Good VA Schools for Students Who Don't Test Well

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This article serves as a written response to Myelle Lansat’s “25 of the best colleges for good students who don’t test well.” The purpose of the article was to inform prospective college freshmen of colleges and universities across the country that offer strong academics and an excellent overall college experience, while not having overly demanding expectations for a student’s SAT or ACT scores.

I felt compelled to compile a list of public colleges and universities in the state of Virginia, because Lansat’s article did not contain a single school from our home state. As residents of the state of Virginia, we are fortunate to be surrounded by a vast selection of excellent 4-year institutions with similar criteria to those cited in Lansat’s Business Insider feature.  We as Virginians have ample opportunity to avoid paying out-of-state tuition, and we ought to take advantage.

To make this list of strong Virginia colleges for students who don’t test well, a university had to admit a large portion of students who did not get straight A’s in high school, accept a range of SAT and ACT scores, and have a freshman retention rate above the national average of 72% (all but one have a freshman retention rate of 80% or higher).  The standardized test scores featured for each school account for the score ranges of admitted students in the 25th-75th percentile, or middle 50 percent.

All of the data presented in this article can be verified at  The information presented by BigFuture is provided and updated by the universities themselves.  Below is a list of 8 Public Universities that are looking for more than just elite SAT and ACT scores.  Tuition and fees included below are for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Longwood University

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In-state tuition and fees: $13,340 per year

Acceptance Rate: 92%

ACT: 18-23

SAT: 960-1140

Christopher Newport University

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In-state tuition and fees: $14,754

Acceptance Rate: 72%

ACT: 23-29

SAT: 1130-1300

James Madison University

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In-state tuition and fees: $12,016

Acceptance Rate: 75%



University of Mary Washington

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In-state tuition and fees: $12,188

Acceptance Rate: 74%

ACT: 22-27

SAT: 1080-1260

Virginia Commonwealth University

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In-state tuition and fees: $14,490

Acceptance Rate: 77%

ACT: 21-28

SAT: 1080-1290

George Mason University

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In-state tuition and fees: $12,462

Acceptance Rate: 81%

ACT: 24-30

SAT: 1100-1290

Virginia Military Institute

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In-state tuition and fees: $18,862

Acceptance Rate: 53%

ACT: 23-28

SAT: 1100-1280

Old Dominion University

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In-state tuition and fees: $10,872

Acceptance Rate: 86%

ACT: 19-26

SAT: 980-1200

College Board Strikes Out

Scott Webster, College Entrance Exam Program Manager 

Scott Webster, College Entrance Exam Program Manager 

“ ‘Cause it’s ONE, TWO…”  Like a veteran ball player who disappoints fans at the plate with each subsequent strike, The College Board of late seems to be either unable or unwilling (perhaps both?) to devote the resources necessary to ensure a secure, high-quality testing experience to the millions of students who take the SAT each year.  College Board’s first strike occurred in the June 2018 test with a staggering example of “score equating,” a practice that is supposed to “...[ensure] fairness for all students," to quote the College Board.  Now, one would think that this first infraction would prompt the College Board, which is already struggling to keep pace with the ACT in terms of market share, to take all steps necessary to knock it out of the park in the next test iteration; amazingly, College Board appears to have done the exact opposite this August by administering a test that contained material from a test that was leaked in Asia last year.  Strike TWO.  One wonders at the play-calling here, and if College Board does not address these issues quickly and comprehensively - whether that be by devoting significant resources to question generation and score scaling, ramping up test center security here and abroad, or exploring computerized test administration - then it’s “...THREE strikes you’re out” at the old standardized testing ball game.

How to Maximize Your Chances When Applying to Medical School

While most students are aware of the high price tag associated with attending medical school, the cost to simply apply may come as a surprise. On average, it costs far more to apply to medical school than any other graduate or professional program, and expenses can easily reach several thousands of dollars.

There’s the cost of primary and secondary applications, travel, and accommodations. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect:

Primary Application

Alina Nguyen Director MCAT Program Clayborne Education   100th percentile MCAT score

Alina Nguyen
Director MCAT Program Clayborne Education

100th percentile MCAT score

The AMCAS application costs $170 initially and $39 for each additional school you apply to. While the median number of schools that students apply to is 16, it’s not uncommon for more ambitious students to send applications to 30 schools. This means that an applicant can expect to spend an $755 on average and up to $1,301 on the high end just on primary applications.

Secondary Applications

After your primary application is received, medical schools will send you secondary applications with questions and essay topics specific for their school. While the cost of each secondary application can range between $0 and $200, the average cost is roughly $100 per school. Most schools send secondaries to every applicant, so you can expect one from nearly every school to which you apply.  In 2017, the median matriculant completed 15 secondaries, while an applicant that applies to 30 schools can reasonably expect to complete 27 secondary applications. All in all, the average applicant can expect to pay $1,500 in secondary application fees, while a more ambitious applicant will be looking at costs of around $2,700.


In the final stage of the medical school application process, schools will invite the most promising applicants for an interview. Students are often expected to pay the full cost of attending the interview, including travel, accommodations, and food costs. After factoring the average cost of a round trip plane ticket ($340), 2 nights at a hotel ($280), and meals ($40), each interview will likely cost around $660. Since the average matriculant gets 4 interview invites, you can easily expect to spend around $2,640 on travel costs alone. A particularly successful applicant might be looking at $5,280 for eight interviews.

In Total…

After adding all these numbers up, we estimate that the average applicant will spend about $5,000 to apply to medical school, while a more ambitious applicant could be looking at costs upwards of $9,000.

What does this all mean?

All of this underlines the importance of applying to medical school at the right time. If something in your application is holding you back — your MCAT, GPA, or extracurriculars — you could end up wasting thousands of dollars applying, not to mention an entire year spent writing essays and preparing for interviews. In a process where 60% of applicants in a given year are left empty handed, it pays to maximize your chances of success.

Contact us to find out how!



How to Interpret Your GMAT Score

James Supplee Director of GMAT Prep

James Supplee
Director of GMAT Prep

Interpreting GMAT scores can feel like a difficult GMAT Math problem, so here’s a quick rundown to help you navigate the GMAT score terrain.

The first and most important number on your score report is the composite score, which ranges from 200-800. The current average is 561, although averages and score percentiles fluctuate because they are based on the performance of test takers only in the past three years. Though your composite score will never change, your percentile ranking may vary by 1 or 2 points based on the performance of recent test takers.

The composite score is based on only the Verbal and Quantitative scores. These range from 6 to 51 individually, although key factors of their distributions vary widely. On the Quantitative side, a score of 40 is in the 39th percentile currently, while a 40 in Verbal is a 90th percentile score, since these sections are scaled separately. The GMAC doesn’t release the exact relationship between Verbal/Quant combinations and composite scores, although Magoosh, for example, has created an estimated conversion table based on the voluntarily-submitted scores of their users.

The two sections that aren’t included in the composite score are the Integrated Reasoning (IR) and the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) scores. IR is scored on a scale from 1 to 8, with average and median scores near 4, while AWA is scored on a scale from 0 to 6, with an average of roughly 4.5 and a median of 5. Again, these statistics are based solely on the past three years of data and are updated frequently.

What makes a good GMAT score? Well, that’s deserves its own post. But the short answer is, “It depends.” It depends on your goals and the skills you’re trying to demonstrate to your b-school of choice. Top-10 b-schools currently have average GMAT scores around 730, schools ranked in the 70 to 100 range have average scores around 600, according to US News and World Report. Whatever your goals may be, we at Clayborne are here to help you achieve them.

How to Access GMAT Practice Tests

James Supplee, GMAT Program Director

James Supplee, GMAT Program Director

One of the most challenging things for test prep students is simulating the test-day experience. Fortunately, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has published two free computer-adaptive tests (CATs) and four additional CATs, which are available for a hefty fee of $89.98. You can access these materials quite easily on by completing the following steps:

  1. Log into your account. (If you haven’t created one already, then you should do so. This account will allow you to register for the GMAT, access prep materials, and send or cancel your scores.)

  2. Select “Buy Study Materials” at the top of the page.

    1. If you’d like to access the free tests, then select “Access Now”

      1. This will take you to a purchase page, but the cost should be $0.00

    2. If you’ve already used the free tests, then select “Learn More”

      1. This will take you to the same purchase page, where you will purchase the tests as normal.

      2. Note that the paid tests are included in a Clayborne GMAT package. If you’d like more information, please email us at

  3. After you’ve purchased these exams, select “Buy Study Materials” again and select the exams you’ve purchased.

  4. You should have an option now that says, “Access GMAT Official Practice.”

  5. This will bring up your official practice portal, where all of your purchased exams should be available.

The process isn’t ideal, and the actual portal looks like it was created using Windows 95. Honestly, the software itself isn’t any better. But these materials, created by the producers of the GMAT, will help you most readily acclimate to official testing conditions. If you have any questions or are interested in working with us on your GMAT prep, then please contact us at Happy Studying!

4 Steps to Summer Reading Success

Peyton Stark - Academic Tutoring Director

Peyton Stark - Academic Tutoring Director

We all know how it happens. The last final ends, the last yearbook is signed, the doors swing open, and students step out into glorious summer break. The absolute last thing that anyone wants to think about is homework. For perhaps the first and only time in the whole year, we (parents, students, teachers) can pretend that homework doesn’t exist. No more school! No more grades! No more homework for the foreseeable future.

Enter summer reading. That thing that teachers talk about those last few days of school, that parents find buried in their email inboxes, that students quite often ignore until the last before school starts.

This summer, break the cycle. Follow these 4 steps to turn the painful process of summer reading into the structured and manageable task that it is meant to be. With a little planning and creativity, summer reading can truly be...dare I say enjoyable part of the break.

Step 1: Order the books ASAP

It’s pretty straightforward, but I am going to set the record straight once and for all: you can’t read a book that you don’t have. Obvious, right? Nothing leads to the downfall of summer reading like not having the books. Take the first step. Order the books. All of them. Do this right now.

Step 2: Make a plan

Think of this step like a meet-and-greet between your life and your summer reading books. Once you have your books, take some time to look them over. Read the cover. How many chapters are there? How many pages? Ask these key questions:

  • Which of these books am I most excited about?

  • Which book looks like it is going to be the hardest?

  • How long will it take me to read each of these books?

Now, take a look at your schedule. You know yourself. Do you want to read the hardest book first to get it over with? Or do you need a break? If so, start with the one you’re most excited to read. Figure out the order in which you want to tackle the books, then figure out when you plan to start. A few things to keep in mind when planning your reading schedule:

  • Unless you plan to read multiple hours a day, you should alot at least two weeks to reach each book (longer for the long ones).

  • You should NOT plan to read books when you are visiting your best friend, or at a soccer camp, or anywhere where you feel that reading might be challenging or downright impossible.

  • DO NOT - I repeat, DO NOT - spend the last week of your summer reading these books. Plan ahead so that you can spend your last week of summer sleeping, having fun, or doing whatever else you want to do with your last moments of freedom.

Need help making a plan? Get started with Clayborne’s Summer Reading Plan of Attack.

Step 3: Leave yourself a roadmap

A common concern about completing summer reading early in the summer is that students might forget what they read by the time fall comes around. Nothing is worse than reading the required book, only to show up to school and bomb the reading test! Don’t do this to yourself. Don’t leave yourself stranded. Instead, leave yourself a trail of notes and annotations. Annotation (underlining, circling, and taking notes while you read) not only helps you helps you comprehend what are are reading in the moment, but also lays a roadmap that you can return to when reviewing for a test or essay.

Step 4: Reward yourself

Don’t expect this to be easy. You may order the books, make a schedule, sit down, crack open the first one, and realize that, despite all of your planning, this is going to be really hard. Plan some rewards for yourself. Some ideas:

  • Pick out a movie you want to see, and save it until you’ve finished the first book.

  • Ask your parents if they will cook your favorite meal, or take you to your favorite restaurant when you finish a challenging read.

  • Really want to watch TV or go hang out with a friend? Make yourself read one chapter first.

  • Set up a competition with a friend! Whoever finishes the book first has to buy the other ice-cream.

Want help planning out and staying on track with your summer reading? Clayborne is here to help.

How Important Is the LSAT vs. GPA?

Clay Daniel, Director of the LSAT Program

Clay Daniel, Director of the LSAT Program

We at Clayborne have built relationships with several excellent professionals in law schools admissions and admissions consulting. These colleagues have helped us gain a nuanced sense of the crucial role the LSAT plays in law school admissions.

The first thing any law school candidate must understand is that law school admission is, as a rule, a holistic process. Although law schools used to have hard and fast formulas by which they interpreted candidates’ LSAT scores and undergraduate GPA (UGPA), this is generally no longer the case. Law school admissions officers really do take the time to consider each candidate as a person and not simply as a composite of make-or-break numbers.


With that said, put yourself in the law school’s shoes. Maintaining standing is an important consideration, and the reality is that US News’ yearly rankings go a long way toward determining that standing. Those rankings unquestionably value median LSAT score more highly than they do UGPA; in fact, a peek at the full details of the rankings (only available to those willing to pony up $29.95 for inside access) shows the LSAT score placed front and center, whereas it takes several clicks and some scrolling to discover the average UGPA.


So we’ve established that a law school cannot afford to downplay the LSAT score. But let’s go deeper: we’re talking about median LSAT, not average (arithmetic mean). If you’ve been well instructed in statistics, you will recognize that median, unlike mean, only tells us about the score that is exactly in the middle of all the data. This means that if a law school’s matriculants have LSAT scores anywhere from 150 to 170, their median LSAT score will not necessarily be 160 … in fact, it could diverge widely from that figure. To take an example from Clayborne’s backyard, the middle 50% at our beloved UVA Law School (currently tied for 9th place in US News’ rankings) is an LSAT score of 163 to 170. But the actual median (50th percentile) nestles way at the high end of that range: 169. UVA has a great deal of incentive to make sure that roughly half of its next entering class possesses LSAT scores at or above 169, as well as the following class, and the one after that, etc.


None of this is to suggest that UGPA doesn’t matter. After all, law schools have standards to maintain with regard to GPA as well; the median UGPA for UVA law schools is a sterling 3.87, and the school no doubt wants to maintain that standard. But here’s the difference: for most schools, a candidate with a high GPA is easier to find than a candidate with a high LSAT score. Tens of thousands of law school aspirants do well at their undergraduate institutions, but only a fraction of those students will navigate the gauntlet the LSAT throws down and come out with impressive results. The reverse outcome—applicants with high LSAT scores but low UGPA—is simply less common.


These realities lead to what may be an unsettling conclusion: since applicants with above average GPA and below average LSAT are somewhat common, this is not the profile you want to have. Sure, it’s far better to be above the median GPA than below it, but you must remind yourself that law schools need to nurture their medians in both GPA and LSAT. If high LSAT scores are harder to come by, that makes them all the more valuable … as economics teaches, scarcity makes a commodity precious!


What does all this mean for you? We see several important “dos” and “don’ts”:


  • DO raise that GPA, if it’s not too late. You’ll need a 3.8 or better to be above the median for a top 14 law school, and a 3.6 or better to be above the median for the top 50.


  • DO your homework, and determine exactly what you need. If your GPA is (or is going to be) below the median for any of the schools you’re applying to, you need to pull out all the stops to make sure your LSAT score is above the median for those schools. Know your goals, do the math, and cultivate a good relationship with admissions at all your schools of interest.


  • DO cultivate the virtue of the few. A high LSAT score is like gold, and you want that gold in your pocket. At the risk of beating a dead horse, consider: if you are targeting a school with a median LSAT of 165 and a median UGPA of 3.75, and your GPA is 3.9 and your LSAT 163, you are not in good shape just because your GPA is well above the median and your LSAT is only a little bit below it. Medians are everything, and you need to pull up that LSAT score in order to feel secure in your position.


  • DON’T give up if your GPA is low. Remember the median principle here. Even if your desired school has a median of 3.6 and you’re at 2.9, all is not necessarily lost. If you can get above the median LSAT score for that school, you have at least some hope in the outcome, because that law school (as often happens) may have all the high UGPA’s it needs but not enough LSAT scores above its median … putting you right in the mix!


  • DON’T leave money on the table. Tuition for the top 14 schools averages over $180,000 over three years. For the top 50, the average is still well over $120,000. Most schools have substantial scholarship funds available (many Clayborne students have gotten free rides or substantial tuition reductions). Doing what it takes to maximize your LSAT score is extremely likely to pay off in big ways for those who expend the time, money, and sweat in pursuit of a better future.


Contact Clayborne today to find out more about how to hurdle the medians in your life!

The GMAT Podcasts are LIVE!

Do you have questions about the GMAT? We've got answers! Join James Supplee, the Director of Clayborne Education's GMAT program, as he shares common misconceptions about this computer adaptive test. Listen below!

When should you take the GMAT? Should you wait? Should you take it right after you finish undergrad? In this episode, James provides some insight about when to take the GMAT.

When should you take the GMAT? Should you wait? Should you take it right after you finish undergrad? In this episode, James provides some insight about when to take the GMAT.

Algorithms? Computer adaptation? Preparing for the GMAT can be a confusing process. James Supplee, the Director of Clayborne Education's GMAT program shares common misconceptions about this computer adaptive test to help you do your best!

Algorithms? Computer adaptation? Preparing for the GMAT can be a confusing process. James Supplee, the Director of Clayborne Education's GMAT program shares common misconceptions about this computer adaptive test to help you do your best!

The GMAT is changing. What can you do to prepare? James Supplee, the Director of Clayborne Education's GMAT program has answers!

The GMAT is changing. What can you do to prepare? James Supplee, the Director of Clayborne Education's GMAT program has answers!

Why you should care about the SAT and ACT

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In 2017, Virginia students performed better on the SAT than students across the US.

Students in Albemarle County and Charlottesville performed better than state averages!

From the Daily Progress:

In Charlottesville, the average math score of 579 — up 35 points from the year prior — is 41 points higher than the state average and 62 points higher than the national average, according to a news release from the city school division.

The city’s average verbal score of 599 also was up 35 points from last year. That figure is 41 points higher than the Virginia average and 72 points above the national average.

“At Charlottesville City Schools, we remember that any individual test score is just one small glimpse of the good work our students achieve. But anyone who has ever applied to college knows the importance of the SAT and college entrance exams,” Kendra King, director of student achievement, said in a statement. “We’re glad that our students do so well on these key exams.”

Click here for full article.

From the Wallstreet Journal:

The SAT and ACT matter. They help overwhelmed admissions officers divide enormous numbers of applicants into pools for further assessment. High scores don’t guarantee admission anywhere, and low scores don’t rule it out, but schools take the tests seriously.

And they should because the standardized tests tell us a lot about an applicant’s likely academic performance and eventual career success. Saying as much has become controversial in recent years, as standardized tests of every sort have come under attack. But our own research and that of others in the field show conclusively that a few hours of assessment do yield useful information for admissions decisions.

Unfortunately, a lot of myths have developed around these tests—myths that stand in the way of a thoughtful discussion of their role and importance.

Myth: Tests Only Predict First-Year Grades

Longitudinal research demonstrates that standardized tests predict not just grades all the way through college but also the level of courses a student is likely to take. Our research shows that higher test scores are clearly related to choosing more difficult majors and to taking advanced coursework in all fields. At many schools, the same bachelor’s degree can be earned largely with introductory courses or with classes that approach the level of a master’s degree. Students with high test scores are more likely to take the challenging route through college.

Tests also predict outcomes beyond college. A 2007 paper published in the journal Science presented a quantitative review across thousands of studies and hundreds of thousands of students, examining the predictive power of graduate-school admissions tests for law, business, medicine and academic fields. It showed that the tests predict not only grades but also several other important outcomes, including faculty evaluations, research accomplishments, degree attainment, performance on comprehensive exams and professional licensure.

Click here for the full article.

The data is in! The ACT and SAT matter! We can guarantee your test results with our new Score Guarantee program!

For more information, visit our website:


The ACT or SAT?

One of the most common questions we get from our clients is, "which test should I take?" The truth-all colleges accept both tests; which test you take is based on your test preference. Below is a handy infographic that may help you decide which test is right for you. Our very own Scott Webster gives you the inside scoop on which test may be right for you in this Facebook Live Video.

Still need assistance? Sign up for our Sorter Test! Email us:

Still need assistance? Sign up for our Sorter Test! Email us:



When Clay Daniel asked Lee Elberson to become his business partner in 2014, they both knew Clayborne would gain the very benefit we pursue for our students: a better future. Over the past four years, their complementary skill sets have positioned Clayborne as the best-known local tutoring firm in Charlottesville. Since the outset of their partnership, Clayborne has acquired one of its competitors, hired its first full time sales manager, added Scott Webster (Director of College Entrance Exam Prep) to the ownership team, and initiated a comprehensive scholarship program aimed at significantly deepening and widening access to our services to students of every socioeconomic background.

As Clayborne has continued to grow in both clients and staff, the need for a streamlined infrastructure has become evident. As of Jan. 1, 2018, Clay will devote his time to the development of Clayborne’s academic programs and curricula, immersing himself in Clayborne’s primary service: test prep. As Clayborne’s most experienced and highest rated tutor, Clay is uniquely positioned to oversee the training of new tutors and maintain the highest standard of excellence for our team of more than 25 tutors.

Additionally, Lee will now step into a chief operations role, channeling his passion for business development and utilizing his training in and aptitude for quantitative analysis.  For the past four years, Lee has spent considerable time in the business community working as an entrepreneur coach with the Community Investment Collaborative (CIC), a local nonprofit organization . Lee has most recently been appointed Treasurer of the Board of Directors of CIC, a testament to his charisma and capability. This experience has equipped and invigorated Lee to oversee Clayborne’s business management. 

The ownership team believes these changes will allow Clay and Lee to devote their energies to their areas of sharpest gifting and deepest passion. Thank you to everyone who has helped make Clayborne a household name in Charlottesville! 

Ace Your Next Exam!

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Taking a test can be stressful, but Clayborne Education is here to help you build your test-taking strategy. For major tests like the MCAT, LSAT, SAT and ACT, you’ll need to be sure to give yourself enough time to prepare and review your study materials. Test-prep should start weeks to months in advance. To build your strategy, you need to understand the topics the test will cover and the layout of the test.

There are small lifestyle changes that can make a big impact on your score. Good study habits combined with a healthy lifestyle are key when preparing for major tests. Below, we’ve created eight study tips to help you make your best grade!

    The night before your exam, it's critical that you get your rest. Your brain functions best when it's well-rested, so be sure to get your 8 hours!
    Fueling your body with healthy foods also helps your brain function at its peak! Avoid processed foods and opt for whole, nutritious meals. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water!
    Healthy body, healthy mind. Be sure to get at least 30 minutes of exercise 3 to 4 days per week to keep your body fit and your mind sharp.

    Fight the urge to procrastinate! It may sound counter-intuitive, but cramming the night before is not effective. Preparation starts not days, but weeks to months in advance. Practicing healthy habits before the exam helps you to feel less stressed and ready to ace your exams!
    The day of your exam, try to get an early start. If your exam starts at 8 AM, we suggest waking up at 6 AM. Make time for a good workout to get your endorphins going–this prepares your mind for your day and will help you focus later. Be sure to arrive at your exam site early.

    Eating breakfast every day helps to give your brain the energy it needs to accomplish tasks. Before your exam, avoid sugary foods and opt for nutrient-rich foods like whole grains, avocado, berries, fish, eggs, or nuts.

    Take a deep breath. Before you walk into your exam, take a moment to go over your test-taking strategy. Take a moment to breathe and center your mind to prepare for what’s ahead.


    You got this! You're more prepared than you think. If you've followed the tips on this list, you'll be ready to take on your big day.


Clayborne Education has helped all three of my children with standardized testing for the SAT, ACT, and GRE. The one-on-one approach that is tailored to strengthen weaknesses without wasting time on strengths has made the process doable and engaging. My kids have gone through their various standardized tests well-prepared, and confident. With Clayborne’s help, my kids know they maximized their testing taking abilities, and earned the best scores they were capable of earning. We have also used Clayborne Education’s math and science tutoring, as well as academic coaching services. Those services have been excellent, as well. I am grateful to have a service such as Clayborne around to make what could be a stressful college application situation navigable and smooth. I can’t recommend Clayborne Education enough!
— Diane Auger Smith

Refugee Scholarship Fund Recipient: Kibiriti Majuto

We initiated a Refugee Fund in 2016 and Kibiriti Majuto, a refugee student who was in his Junior year at CHS, became the first recipient. We were able to help him with many of his academic needs. We are very thankful to all of those who supported this fund and made Kibiriti’s experience at Clayborne possible. Our aim was to help Kibiriti gain admission to college and see him flourish once there, and we have seen just that.

While finishing up his time at CHS this past year Kibriti continued to display his diligence and commitment to succeed. During his senior year he was heavily involved in the CHS and Charlottesville community, by participating in Black Student Union, the International Club, We Are the Line, Culture to Culture, Charlottesville Youth Council, and Student Council Association at CHS, where he served as class president for both Junior and Senior year. Kibiriti had a great senior year, where he “got the opportunity to start a new club, have a successful senior year, and organize with some local leaders on things that could be done to address all the immigration problems going at the local level.” Kibiriti also had the opportunity to lobby at the United States House of Representatives for refugee rights.

Kibriti graduated from CHS, and this summer lived in New Mexico where he was involved with the Earth Guardians’ Rising Youth for a Sustainable Earth. He expressed that this summer was a “great opportunity for me learn about different campaigns,” as well as connect to what young people in and across the U.S. are doing.

Kibiriti started at PVCC this fall, and is taking a full load of classes. Beyond the classroom, he is still heavily involved in the local community. Kibiriti now sits on the board of Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice. We are excited to see what else is in store for Kibriti this year and beyond, and so we desire to continue to support Kibiriti’s academic needs this year.  

We still need support to make helping Kibiriti possible. Clayborne is hoping to soon begin another Refugee Fund that we anticipate not only to support one year of Kibiriti’s academic support here at Clayborne, but also to support another high school refugee student through our comprehensive academic program. We desire to provide a platform for all students of this city to succeed regardless of background and resources. Consider giving to this expected Refugee Fund, and in doing so partnering with Clayborne to support the students of our local community.


More schools are going “test-optional.” Does this spell the end for test prep?


Emphatically, NO!

Yes, the list of schools no longer requiring standardized test scores for admission has now reached 950 institutions, 275 of them highly ranked according to U.S. News & World Report [source: National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest)].  And yes, in the end, your academic performance, extracurricular involvement, and admission essay weigh more heavily on your application than do standardized test scores; however, here’s why you shouldn’t throw in the test prep towel just yet:

  • Standardized test scores will always be, for better or worse, the great equalizer.  Admissions officers assess thousands of students from across the world every year, all with spectacular GPAs, diverse extracurriculars, various sports accolades, and prize-winning admission essays  [source: NACAC criteria for admission].  How will YOU differentiate yourself from the pack?  A strong SAT and/or ACT score can be that edge you may need.

  • Standardized test scores will be tied to merit-based scholarships.  With the cost of tuition (not including other fees and room-and-board) ranging from $14,000 on average for public institutions to $50,000 for private institutions, need-based financial aid can only do so much.  According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), four out of five schools used standardized test criteria for merit-based financial aid [source: NACAC].  The potential aid awarded ranges from a not-insignificant $1000 per year (contingent on minimum standardized test score criteria) to full-tuition and board.  SAT and ACT test performance is often tied to the school’s purse strings, so do what you can to loosen them!

We realize this is coming from a company whose business model is built on test prep, and we readily acknowledge the suspect, self-serving  nature of recent attacks on schools going test optional (see Collegeboard’s and ACT’s reaction).  Nonetheless, we believe standardized tests are here to stay, and we’re committed to helping both students and parents navigate the undulating - and oft-overwhelming - landscape of test preparation and college admission planning.

Have questions or concerns about schools going test optional?  Contact Clayborne now!


-Scott Webster, Co-Owner and Director of College Entrance Exam Prep

Talented Former Student, Isabella Gorman

We would like to wish Isabella well with her music program auditions! We are so glad she was able to use her sessions with us to prepare for life beyond high school. 

"I am constantly reminded of study and time management techniques you taught me as they continue to save me everyday. I miss coming to Clayborne."

Clayborne Expands, Adding Second Location on Ivy Road

As many of you know, we purchased Champion Tutoring in 2015.

Over the summer, we worked hard to fully adsorb the Champion team and location into Clayborne so that we could continue to provide the best test prep and tutoring services in Charlottesville.

What does that mean for you? Now we have a second location, a larger talent pool of tutors, and expanded offerings for subject tutoring and SAT/ACT Test Prep!

Our second location is beside Foods of All Nations off Ivy Road. The address is 2125 Ivy Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22903