Academic Advantage can trace its foundation to a high school chemistry classroom, where Sonya Fleck was a first-year teacher committed to her students’ academic success. Her initial interest in the ACT was sparked when she noticed a disconnect between her high-achieving student’s performance in the classroom versus their scores on the test. A scientist and researcher at heart, Sonya spent the next year investigating ways to resolve that disconnect, ensuring students mastered standards and targeted the skills required for the ACT. Her first ACT summer class was born from her research and collaboration with other faculty at the school to help make sure the students’ needs were met across the curriculum.
Sonya has devoted the years since learning how to make college more accessible for all students and how to help students prepare for the challenges of the college admissions process. As a teacher, tutor, and mentor, she has spent her professional life in the classrooms of elite private and public schools, devoting herself to helping students reach their fullest educational potential. Her master’s degree in Curriculum Design from Christian Brothers University helped her to create her own ACT test preparation program, which focuses on both test content and test-taking strategy. Through the years, Sonya came to understand how important a holistic approach to the college access process is in order to maximize a student’s potential.
Sonya’s vision of creating a space to help students throughout every step of the college admissions process became a reality in the spring of 2017 with the official launch of Academic Advantage. Guided by her drive as an educator and as the parent of three teens, Sonya designed Academic Advantage to focus on the specific needs of each individual client. Thus, in the first family consultation meeting, we take the time to understand the whole student by discussing not just test scores but also classroom performance, high school course enrollment, academic and extracurricular interests, career goals, financial criteria, and other specific student and family needs. This initial session becomes the foundation of a customized college preparation plan, which could include sessions with our in-house essay specialist or career counselor, test-taking strategy classes, or one-on-one tutoring. Such a comprehensive strategy provides the strongest possible foundation for a successful college placement.