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Bootstrap Tutors offers high-quality tutoring for middle-school and high-school subjects, college preparation, and graduate examinations. We’re founded on the core beliefs that education should be radically transparent and that there is no substitute for hard, one-on-one work with an expert teacher. We’re based in Somerville, Massachusetts, but we also offer virtual tutoring. Visit us at

ACT Change Will Allow Students to Retake Individual Sections

Note some big changes coming to the ACT next Fall. Not only will students be able to retake a single section rather than having to retake the entire test, but they’ll also have the option to take the test online. Starting next September, high schoolers won’t need to repeat the entire ACT exam to improve their score.

Advice for the Revised Common App Essay

Are you a rising senior getting ready to work on your college applications over the summer? Check out my tips here! Finals might just be ending, but as we look toward summer, we also look toward college applications for rising high-school seniors. Nearly every student applying to college will need to write the C…

College Admissions Scandal: Actresses, Business Leaders and Other Wealthy Parents Charged

I own the tutoring and college-prep business #BootstrapTutors (, so I feel obliged to comment on the college-entrance cheating scandal on all the front pages today. If you haven't heard of it yet, just take a glance at the front pages of the New York Times, Boston Globe, or The Atlantic. Here's the NYT article: The short version is that a Cali-based consultant, William Singer, encouraged parents to pay him hundreds of thousand or millions of dollars to defraud colleges into accepting their students, mostly by bribing college coaches, like Yale's head women's soccer coach and the Stanford sailing coach, to recruit the students for sports they'd never play. He also gamed the system by bribing proctors to falsify SAT test results and so forth.

To be honest, my gut reaction was to roll my eyes and say, "Of course someone's doing that," quickly followed by a cynical knee-jerk, "Well, it's cheaper than donating a building" (how money subverts a supposedly meritocratic system is getting some broad play this morning, e.g., This is the sort of scandal that begets all manner of cynicism and of doom and gloom about the state of higher education. It makes students wonder why they're trying so hard, and it makes me question what I do day in and day out. Part of me wants to shout, "Burn it all down!"

But don't light the campus commons on fire just yet. Singer is a disgrace. The parents who paid him knew exactly how they were subverting the system. The coaches who accepted bribes were under no illusions about what they were doing. But you know what stands out to me about this whole sordid affair? No one told the kids. In fact, the parents and these corrupt consultants and coaches and proctors went to great lengths to hide this back-stage bribery from them.

Why do that? Why not just say, "Hey, honey, we're going to cheat on your test tomorrow and claim you're 6" taller and a soccer star so you can go to Yale, ok?" After all, that's exactly what one parent did in the background. But the daughter never knew.

I will bet you that daughter never knew because the parent knew she'd balk. In the 10 years that I've been working with students on test-prep and admissions, I have never met a student who'd be okay with this sort of help. I know lazy students, and I certainly know disinterested ones, but I have yet to meet a dishonest cheat. I'm not saying they don't exist, but I have never worked with one, and I've worked with over a thousand clients.

Even if you're scoffing right now, let me say this next bit. By and large, our kids, our students, respect the system. We have told them that if they work hard and follow the rules, the system will work for them. These parents, coaches, and consultants put their own anxieties and greed ahead of that system. They were actively working against it. In doing so, they were also undermining their kids. Everyone right now is claiming that the victims of this scandal were the kids who might have had the spots these students took. That's true. But the victims are also these parents' children. Their parents had no faith in them, didn't believe they could make it in a meritocratic system, and so took away their chance to try. And now they're at these schools, perhaps waiting to be expelled, looking around and going, "You did what, mom and dad?!"

Thoreau once said that there was a "necessary friction" to the machine of government, and hoped that over time it might "wear smooth." The same is true of higher education. It is not a perfectly meritocratic system. But it is a pretty good system. It only works, though, if everyone believes in it and works to make it better. I promise my students that if they work hard to prepare, they are not only earning higher scores on their tests but are learning important critical-thinking skills and essential content that will stay with them forever. I promise them that if they thoughtfully analyze themselves to clearly articulate their goals and desires, we can find them a great college fit. Hard work pays off. That's my promise. And I have seen it work over and over.

And so, my takeaway from this whole sordid affair is not to burn down the system, but a renewed energy to make it better. We must find the flaws and fix them, not exploit them. We must be the parents and teachers and consultants that our children and students and clients deserve. We must take actions that we are proud to tell our kids about. We must practice what we preach. We must all be idealists.

~Dr. Ryan A sprawling federal investigation accuses 50 people of involvement in a scheme to get undeserving students into major American universities.

Bad SAT scores? Low GPA? The College Board has just the scholarship for you

Take a look at this new scholarship from the College Board designed to get people to explore the steps of the college-applications process--and then apply for it yourselves!

Hidden Library: How Science Is Virtually Unwrapping the Charred Scrolls of Herculaneum

Something to fire the imagination: Papyri that were sealed shut by a volcanic eruption in 79 CE are too fragile to open by hand. One computer scientist has developed the X-ray vision to read them.

This year’s ACT timeline.

The #ACT will be offered 7 times throughout the 2018-19 school year. Here are the test dates and registration deadlines.

The Myth of 'Learning Styles' A popular theory that some people learn better visually or aurally keeps getting debunked.

Advice for the Revised Common App Essay

If you're just getting started on your college essays, check out my basic tips here!

13 ridiculous things people have actually put on their college applications — no joke

A little college essay humor to keep things in perspective (but for real, don’t do any of these things). It can be tough to figure out what to put on your college applications, but some people get it very wrong. College admissions officers and others on Reddit revealed the most outrageous things they've seen people put on their college applications, from saying their GPA was 95 to asking to be called "

What Predicts College Completion? High School GPA Beats SAT Score

It’s common knowledge that high school GPA is a better indicator of college success than SAT scores, and this article reinforces that. What it doesn’t quite point out is that there’s a ominous warning sign to colleges when you have high test scores and a low GPA, which is often an indicator of a talented but unmotivated student: High school GPA is far more useful than standardized test scores in determining whether a student will finish college.

The Overprotected American Child Why not let them walk to school alone? Parents and communities are figuring out ways to give their children more independence—and it just may help them to become less anxious, more self-reliant adults.

What 'Demonstrated Interest' Means in College Admissions

One of the most important criteria in modern admissions: Visiting campus isn't the only way for prospective students to show a school they're interested.

Quilts, Cows, Money and Meaning: College Essays That Stood Out This year, we picked five college application essays about money to publish. College admissions officers admired their maturity, self-awareness and humanity.

[05/20/18]   We're gearing up for summer here at Bootstrap Tutors, and we know you are, too! We're here to help with summer tutoring, enrichment programs, SAT and ACT test prep, and college admissions. As always, we specialize in designing custom programs for you! Just get in touch with your thoughts, or just tell us in general what you're looking for, and we will put together a custom plan of study for you. Call Ryan directly at 617-918-7590 or email [email protected]. Happy Memorial Day!

We used to have six more letters in the English alphabet There was once a letter for the throaty sound you find in "Bach" and the Scottish "loch."

CUBAN: Don't go to school for finance — liberal arts is the future

Cuban here briefly argues what many tech titans have been saying about soft skills, which are emphasized in liberal arts programs like English and philosophy. I always encourage my students to double major in two disparate fields, though: Don't focus on just one side; get both. Major in English and Economics, History and Computer Science, Business and Philosophy. Billionaire investor Mark Cuban offered a perhaps bleak prediction on the future of jobs in an interview Friday.

The Common Application Announces 2017-2018 Essay Prompts

Attention high-school juniors: Here are the prompts for the Common App essay you'll need to write for college applications this coming fall. There are two new ones this years as well as some minor revisions, and the emphasis on complex thinking and personal passion is clearer than ever before.

Beware of the new #7. If that essay isn't amazing, it'll smack of laziness. We are pleased to share the 2017-2018 Common Application essay prompts with you.

Bloom’s Taxonomy | Center for Teaching | Vanderbilt University

Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives has been around for quite awhile, but that doesn't mean it hasn't aged well. Check out the link below for some important info about how we build skills through education. In your own work, always try to reach the top of the pyramid. Bloom’s Taxonomy. by Patricia Armstrong, Assistant Director, Center for Teaching Background Information | The Original Taxonomy | The Revised Taxonomy | Why Use Bloom’s Taxonomy? | Further Information The above graphic is released under a Creative Commons Attribution license. You’re free to share, r...

A Guide to Getting a Bachelor’s Abroad

Interested in going to college somewhere other than the U.S.? Check this out: Opportunities for earning an undergraduate degree on foreign soil, taught in English, are growing by the year. And the price is right: In some countries, it’s free.

“Chance of the Dice": A Medieval Personality Quiz!

If you need a break from studying, you might find it fun to learn a bit about a medieval party game that told your fortune and personality when you rolled three dice. I wrote up this little overview of it for the History Buff website.

Ryan The most timid step into social media can't help but stumble over quizzes for every quirk, from what career best suits you to the identity of your inner Pokémon. We're obsessed with figuring out who we are! It's easy to see these quizzes as expressions of a modern desire, a quintessential ...

GRE Vocab Strategies

A step-by-step guide to GRE vocab success: 1) Identify the Context Clues It’s easy to forget, but you’ll never be asked a question that you can’t answer based on the evidence in the question. Look for the pieces of info in the sentence that…

Struggling with the Common App Essay? Try These Tips

Some writing advice and tricks to keep you working: Key Points of Advice 1) Show, don’t tell By far, the most important thing you can do when writing an essay (whether the Common App or not), is to show your argument rather than telling about …

This rule is not inviolable. It does not "absolutely" have to be in this order. That is just silly, wrong and stupid.

But as a general guideline it is useful.

"Big red" is way more common than "red big"

For fun and interesting language content, check out

Fall Checklist for College-Bound Seniors

If you can cross off each of the following, you're in brilliant shape. If you can cross off each of the following, you’re in excellent shape. 1) Common Application Essay Perhaps the topic most on rising seniors’ minds as the summer moves towards the fall and the…

Dropping your kids off at college? Here’s the best advice to give them. The college search that has consumed many students for the past year focused largely on where to go to college, not how they should go to college.

Top 15 Best Value Colleges of 2016

Three MA schools in just the top 15. We're lucky to be in an educational Mecca. The following are the top 15 best value colleges, according to Payscale, along with the data collected that demonstrates why each school made the list.

So Your Kid's A Medieval Studies Major? Relax.

Excellent advice here. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that college majors offer direct career paths and/or training, and that's only rarely the case. Medieval studies is a brilliant and difficult major, by the way, and excellent preparation for any career that involves careful and nuanced thinking. Prepare to learn a thousand years of history and 1 to 3 extra languages in multiple dialects -- and you might even get to play with medieval manuscripts! Choosing a college major doesn't necessarily indicate a career choice. It can express a student's deep interest in an area of study while also leaving the door open for other options.

Writing forCollege

Some great exercises and advice here:

How To Raise Brilliant Children, According To Science

How To Raise Brilliant Children, According To Science - NPR Two developmental psychologists break down 21st century skills and give everyday tips for parents on how to instill them.

Welcome to Jupiter After completing a high-risk maneuver, NASA's Juno spacecraft is officially in the gas giant’s orbit—and humankind is closer to Jupiter than ever before.

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Swampscott, MA

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Other Schools in Swampscott (show all)
Swampscott Education Foundation Swampscott Education Foundation
29 Longley Ave
Swampscott, 01907

The SEF has been supporting the Swampscott schools for the past twenty years and over that time, it has awarded more than $300,000 to grant recipients.

SHS Class of 2019 Student Council SHS Class of 2019 Student Council
200 Essex St
Swampscott, 01907

We're the SHS Class of 2019 Student Council!

SHS Big Blue Girls Lax SHS Big Blue Girls Lax

Swampscott High School Big Blue Girls Lax!!

Chabad of the North Shore Chabad of the North Shore
44 Burrill St
Swampscott, 01907

SHS Nicaragua Service Trip SHS Nicaragua Service Trip
200 Essex St
Swampscott, 01907

News updates on our April 2016 delegation.

Swampscott High Driver Education Swampscott High Driver Education
200 Essex St
Swampscott, 01907

United Martial Arts Center United Martial Arts Center
1005 Paradise Rd

Adult and Children's martial arts classes