Tutoring seems to be in Alan Sheptin’s DNA. The founder of Sheptin Tutoring Group knew back in high school where his vocational path was likely leading him.
“My foray into tutoring started in high school, similar to where our students are now,” he said. “My mom, a retired teacher, was tutoring a third-grader, who needed remediation in reading. Her twin sister, who had to tag along, was jealous because she didn’t have her own tutor. So, my mom suggested that she work on math with me. Math has always been my forte.”
Sheptin recalled that the young girl was an average student, but they worked together diligently every week.
“Much to everyone’s surprise, my student scored five years above her grade level on the New York City standardized math exam at the end of the year!” he said. “I felt such a sense of accomplishment, for myself and for her. This feeling of pride planted the seed for my love of tutoring.”
While he was in college, Sheptin said he realized he might be onto something with the tutoring idea.
“As a senior and a resident advisor in an all-freshman dorm at the University of Pennsylvania, I saw that many students were struggling with Calculus,” he said. “One of my floormates came to me in despair, so I sat with her, helping to clarify her issues on several occasions. She went on to do amazingly well on her math test. It was not long before the word got out about my help and suddenly, I had a tutoring business running out of my dorm room!”
Sheptin earned a BS in math from UPenn and an MBA in finance from Fordham University. After college, like many of his peers, Sheptin entered the corporate world, power tie and all.
“I liked it, but something seemed to be amiss,” he recalled.
He applied to teach at Kaplan, which, at the time, he says, was the epitome of test prep.
“Working weekends and evenings for seven years taught me the ins and outs of the SAT, GRE, and GMAT,” he explained. “I even earned recognition as a top tutor. I enjoyed this so much more than my corporate job. Just like my college experience, word started to get around to my neighbors that I had a knack for explaining complex math concepts to students and I began getting a lot of business in my local area. I was much happier in my moonlighting gigs than in my corporate role and I knew it was time to make a change.”
He formed the Sheptin Tutoring Group in 2007 to offer test prep, academic support and expert advice on “all things high school.”
“In the past 12 years, my team has grown to 35 tutors,” he said. “We offer private tutoring, group classes and courses for the SAT, ACT, AP exams and Regents reviews. Sheptin Tutoring Group has a deep bench of talent, probably unparalleled in this region.”
And Sheptin Tutoring Group has continued to grow.
“As I met with more and more students, I became increasingly interested in college admissions,” he said. “I enrolled in UCLA’s certificate program in Independent Education Consulting, graduating in 2012 with Highest Honors. I have visited more than 130 universities both in the U.S. and Europe and have been a participant in two British Council tours of UK universities. On my own, I also visited universities in Russia, Sweden, Scotland, and Portugal. And this past month, I earned the top certification as an Independent Educational Consultant, Certified Educational Planner.”
“My company has partnered with other organizations in the U.S. and abroad to bring our peerless, results-oriented courses to students outside of Westchester County,” he continued. “Our goal is to continue to grow within the United States and abroad, either through organic growth or partnerships.”
Sheptin said his tutoring group offers help on every AP subject, test prep for middle and high school students, as well as graduate work.
“If we don’t offer it, we have a nationwide network we can refer the student to,” he notes.
Because of the coronavirus outbreak, the SAT has been canceled through June. But as of this writing, ACTs are still slated for June and later. Sheptin urges students to keep working and not slow down.
“I think what some students are doing is they stop doing the work and think they will just pick it up at some point,” he said. “That’s not a good idea. Students will backpedal. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.”
Sheptin said he can be flexible with respect to tutoring. The most important thing is to keep engaged with the material.
“For AP exams we have moved online with an open book and open notes design,” he said. “That can be a blessing and a curse because they rely on their notes and sometimes, they can’t find what they need in time to finish.”
During the crisis, Alan Sheptin Tutoring Group will continue to operate his AP review courses, but with six one-hour sessions instead of three two-hour sessions, with each session a different topic.
“Teachers will work with students to develop a concise review sheet they can use for the AP exam so they can get through it more easily,” he said. “Everything is transitioning, and it’s been seamless. Many of us have worked in virtual tutoring and are completely comfortable with it. Students are adaptable. They are embracing the new reality as much as we are.”