Media Highlights

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Are you smarter than an 8th grader?

Toronto Star Touch (December 5, 2015)

Students hoping to attend an Ontario private high school next fall are cramming for their SSATs (Secondary School Admission Tests). Think you could pass?

Try the Toronto Star's abbreviated version: a multiple-choice test with language and math sections that was developed for Star Touch by PREPSKILLS.

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More Alberta students than ever considering U.S. colleges

Calgary Herald (April 11, 2015)

Eva Ferguson

Facing challenging high tuition rates, overcrowding, and rigorous academic requirements at Alberta universities, a growing wave of Calgary students are considering heading south of the border for their post-secondary education.

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SATs? Scholarships? What You Need To Know

UrbanMoms (March 24, 2015)

Sonya Davidson

We sometimes joke around about our kids one day going to Harvard, that's the dream isn't it? But then we really started to think if something like that is really a possibility for Canadians? How do you go about it? According to the International Institute of Education, the rate of international students studying in the US has risen by 72 percent since 2000. In the 2013/2014 academic year, 28,304 students from Canada were studying in the United States. Canada ranks fifth as the country of origin for students studying in the US.

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The STEM experience

Town Crier (October 2015)

Finding the school where your child’s interest in science, technology, engineering and math can thrive

Eric Emin Wood

Joanna Severino knows firsthand how difficult it can be to find the right school for a child who’s already started counting ducks, experimenting with vinegar and baking soda, or asking how a computer works.

Before her son Nathan, now nine, started junior kindergarten he was already demonstrating an apititude for the so-called STEM subjects — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. But as the owner of PREPSKILLS, a private tutoring company that connects parents across the city with private and independent schools and universities, Severino also knew that a school advertising a STEM program meant little more than someone on its marketing team being familiar with a buzzword.

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Prepping for the move up

Town Crier (November 2014)

Prepskills helps students prepare for private school entrance exams - although not all educators are avid fans

Eric Emin Wood


GETTING READY: Prepskills owner Joanna Severino, right, helps Upper Canada College student Seyon Rajadurai, who sought her company’s assistance when applying to his school, explore postsecondary scholarship options he can apply for south of the border.

Eric Emin Wood for the Town Crier

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Wings of Hope Book Launch

Snap North Toronto (Saturday, May 31, 2014)

Wings Of Hope is a collection of inspiring words and images that will be distributed to the Princess Margaret Hospital, the Hospital for Sick Children and select Clinics, Charities, Hospices and Doctors Offices. Sales of Wings of Hope™ 2014 Journals helps raise funds to support scholarships for childhood cancer survivors. Last month they celebrated the launch of the 5th edition of Wings Of Hope with an outdoor party at Crestwood Preparatory College. It was a beautiful day, and there was a great turnout for the event. The event featured appearances by recording artist Suzie McNeil, artist Michael Martchenko and included a tribute to Olivia Wise.

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SAT exam to undergo major facelift

Globe and Mail (Wednesday, March 05, 2014)

SAT exam to undergo major facelift

James Bradshaw

The world’s most prominent university entrance exam, the SAT, is undergoing a major facelift in a bid to preserve the relevance of the century-old standard for measuring readiness for higher education.

Changes announced Wednesday by the U.S.-based College Board, which administers the SAT, are the most high-profile example of a broader re-examination of the way standardized tests measure students’ cognitive and test-taking skills. In Canada, provincial tests in public schools are undergoing changes to better measure softer, less academic skills like creativity, while entrance exams for law and medical schools are perennially criticized.

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PrepConnect 2013

Snap North Toronto (Saturday, September 14, 2013)

The Ontario Science Centre was the location last month for a very useful event for anyone interested in private school education. PreConnect brought together many admissions officers, students and parents for an afternoon reception and showcase of the offerings of more than thirty private schools. There was a great turnout for the event, and many visitors were busy chatting with the school representatives and finding out information about the schools.

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Want your kid in prep school? Students reveal...

Globe and Mail (Friday, June 03, 2011)

Want your kid in prep school? Students reveal how to score a coveted spot

Tralee Pearce

The basket of stress balls outside the door is the first sign that this morning’s gathering is more work than play.

Inside, parents eyeing private school for their children are mingling with experts in a speed-dating-style flurry. Held in a balloon-festooned party room at the Ontario Science Centre, the event has been arranged by Prepskills, a Toronto company that has been grooming children for admission to elite schools since 2002.

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US College Ranking Tables...

Canadian Student Magazine (Fall/Winter 2010 - Issue 5)

US College Ranking Tables: How do You Know Which College is the Best for You?

Joanna Severino

Various private organizations within the United States and globally generate annual or periodic college ranking tables. Those tables are supposed to provide readers with a list of the best and worst universities and colleges in the U.S.

In theory, a prospective student should be able to consult such ranking tables in order to decide which schools offer the best education in a particular area of study.

Unfortunately, things are not so simple. Each organization uses a range of diverse statistical measures to generate its respective tables, some of which may produce rankings that are entirely irrelevant to a student’s academic interests.

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Score Choice – How Many Times Should You Write...

Canadian Student Magazine (Spring/Summer 2010 - Issue 4)

Score Choice – How Many Times Should You Write Your SAT?

Joanna Severino

Just over a year ago, the College Board introduced Score Choice – much to the delight of students worldwide, many of whom believed it had just made applying to American universities and colleges a lot easier.

Score Choice is a policy that relates to the SAT Reasoning Test—a test that students must write to gain admission to 80% of American colleges. In the past, the College Board (the non-profit organization that administers and runs the SAT) has stipulated that if a student writes the SAT repeatedly, all of her scores would necessarily be sent to colleges as part her admissions application. With the introduction of Score Choice just over a year ago, the situation has changed dramatically.

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Private School Admission in Ontario...

Chinese Professionals Association of Canada (April 8, 2008 )

Private School Admission in Ontario - The Disturbing Realities of "Getting In"

The Chinese Professionals Association of Canada represent and assist professionals of Chinese descent in gaining recognition, cultural integration, career advancement, and civic engagement in Canadian society through quality service and advocacy.

Each year, CPAC hosts an Education Day to assist families by providing information and choices for a quality education and a better future.

PREPSKILLS is proud to support CPAC in providing skills leadership programs and test-taking skills (SSAT or SAT) for students. PREPSKILLS provides engaging seminars for families navigating the private school and US college admissions process.

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Navigating the Private School Admission Process

Got My Kids (April 8, 2008 )

Joanna Severino

According to the report “Ontario’s Private Schools: Who Chooses Them and Why?”, published by The Fraser Institute, an independent Canadian research organization, parents are choosing private schools because they feel the public system isn’t meeting the needs of their children. While enrolment in Ontario’s publicly funded schools has not even doubled over the last four decades, attendance at private schools has more than quadrupled. Demand for placements in private schools continues to rise, and the competition has become intense.

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Write for Life Oncology Book Program Inspires...

The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation (December 10, 2007 )

Write for Life Oncology Book Program Inspires Young Writers

Joanna Severino

Joanna Severino, a cancer survivor and former PMH patient, believes in taking part in changing suffering into opportunity and started “Wings of Hope”, an annual oncology book contest at PREPSKILLS, to help inspire others to celebrate each day’s blessings.

The "Wings of Hope" book contains student written poems, essays and images celebrating the beauty of life. This book contest is open to all students who enter their written submission online and artwork mailed in by March 31, 2008. The book is distributed to major hospitals such as Princess Margaret Hospital and supports the Childhood Cancer Foundation.

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Essay contest

Professionally Speaking (September 2005 Issue)

Katija Bonin, Caryn Ceolin and Maria Anillo gained top ranking in the 2005 PREP WRITE™ Essay Contest, winning $250 each with an equal donation awarded to their participating schools.

Elementary and secondary students across the GTA drew on personal experiences, current events, history and literature to reflect on the statement, “Your attitude almost always determines your altitude in life.”

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Entrance Exam Preparation

PREPSKILLS INC. (Thursday, February 10, 2005)

Joanna Severino

PREPSKILLS Inc. fills a niche by providing preparation for the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) and other entrance exams. It’s mission is to translate preparation into opportunity.

The focus of PREPSKILLS® is to offer preparation venues for the SSAT and other admission tests that would provide a comprehensive, unique Canadian learning experience, encompassing both the classroom setting and technological resources. PREPSKILLS® is the only program in the world that offers such a unique and comprehensive skills-based experience. It was for these reasons that PREPSKILLS Inc. was founded – wanting to establish a tool to facilitate this difficult and important process for parents and students.

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Getting ready for the admission

The Women's Post (December 2004 Issue)

Joanna Severino

As parents begin to think about placing their children in independent or private schools for the 2009 academic year, one of the most frightening pieces of the puzzle is the admission process.

It is not as easy as it appears. As a matter of fact, the whole prospect has become mind-boggling.

A few words of advice for those wishing to embark on this journey.

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Put your child’s best foot forward

Globe and Mail (Monday, Oct 18, 2004)

So you’ve found a private school where little Caitlin or Evan will thrive. Now, how do you make sure they get in?

Every year, parents are disappointed when their children are turned away because classes are already full or the student did not meet entrance requirements. That’s why educators recommend applying to several schools, ranking them in order of preference.

“It’s tough, because there are a lot of applications and the spots are few,” said director of PREPSKILLS INC., a company that prepares students for entrance exams required for admission to many private schools.

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Taking them private

National Post (November 23, 2002)

Deirdre McMurdy

Private schools are facing unprecedented demand as middle class parents, shaken by strife in the public system, vie to enroll their children

It’s a Wall Street scandal to which thousands of Canadian parents can relate: Former Salomon Smith Barney telecom analyst Jack Grubman agreed to change his rating on AT&T stock in exchange for a little help getting his twins into a prestigious Manhattan day school.

As parents get set to battle for next year’s spots — some are paying hundreds of dollars just for the privilege of applying — it’s obvious that private schools are no longer the pampered scions of the elite.

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