Future Focused - Tutoring, College Counseling, & SAT/ACT Prep (949) 276-4077
  • Class of 2019, here’s how to plan for the SAT & ACT.

    May 23, 2017

    It’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking about junior year. Not only is it notoriously the toughest academic year, it’s also when the college planning process becomes much more real. The SAT & ACT are these ominous exams about which you know very little, yet it feels like they can make or break your future.

    We don’t want you to feel like you are blindly making your way through the process, hoping you don’t make a mistake. We want you to have a step-by-step plan that puts your mind at ease. You need to take the SAT/ACT at least once in…

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    • Uncategorized
    TAGS: ACT, college admissions, SAT
  • New UC essay questions

    March 25, 2016

    After ten years, the University of California system has made a change to the personal statement portion of its application. In place of the longer essays, students now must address four short answer questions. There are eight prompts from which to choose. Here they are, along with the suggestions for consideration from the UC:

    Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time.  Things to consider: A leadership role can mean more than just a title. It can mean being a mentor to others, acting…

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    TAGS: college essay, essay questions, UC application
  • 2016 / 2017 SAT & ACT Test Dates

    March 24, 2016

    For easy reference, here is a list of the ACT and SAT test dates for the rest of the 2015 /16 school year and the 2016 / 17 school year.


    April 9, 2016

    June 11, 2016

    September 10, 2016

    October 22, 2016

    December 10, 2016

    February 11, 2017

    April 8, 2017

    June 10, 2017



    May 7, 2016

    June 4, 2016

    October 1, 2016

    November 3, 2016

    December 5, 2016

    January 28, 2017

    March 11, 2017

    May 6, 2017

    June 3, 2017

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    TAGS: ACT, official dates, SAT, Testing timeline
  • What do I need to do to get in to college?

    April 3, 2014

    Is it true that I need to be full IB to get into Duke? Is it true that I need to start a club to get into an Ivy League? Is it true that I need to volunteer 400 hours per year for it to “count”?

    We hear questions like these all the time, and they are always well intended. Parents and students want to know what they need to do to secure entrance into the colleges of their dreams. They assume there must be SOMETHING they…

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    • Blogs
    TAGS: building a resume, college admissions, college preparation, how to get in to college
  • Is College “worth it”?

    March 6, 2014

    Last week, the New York Times published an article called How to Get a Job at Google, summarizing an interview with Adam Bryant of The Times, and Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google. In the opening paragraph, it reported that Bock had said the “proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time” — now as high as 14 percent on some teams. As a college counselor, this peaked my interest. If top U.S. companies like Google are employing non college-educated people at…

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    TAGS: college, college worth, google, job at google
  • Extra Weekend Tutoring Hours for Semester Exams!

    December 5, 2013

    For those students who have semester exams before the holiday break, we are offering extra weekend tutoring hours to ensure they get the help they need.

    Future Focused will be open on the following days for tutoring:

    Sunday, Dec. 8th: 12pm – 6pm Saturday, Dec. 14th: 12pm -6pm Sunday, Dec. 15th: 12pm – 8pm

    Please call us ASAP to set up your preferred schedule. Spots fill up quickly. (949)276-4077.



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    TAGS: exams, studying, tutoring
  • Three essential tips to ensure high school success

    September 17, 2013

    Over the ten years we have been working with high school students and their families, there are a few critical pieces of information that can easily get overlooked in the shuffle of a busy school year. These are things that can make or break a school year, and the path to college admissions.

    1.  Know where you want to end up before you begin. For the majority of our families, the ultimate goal is admission to a four-year university. Most school counselors, especially at college prep high schools, automatically suggest course plans that reflect this goal. However, you need to…

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    TAGS: calculating GPA, college admissions, extracurricular actvities, goals, grades, high school success
  • 6 Steps to Final Exam Success

    May 28, 2013

    After ten years of conducting Finals Preparation workshops, we have perfected a planning process that produces wildly successful results. If you have final exams coming up and want to make sure you get the grades you need, read on.

    Step 1: Start early! You want to set up your study plan and schedule about two weeks before your finals begin. You need time to get into the final exam mindset. Your life will be all about studying for a while, but it is for a finite amount of time, and the sacrifice is absolutely worth it when…

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    TAGS: college preparation, final exams, study schedule
  • Is higher education the next bubble? I hope so.

    March 7, 2013

    It is probably not in my best interest if the higher education system in the United States collapses since I am the co-owner of a company that prepares students for higher education. Yet, I believe a crash is inevitable. Ironically, I also find myself hoping the bubble bursts sooner rather than later.

    Why? Because education in the United States is broken. We have lost sight of what should be the driving factor in education: fostering innate curiosity. Instead, we have become focused on outcomes and measuring the end results of our efforts. Students are driven to get A’s not to…

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    TAGS: bubble, college, future of education, higher education, learning, sir ken robinson
  • It’s Time

    January 31, 2013

    Taking the May SAT or April ACT? Time to get serious about preparing.

    For juniors in high school, we are entering into the busiest season of their lives. The second semester of junior year is jam-packed. There are grades to maintain, AP tests to take, extracurricular activities to fit in, and the SAT /ACT to worry about.

    With all of this going on, it’s too easy to let preparation for the SAT and ACT slip down in the priority list. Yet this is exactly what you do not want to do! In the list of factors considered for college admissions,…

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    TAGS: April ACT, May SAT, preparation
  • Common App Changes

    For years, the common app essay options have been the same:

    1. Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you. 2. Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you. 3. Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence. 4. Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence. 5. A range of academic interests,…

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    TAGS: college applications, common app essay
  • College Essays

    Have you written your 12 college essays yet?

    A generation ago, college applications required just one main essay, a little background information, and a signature.  I vaguely remember dreading ‘the college essay’ and that one Saturday I spent applying to college.

    Today, unless a student is applying only to state colleges, there is virtually no way to finish applications in a day, or even a month. Instead of ‘the college essay’, students have about 15 college essays. They still have the traditional personal statement, but on top of that they have a short essay on an extra-curricular activity, and five…

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    TAGS: college essay
  • Exam Panic!

    January 28, 2013

    Deer in headlights. This is the closest description to the look I’ve been seeing on the faces of many of my high school students this week. Why? Because they are realizing that there are only two weeks before semester exams. Two weeks to bring their grades up in the classes they are worried about. Two weeks to prepare for the comprehensive exams they have in most of their classes.

    This is when the scramble begins. This is when students realize there is no more time for procrastination; they need to do something. The problem? Many students don’t know where…

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    TAGS: exams, preparation
  • College Admissions on the Brain

    Dear Jennifer, My son is a junior in high school and he has his mind set on going to UCLA for college. While I admire his ambition, I am worried about his chances of getting in. He is a very good student, but I know that colleges are harder and harder to get into these days. Is he setting himself up for disappointment? —Marie D.

    Dear Marie, Great question. Now is the time when you really want to start getting serious about planning for the college admissions process. Your son is a junior and there are…

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    TAGS: college admissions, college applications
  • What Are Colleges Really Looking For?

    These days it seems like students need to be NASA engineers with 1,800 hours of community service and A+’s in every class they’ve ever taken to get into college. While this is clearly an exaggeration, many parents are increasingly anxious about their student’s chances for acceptance. They see their students working hard in high school, delicately balancing intense academic workloads with sports schedules, volunteer work and SAT prep classes. Will these efforts pay off? What are the colleges really looking for?

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    • Articles
    TAGS: academic record, academic rigor, college, extra-curricular activities