Monthly Archives

July 2017

Debt Disaster for Students


The front page of a recent issue of the Daily Local News (July 30, 2017) ran a Special Report in the wake of this month’s hike in student loan interest rates. The article highlighted a 32-year-old young lady with a Master’s degree, in a professional career—lamenting whether she would ever be able to pay off her student loans.

4 years out of graduate school, with a good job, she has yet to begin even paying the principal on her student loan debt. She projects that she will be in her 50’s before her debt is paid off.


This woman speaks for many when she voices her regrets. “You graduate from high school, and you go to college. That’s what you’re expected to do. I didn’t think anything of it. I just figured it would work out, which was really naïve, but nobody discussed that” (Kramer 4).

Securing students loans is as simple as signing on the dotted line for unsuspecting and naïve students—with hardly a thought to the future repercussions. This is one reason why we, at Above Grade Level, are so committed to helping the students in our community. There are options.


For students who qualify, there is a tremendous amount of free money out there—scholarships and grants that don’t need to be paid back. Some of this money is merit-based, while some is need-based. We want to see students qualifying for as much of the merit-based money as possible. While each student’s situation is unique, in a typical scenario, the ideal time to start preparing for merit-based scholarships and SAT readiness is 8th or 9th grade.


Above Grade Level has been helping students for over 30 years to achieve academic success, higher SAT & ACT scores, and higher GPA’S—another significant factor in the college admission process. To begin, we offer students a free skill evaluation that very accurately identifies skill gaps, as well as areas of strength, while there is still time to do something proactive to help. Whether or not a student attends a “good” school, this skill evaluation takes the guesswork out of the equation, with objective, independently verified results.


From there, we can custom-design a program for each student that targets his or her individual needs. We send carefully-selected, highly-qualified teachers/tutors to a student’s home, to provide targeted, one-on-one instruction in a convenient, comfortable environment. Research has shown again and again that one-on-one tutoring is the most effective, most efficient way for a student to learn.


There is no-cost, no-obligation for this skill evaluation and consultation. Above Grade Level covers the $250-$500 evaluation cost, and offers it as a free service to the young people of our community. For families who wish to enroll in tutoring, there are a variety of personalized, one-on-one, in-home tutoring programs from which to choose.

Awesome Tip: Check out a wonderfully helpful app, available for $2. It’s called “Scholly.” Scholly provides an easy way to search for college scholarships and find the ones that are the best match for each student.





Healthy recipe for kids: Chocolate and oats lollipops

You won’t find the need to stop your kids from eating these healthy lollipops.

Keeping kids away from chocolates and candy is almost next to impossible. They just can’t settle with fresh fruits or digestive bars like us adults. They definitely need healthy substitutes  that also taste yummy. I tried this Indian version of Lotte Choco Pie a few days back and it’s quite a hit even among picky eaters. This recipe of chocolate and oats lollipop is also going to be your kids’ favourite as it is sweet, chocolaty and has the crunch from roasted oats. The walnuts and dates in the recipe are packed with essential vitamins and minerals and hence make this a nutritious dessert. Even adults can cheat with one, once in a while.


  • ¾ cup oats, roasted
  • ½ cup dates, chopped
  • 3 tbsp walnuts, chopped
  • 150gms dark chocolate, chopped
  • 150gms white chocolate, chopped
  • Lollipop sticks
  • Lollipop wrappers


  1. Prepare a base sheet of thermocol and cover it with foil so that you can place all your lollipops on it after coating it with chocolate. This will also prevent the mess that is created with dripping chocolate.
  2. In a mixer grinder, add oats, chopped walnuts and dates. Grind it to a fine consistency.
  3. Remove in a bowl. Grease your hands with ghee or clarified butter and roll balls of desired size from the coarse powder.
  4. In a double boiler, melt dark chocolate and white chocolate separately. Allow them to cool till they attain room temperature. Keep stirring in between to prevent lumps.
  5. Now insert the lollipop sticks in the oats balls. Dip them in the chocolate and coat them evenly.
  6. Pierce them on the thermocol board and place all the lollipops in the refrigerator immediately.
  7. Once set, clean the sticks of any dripping chocolate and cover them with wrappers.

Serve it at kids’ parties, birthdays or put them in your kids’ snack box as a surprise treat.

You can also try one of these healthy recipes for kids.

You can follow this video for the step-by-step procedure:

How to increase your chances of College Scholarships

With average college tuition’s having quadrupled in recent years—in large part a result of the ease of obtaining government student loans—excellent SAT or ACT scores can be a student’s salvation from 15 years of student loan debt. Excellent SAT/ACT scores can be a ticket to scholarships and admission to a student’s college of choice.

Whether we like the system or not, SAT/ACT scores have become critical factors in the college application process. High scores will open doors, while low scores are likely to close doors.

The best way to achieve excellent scores on the SAT or ACT exams is quite simply to know the answers. That’s where Above Grade Level excels. We deliver one-on-one SAT/ACT tutoring that targets each student’s needs very specifically. Using an internationally recognized skill evaluation, we identify skill gaps—and we target them. Our highly qualified tutors come right to a student’s front doorstep—with a curriculum that has taken 30+ years to develop and refine. Nothing could be more convenient or effective!


Above Grade Level tutors also teach test-taking strategies, coach students on graphing calculator skills, give practice tests with scoring, & help students to write those all-important college application essays.


What we do for students…is pure genius!


Registration is now being taken for August SAT prep Boot Camps.


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