We are your essential ally throughout the college admissions process.
We help students in every phase of their education. That is why we provide everything from SAT/ACT test preparation, to college application and essay coaching, to academic tutoring, to admissions prep meetings and college night seminars. With college admissions more competitive than ever, students need to excel in each of these realms to optimize their applications.
We work with clients on their terms: when they want to meet, how often they want to meet, and where they want to meet. In select areas in the Greater Philadelphia and San Diego areas, our tutors can come to the comfort of your own home, or meet at a local bookstore or coffee shop. But we can work with a student anywhere in the world; through FaceTime and Skype, we have worked with students nationwide and internationally – to date, in 35 states and 20 countries on SAT/ACT test preparation and college application and essay coaching.
We build close, personal relationship with students and their families. By working with students throughout so many phases of their high school journeys, we understand their passions, character, and interests, and how to best support them to achieve their goals and dreams.
We foster strong community relationships, too. We offer educational support and enrichment services to private clients, groups, community organizations, and schools at an excellent value.
We empower students, preparing them for future success. It is not just about getting students the correct answer on one test or meeting the deadline for an application. We instill confidence in students, equipping them with the critical thinking, analytical, organizational, and self-reflection skills needed to achieve success in all future endeavors.
Giving parents and students a roadmap to success.
Before families ever spend a penny on any Ivy Experience services, we want to make sure that parents and students have a roadmap to approaching various facets of the college prep process.
For families with 8th-10th grade students, we put on complimentary College Nights. Organize a group of parents for a live online seminar so everyone can attend from the comfort of their own homes, or invite other parents to your home, and we will provide a comprehensive overview of how to navigate high school and the college application process.
Before starting any SAT/ACT test prep tutoring, we send students SAT/ACT diagnostic tests, which we grade and evaluate for FREE, ensuring that every student picks the best test for them before starting any prep work.
During junior year and the following summer, we start meeting with students and parents to brainstorm ideas for college essays and discuss packaging strategies for applications. The initial consultation is free.
Emphasizing the importance of giving back since 2010.
Over the years, Ivy Experience has forged numerous partnerships to promote equity and access in the college admissions process - from providing SAT/ACT prep to underserved students, to providing invaluable information through presentations at high schools and community organizations.Learn More
Ivy Experience is proud to have a team of outstanding educators who build strong relationships with students and families - and get results!
- Eric Karlan Co-Founder & Essayologist
Eric is one of the co-founders of Ivy Experience. He graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelors in Journalism, History, and Culture; he was one of only two students in the Class of 2009 to design his own curriculum for an Individualized major. Since graduation, Eric has consulted thousands of high school and graduate school students on their college and graduate school application essays and resumes across the country and around the world.
Eric is an active writer and has been published in the Philadelphia Daily News, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania Magazine, and The New York Daily News. He enjoys playing tennis, traveling, and rooting for Philadelphia sports teams from his home in San Diego.
- Karan Shah Co-Founder & Essayologist
Karan is one of the co-founders of Ivy Experience. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelors in Bioengineering and a minor in Engineering Entrepreneurship. Since graduation Karan has worked with hundreds of students on SAT, ACT, and SAT II Subject Test Prep. Karan also works with students on their college and graduate school application essays across the country and around the world.
When not working with students, Karan enjoys playing hockey, making divots on the golf course, and dealing with being a New York sports fan living in Philadelphia.
- Jim Wismer Director
Jim is the director of Ivy Experience. A Philadelphia area native, he attended The University of Pittsburgh on an Honors Full Tuition Scholarship, graduating summa cum laude in 2013. He went on to earn his M.A. in Classics from Notre Dame, where he also taught Latin, Ancient Greek, ancient history, and mythology. Jim’s tutoring career started in 8th grade, and he brings to the team a broad range of experience in secondary and higher education. Jim believes that any student can learn anything, if that student works smart and gets the right help.
In addition to his work with Ivy Experience, Jim coaches shot put and discus for the Boys’ and Girls’ Track and Field teams at Great Valley High School, where he was once a student. In his free time, he enjoys riding his bike, hiking, playing with dogs, watching the Eagles, reading, and playing Super Smash Bros Melee.
- Cate McLaughlin Educational Consultant & Essayologist
After receiving her Bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst in 2010, Cate graduated summa cum laude with an MFA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. Cate has taught composition, literature, business writing, and creative writing at institutions such as Syracuse University, Colgate University, and the Wharton School of Communications.
Cate is a poet whose poems can be found in The Kenyon Review, The Common, and The Minnesota Review, among various other literary journals. She is currently at work on a full-length non-fiction manuscript.
When she has time, you can find Cate in the kitchen cooking a mean pot roast, running with her dog along the Schuylkill River trail, or traveling back to her home state of Massachusetts to spend time with her family (and the beach!) whenever she can.
- David Pauls
David graduated cum laude from The College of New Jersey in 2016 with a degree in physics. He realized during his time there that he thoroughly enjoyed tutoring his fellow TCNJ students, and hopes he can show just how fun physics and math can be.
David researched astrophysics during his time at TCNJ, and with the help of his colleagues had a paper accepted to The Astrophysical Journal. His true passion however is music, as he is always in a choir or a capella group, arranging, composing, or recording. David finds the mathematics behind music fascinating, especially relating to harmonics and tuning. He also likes to play Super Smash Brothers Melee competitively.
- Jess Lebow
Jess obtained her Master’s of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania in May of 2017. She has an undergraduate degree in English and Studio Art from Hamilton College. At Hamilton, Jess was a writing center tutor who worked with students of a variety of ages, skill levels and interests at all different stages of their writing process across a broad selection of subject matters. She also ran a program tutoring students from the local middle and high schools in a variety of classroom subjects as well as preparing them for the regents (a New York state standardized test.) She also tutored local refugees in ESL. When Jess is not studying or tutoring, and the sun is out, you can find her running, biking or hiking but when the weather is bad, you’ll probably find her in the kitchen!
- Elena Venable
Elena graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in 2015 with a degree in applied mathematics-biology and is currently attending San Diego State University’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy program. One of Elena’s passions has always been teaching and working with others. During undergraduate career, Elena worked as a math tutor and a teaching assistant for Introductory Biology. She also volunteered as an English as Second Language teacher and served as a peer advisor for incoming freshman. After graduating, she spent a year in Madrid as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. Most recently, Elena worked as a middle and high school substitute teacher in Santa Cruz, CA.
In addition to teaching, Elena has experience as a research assistant in statistical genetics and tropical ecology and a data analyst in the consulting sector. Outside of the classroom, she is an avid runner and loves traveling, learning languages, and cooking.
- Greg Hall
Greg obtained a Master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005. As a Master’s student, he was awarded the Penn Prize for Excellence in Teaching by Graduate Students based on student nominations and Penn faculty endorsement. In 2009, Greg graduated magna cum laude from Penn Law. As an attorney, he served as a law clerk at the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and now actively practices law as a member of the bars in both PA and NJ.
At the same time, Greg’s true passion is education. While pursuing his degrees and building a law practice, Greg has taught and tutored hundreds of students in a variety of subjects including standardized test preparation for tests such as the SAT, ACT, LSAT, and GRE.
Humor and friendliness are a couple of Greg’s secrets to successful tutoring. He is a down-to-earth, jovial do-it-yourselfer as he fixes his own car and enjoys renovating his house. Board and card games, dancing, and good food are the simple joys in his life.
- Clara Gerstner
Clara is a student at the School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania pursuing a graduate degree in quantitative studies. She has worked as a science teacher for the past couple years and is passionate about teaching STEM. After receiving her undergraduate degree in Life Sciences at a German university, she moved to the US in 2014 to teach at a public school in Connecticut 9th grade Physical science and Honors Biology. She also received a master’s degree in Education from Johns Hopkins University focusing on innovative teaching methods in STEM education. Her experiences working as a full-time teacher have allowed her to gain a lot of insights into our current education system and what students need to accomplish in their high school years to be successful in college. She believes that all students can fulfill their potential in school if you help them to set high expectations for themselves, formulate achievable goals and build strong and trusting relationships.
If Clara is not tutoring, you find her reading books, cooking, swimming or salsa dancing with her husband.
- Enrique Arcilla
Enrique is a humanities student at UC San Diego, and a recent transplant from the dusty Mojave Desert. Prior to taking up employment at Ivy Experience, he was a prominent competitor in Californian competitive writing and speaking, and he went on to become the state champion of the 81st annual MD-4 Lions Student Speaker Contest. Enrique’s outlook and drive for tutoring is centered on the belief that much of the greatest growth comes from environments that facilitate it — and that his calling is to contribute to such a setting. He has also been involved with civic organizations such as the Mojave Water Agency, and plans to continue community involvement lifelong. Otherwise, Enrique can be found searching for Spanish speakers to practice his new fluency on, insisting that mock trial is a sport, and using up his free articles by clicking on all the hyperlinks.
- Marisa Chang
Marisa graduated from Chapman University in 2019 with a B.S. in Health Sciences, an emphasis in pre-nursing, and a minor in nutrition. She worked as a tutor all throughout her four years at Chapman at the Friendly Center, an after-school program for underprivileged children. Here, she tutored local children from grades K-12 in all subjects.
Throughout college, Marisa also volunteered at CHOC Children’s Hospital of Orange County. After discovering her passion for working with children through her work and volunteering, Marisa decided she wants to attend nursing school with the goal of working in pediatrics.
Outside of school and work, Marisa loves the beach, playing squash, good food, and live music.
- Dillon Friday
Dillon graduated from Hamilton College in 2012 with a degree in English-Creative Writing. At Hamilton, he played varsity soccer and club hockey, earning Academic All-Conference each of his four years on the pitch. He currently works for Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer as the Marketing & Communications Manager and covers high school sports for the Delaware County Daily Times. Dillon is also a staff writer at The Sports Fan Journal and USGolfTV.
A Duluth, Minnesota native with a Philly background, Dillon enjoys pond hockey, history, poetry, the Philadelphia Flyers, the Minnesota Twins, 90’s music and trivia.
- Tabitha Wismer
Tabitha Wismer graduated summa cum laude from Bucknell University in May. She majored in Early Childhood Education with a Minor in Food Systems. She was a Division I Cross Country and Track and Field athlete for Bucknell. Tabitha is dual certified to teach grades PreK-4 and ESL, and has experience working with students at all ages. She is passionate about helping her students, and loves to see them persevere and progress in their learning.
In her free time, Tabitha enjoys running and walking her dog.
- Shohom Basuthakur
Born and raised in the suburbs of Philly, Shohom graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2014, where he studied finance at The Wharton School. He recently co-founded Coursenova, an internet startup seeking to increase access to higher education by partnering with colleges to sell empty seats in their classes. Shohom is also an Assistant Director for the drama department at Pope John Paul II High School in Royersford.
In his free time, Shohom enjoys seeing Broadway shows, arranging music, watching and playing sports (though he definitely does more watching than playing these days), and spending time with family and friends.
- Shenita Baltimore
Shenita graduated from Princeton University in 2010 with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Anthropology and a certificate in African American Studies. Following graduation, she joined the 2010 Teach For America Mid-Atlantic Corp and taught middle school math for two years at the only all-boys charter school in the state of Delaware. During this time, Shenita earned her Master of Arts degree in Secondary Teaching from WU while teaching full-time.
Shenita led her first creative writing after-school elementary program in her sophomore year of high school and has had the opportunity to tutor or mentor elementary through college-aged scholars for over a decade through her professional and educational endeavors. She is currently working on her second studio album and enjoys singing, writing poetry, traveling, and watching and attending sporting events.
- Alex Pappas
Growing up in the town of Swarthmore, Alex studied at the University of Maryland, graduating in 2017 with a B.S. in Cellular Biology and Molecular Genetics. During his undergraduate career Alex spent his time doing research both at the University of Maryland and at the National Institutes of Health, as well as being a TA for the Physics department. Alex has plans to enter medical school in the fall of 2018.
In his free time, Alex spends his time volunteering at Jefferson Hospital and a local clinic. He is a dedicated Philadelphia sports fan and cherishes his Eagles.
- Siffat Islam
Siffat is pursuing her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Widener University. During her undergraduate education at New York University, she worked as a classroom student teacher for all 4 years and became very devoted to helping advance education, working with students primarily in reading, writing, math, and science. She graduated from NYU with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Chemistry, and went on to conduct research as a Lab Coordinator at the Temple University Infant and Child Lab. She contributed to leading a major research study in promoting spatial skills in young children and attended various conferences to present the results. She worked in many Head Start programs in Philadelphia as well as private schools in the surrounding suburbs, and is very devoted to reaching students from diverse backgrounds in promoting their learning and education. She has a lot of experience working with all ages from high school and college students to older adults.
In her free time, Siffat enjoys working out, trying new recipes, going to the beach, and spending time with friends.
- Elizabeth Cirigliano
Elizabeth earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education and Early Childhood Education from Bloomsburg University. Throughout her undergraduate career she worked with a variety of students to help them achieve their individual academic goals. Shortly after, she earned her Master’s Degree in Middle Level Mathematics with a focus in English as a Second Language (ESL).
In the years since, Elizabeth has used her five Pennsylvania teaching certifications to help students of all ages and abilities strive for and achieve success. She welcomes the opportunity to tutor because it allows her to focus on a student’s specific needs as they seek to master academic content. She encourages students to use their resources (i.e. test taking skills, logical thinking, and reasoning skills) to become problem solvers ready to take on the next challenge.
- Eden Barnett
Eden is currently working toward her MS in Counseling at Villanova University. A graduate of Swarthmore College's Honors program with a BA in Philosophy and Economics, she served for a year with Americorps as a Junior Coach in a Title 1 school. There, she helped students in an under-served community prepare for the SAT and the college admissions process. Eden is deeply passionate about ensuring that all students have access to the resources they need in order to achieve their long-term goals.
In her free time, Eden enjoys baking, doing crossword puzzles, and mustering up the courage to ask strangers if she can pet their dogs.
- Greg Mason
Greg graduated with honors from the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina and earned his master’s degree in history from the University of Florida. He has five years of tutoring and nine years of teaching experience and loves helping students connect the dots and optimize their unique potential.
Before moving to Pennsylvania, Greg ran the Academic Transition Program and managed the Content Tutorial Program for student-athletes at the University of Florida. Greg is passionate about working with students and has ten years of experience working in higher education.
In his free time Greg loves to cook, read and watch basketball. Greg speaks Turkish and German and spends time abroad whenever possible.
- Rob Rose
Rob graduated from the University of Delaware Honors Program with a degree in Environmental Engineering. He worked as an environmental engineer initially, but since realized he truly loves helping people in a more personal way. He uses his experience, knowledge, and positive outlook to help students reach their academic goals.
Rob believes that we all have the capacity to succeed, but it takes willpower and belief in oneself. He hopes to instill within students the self empowerment needed to succeed in every area of life!
- Deika Albert
Deika is currently an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is studying political science and economics. She is interested in American constitutional law and public policy, and plans to attend law school after graduation. At Penn, Deika is on the NCAA Fencing Team, part of Penn Student Government, and a member of MUSE Social Impact Consulting.
Deika has always loved to help other students, working as a tutor and camp instructor for the past three years. She has tutored students with a variety of different experience levels, and believes strongly in the power of positive motivation to help students achieve their goals.
In her free time, Deika loves to listen to music, bake cookies, and workout.
- Adel Boyarsky
Adel is currently a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She is studying Networked and Social Systems Engineering, a mix of computer science and economics. Outside of tutoring, Adel has experience as a teaching assistant, research assistant, and as an analyst in the financial sector. She is involved with the Society of Women Engineers, Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity, Theta Tau Engineering Fraternity, and Eta Kappa Nu honors society at Penn.
In her spare time, Adel enjoys playing tennis and visiting the beach.
- Sydney Triola
Sydney graduated from the University of Vermont with a Bachelor's degree in Art History, and a minor in Italian Studies. Upon graduating, she joined Teach For America and taught Special Education Math in the South Bronx and Harlem for nearly 3 years. In her K-12 teaching experience, she taught Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2. Her favorite part of teaching Math was allowing students to realize that there is no such thing as being "good" or "bad" at math. She has taught both overaged-and-uncredited, and high achieving populations. Sydney also has extensive tutoring experience in Art History, Italian, History, English, and Math. She is currently pursuing her Master's in Library and Information Science at the University of Maryland with a specialization in Legal Informatics.
In her free time, Sydney likes to take her Weiner dog Katie for long walks.
- Quazi Haque
Quazi earned his BSc. and M.A. in mathematics from West Chester University, and plans on pursuing a PhD in the near future. Hailing from New England, he was originally an astronomy major at UMass Amherst but then switched to mathematics when he moved to the Mid-Atlantic. For him, choosing mathematics was as much philosophical as it was intellectual. He has several years of tutoring experience and enjoys working with students in diverse areas.
In his free time he likes watching cooking videos on YouTube to perfect his culinary skills and beating his friends at 80's music trivia. Recently, he's developed an interest in Outlaw Country Music; some of his favorites artists are Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, and Willie Nelson.
- Dane Ochis-O'Neil
Dane graduated from the State University of New York at Albany in 1999 with a B.S. in Actuarial Science and minors in Statistics, Computer Science, and English. He enjoyed a successful career as an actuary before leaving corporate America to tutor full-time. Dane is very interested in serving his community and mentoring our future leaders. To that end, he is a sitting member of the Daniel Boone Area School Board.
In his free time, Dane is a huge sports fan who enjoys working out and hiking with his family.
We also offer complimentary College Night seminars.
College Night seminars have been the ultimate introduction to the college prep process – even for families who have been through it before with the college prep environment constantly changing.Learn More