Helping Students Become Better Writers, Thinkers, and Test-takers for over 20 years
21 Years Tutoring
New York, NY
Caren has over twenty years of tutoring experience, a BA in History from Brown University, a MA in Journalism from NYU, and a MPhil and PhD in English from the University of Cambridge. As the mother of one son and the oldest of six siblings, she is good at adapting to many kinds of personalities and learning styles. Caren’s students describe her as committed and caring. In recent years, her students have gained acceptance to Harvard, Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, and Georgetown.
Caren has seen firsthand the slide in reading comprehension due to the pandemic and the distractions offered by social media, and she combats this decline in skills every day in her thriving tutoring practice. She helps students focus on the big picture and understand how the style of a text—punctuation, word choice, structure—helps it accomplish its meaning. As her students become better readers, they also become better writers.
Caren herself is a skilled writer and wide-ranging book critic whose work has appeared in the Boston Globe and the Washington Post, so she knows that writing can be challenging—it often feels like making something out of nothing. She finds that many students have profound insights when they’re talking to her but struggle to get those thoughts down on paper. She can expertly draw out a student’s ideas, motivate them to think more deeply, and help them turn these complex thoughts into beautiful writing.
As an academic tutor and writing coach, Caren specializes in helping middle school, high school, college students, and graduate students up to Ph.D. level with their reading comprehension, writing assignments, and other coursework in humanities classes, including English, History, Social Studies, Cultural Studies, and Philosophy. Caren demystifies the writing process and helps students achieve a non-stressful relationship with writing. She does this by helping students understand the structures of nonfiction writing; they learn how to write fluidly and logically by gracefully navigating from the general to the specific and back out to the general again. Caren’s students gain both writing skills and confidence from her nurturing, practical approach. She loves to hear the surprise and pride in her students’ voices when they tell her they had no idea they could learn how to write so well. She also loves when she is asked, as she often is, to tutor the younger siblings of former students.
As a test prep tutor, Caren helps students prepare for the SAT, ACT, ISEE, SSAT, GRE, and AP History and Language exams. She encourages and challenges students at the same time, and she truly loves teaching grammar. To get her students to love grammar too, Caren will even resort to cheesy yet effective tactics, like a “Dude, where’s My Verb?” meme she made up. Even students who initially did better on the ACT Math and Science sections often end up achieving higher scores on ACT English and Reading after working with Caren.
When Caren lived in the UK from 2008 to 2016, she developed expertise in helping international students and/or non-native English speakers prepare for the SAT and ACT. Caren has taught preparation classes at British boarding schools and traveled to France, China, and Austria to work intensively with students one-on-one. She learned that even the math terminology can be unfamiliar to international students: what British students call a trapezium, for example, Americans call a trapezoid! There are a host of other differences on the test, from the grammar rules of American English (hello, serial commas!) to the use of imperial measurements. Caren is particularly skilled in helping students navigate these differences while focusing on the deeper strategy they need to know to get their scores up.
When Caren isn’t tutoring, she is swimming, parenting, going to Broadway and off-Broadway shows, visiting art museums, making chocolate chip cookies, contributing to her massive family group chat, and memorizing all the words to Disney songs (ask her for her one-woman rendition of “We Don’t Talk about Bruno”)! She also loves playing trivia and was on Jeopardy as a teenager.
Here are a few testimonials from Caren’s past students:
Before I started seeing Caren, my weakest areas of the ACT were the Reading, the English and the writing. At boarding school in the UK I was studying science- and math-based subjects, so I tended to do much better with those sections of the test. After a number of Skype sessions, Caren’s help completely changed the way I approached the test and led to huge improvements in my scores (my scores in ‘Reading’ went from 26/36 in the first official ACT I sat to 36/36 in my third test). My composite score went from a 30 to a 34. Together we tried a number of different methods until we found an approach that was tailored perfectly to the way I liked to work and think. I am eternally grateful for Caren’s help as it has definitely helped get me to where I am today and I would recommend her help to anyone taking the ACT or SAT.
-a student who graduated from Harvard in 2020 and is now in law school
I just wanted to say thank you again for your support over the six months. I never thought I would be able to attend an Ivy-League university when I scored 22 and 23 on my ACT but you have made my dream come true! It has been a pleasure working with you over the last few months. You have raised my composite score from a 22 to 29, grammar from 16 to 31, reading from 16 to 23, and science from 23 to 30. You should be proud too! Thank you so much for your time and effort. I really really appreciate it.
-a student who graduated from Brown in 2022
MA in Journalism from NYU
MPhil and PhD in English from the University of Cambridge