially if your student has a passion for the subject. They can boost their GPA and strengthen their college application by showing the admission team they’re making an effort to take challenging classes. But the number of advanced courses they choose really should depend on those particular academic interests. You don’t want to overload your student with little or no time for extracurriculars, fun, and social activities. No parent wants their student to be running on empty during their freshman year in college!

AP classes and test prep are a ton of work. If you’re concerned about your student acing an advanced course, DON’T WAIT to get support for them! At Groza Learning Center, we’re experienced in Advanced Placement prep and are here help.

AP Test Dates and Registration

The best time to take an AP exam is after you have completed the class, and many students take 2 – 3 AP classes per year. However, you can take any AP exam you feel ready for. Know when your AP exam dates are, so you can get ready in time for Test Day.

Exam fee for on-time exam orders (November 15, 2019, for full-year and first-semester courses; March 13, 2020, for courses that start after November 15).

  • $94 per exam
  • $124 per exam at schools outside the U.S., U.S. territories, and Canada, with the exception of DoDDS schools (Note: Fees may vary for exams at College Board–authorized test centers outside the U.S.)
  • $142 per exam for AP Capstone Exams (AP Seminar and Research)

Exam Dates

The 2020 AP Exams will be administered over two weeks in May: May 4 through 8 and May 11 through 15. Early testing or testing at times other than those published by the College Board is not permitted under any circumstances.

Week 1 Morning 8 a.m.
Local Time
Afternoon 12 noon
Local Time
2 p.m.
Local Time
May 4, 2020
United States Government and Politics Physics C: Mechanics Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
May 5, 2020
Calculus AB

Calculus BC

German Language and Culture

Human Geography

May 6, 2020
English Literature and Composition European History

Physics 2: Algebra-Based

May 7, 2020

Spanish Literature and Culture

Japanese Language and Culture

Physics 1: Algebra-Based

May 8, 2020
United States History Art History

Computer Science A

AP 2-D Art and Design, 3-D Art and Design, and Drawing  – last day for coordinators to submit digital portfolios (by 8 p.m. ET) and to gather 2-D Art and Design and Drawing students for physical portfolio assembly.
Week 2 Morning 8 a.m.
Local Time
12 noon
Local Time
May 11, 2020
Biology Chinese Language and Culture

Environmental Science

May 12, 2020

Spanish Language and Culture



May 13, 2020
English Language and Composition Microeconomics

Music Theory

May 14, 2020
Comparative Government and Politics

World History: Modern

Italian Language and Culture


May 15, 2020
Computer Science Principles

French Language and Culture


Let’s Get Real! Which School Does My Child Have A Chance To Attend?

Private School

It’s fall, and by now you’ve narrowed your list of schools to ones you’re interested in applying to. So, reality check! Now’s the time to step back and honestly evaluate which one is the best match for your child and which one does your child honestly have a chance for admittance.

Since no two schools are created equal, it’s critical to consider your child’s personality AND their academic record. Some kids will thrive in a more expressive, hands-on experiential education while others need a more structured setting. Knowing your kid’s learning strengths and weaknesses, your family’s goals and values, as well as cost, location, class and school size, are all part of the mix.

But reality check here, you also need to know what the school is looking for. For example, Harvard Westlake and Brentwood require near-perfect scores, so it doesn’t make sense to waste time or money if the grades aren’t there.

Help yourself ace this process. Go to the Open House tours so you can check out the vibe, the facilities, and meet the staff. Because families become part of the private school’s family, the school will want to get to know you as well.

And since this is an enormous decision for your entire family, here’s another reality check, you may want to get expert advice. When it comes to helping you with all aspects of this sometimes overwhelming process from mock interviews to practice tests, Groza Learning Center offers all the services you need to succeed.