Don't bother trying to work for Lisa Barrett if you don't like tests. Before you're on board, you've got to take the SAT, LSAT or GMAT--and do well on it.
Why do you have to do well? Because if you're working at 5 Points Prep, you're probably going to be helping students prepare for one of the standardized tests whose score helps determine whether they get into college, graduate or professional school. If you can't nail it, how will they?
Barrett knows what colleges are looking for in students. She worked in the admissions office--eventually becoming an assistant dean--at Columbia University after earning a Ph.D. there in higher education administration. She had finished undergraduate work at Georgia, moved to New York for graduate work, and ended up staying for more than a decade, returning to Georgia in 2007.
She opened her tutoring and test preparation business as Oconee Prep and worked and lived in Oconee County for a few years. But she moved to Athens because most of her employees are either UGA students, faculty or staff. And because she wanted to be part of a smaller, more cohesive community.
"This work is so rewarding," said Barrett, who has sons. "Students who come in have goals, like they want to get scholarships to go out of state or to a specific school. We teach them how to read and write to help with their freshman year."
The big companies, like Kaplan or the Princeton Review, have a script they follow when preparing students for standardized test taking. Barrett prefers to follow a different program of individualized instruction--whether students are preparing for a test or just wanting to improve their academic performance.
First comes a baseline, a diagnostic test so she can determine what the student needs to work on. They may go into a small group of 5 to 7 students or maybe work one-on-one with an instructor. Or maybe they follow a program that provides individual help for reading and the small group for math.
Standardized test preparation is only one service 5 Points Prep offers. School children from kindergarten to high school can get extra help in improving their math, reading or writing skills. Older students can get help in trying to pick a college they want to attend. And in building their critical reading and writing skills.
Or, like many of those involved in the business, either as teachers or students, they can just hang out and talk, enjoying being part of a community.