PrepWell Podcast


Ep. 227 | Transition and Big Announcement

What to focus on this summer.

In this week's podcast, we say goodbye to the Class of 2024 and usher in the new Class of 2028.

Learn what each new "year group" should focus on this summer:

  1. freshman (get a head start)
  2. sophomore (lock-in last year's gains)
  3. junior (prepare for battle)
  4. senior (front-load application work)

Also, a big announcement about PrepWell Academy's new sister school...

Show Transcript:

Hello friends, and welcome back to the PrepWell Podcast. Today I want to congratulate all the prep mothers out there and their parents. Of course, for another successful academic year on the Prep Well calendar. We just transitioned yesterday actually, June 1st. All of the freshmen to become rising sophomores. All of the sophomores are now rising juniors. All of the juniors are now rising seniors.

And all of the seniors have moved on from Prep Academy to whatever their next step may be. College service academy, prep school, community college. Trade school, gap year, family business, whatever the case may be and I wish them all the best of luck. And for all of the eighth graders out there who have been chomping at the bit waiting to begin their prep well journey.

Registration is now officially open. Those graduating from eighth grade in the next week or two in Prep World are now considered rising freshmen, and the new class of 2028. So if you have an eighth grader and you haven't registered them yet, hop online Prep and enroll your child in one of our four programs Pathway military IV or athlete, and get a head start on this process.

With the move to a new year comes a host of new expectations. Because each grade will now be focused on a new series of milestones and benchmarks and things to look out for. Rising freshmen, for example, have to make sure that they start off on the right foot. The worst thing they could do is blow off freshman year unwittingly, and find themselves in a big hole a year or two down the road.

Freshman year matters. It accounts for 33% of the body of work that will show up on their college application. Remember, college applications only represent the work done in freshman, sophomore, and junior years, so your child does not want to blow off one of the only three years that count. They want to start off with a bang and lay the groundwork for success early rising sophomores.

They have to step up to the plate and begin to solidify all of the things that worked last year, like how to take good notes, handing work in on time, studying ahead of time for testing quizzes and stop all the things that didn't work. Like spending too much time on their phones. Rising juniors. They have to realize that this is their final and most important year before they apply to college.

Because most students apply early to college in the fall of their senior year, which means what they actually accomplish in senior year won't even make it to their application. That's why they need to get cracking right away. Grades. Extracurriculars. Letters of recommendation SAT, Act prep AP exams, leadership positions and the list goes on. And of course, our rising seniors.

They're applying to colleges over the next 2 to 3 months. They are researching colleges, visiting campuses, getting one last internship over the summer. They're writing their college essays, preparing their applications. They're putting all of the pieces together with all of this said. My number one suggestion to all prep letters right now across all cohorts is to make good use of this summer.

Let's not overcomplicate things. Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. Let's work on the here and now. And I know summers are for family vacations and sleepovers and s'mores and moviegoing and late nights. But for the highly motivated students who want to be competitive in an increasingly competitive environment, summers are also a time to explore interests. To keep up academically by reading books.

Doing Khan Academy math. Maybe taking an online summer class. Improving athletically. For all the athletes out there. Taking on internships, jobs. Volunteer work that are aligned with their interest. Prepping for the SAT or Act and generally having a productive and purposeful summer. I can't stress this enough. In fact, I thought I'd share with you an excerpt of a recent testimonial that I received from a prep mom who saw her daughter in real time taking prep wells advice for action with great results.

She writes. Hi Phil. I've been wanting to write for a few weeks. You may recall talking an emailing on several occasions with my daughter, a now rising senior at XYZ High School in Washington, D.C. we are so grateful to your podcast as well as to your guidance during her one on one sessions with you. Because of your advice to test early, as well as your referral to our test prep.

My daughter was finished with both the SAT and the A.C.T. before she even started her junior year. Not having the pressure of testing while taking four AP classes made her junior year significantly less stressful than anticipated. Moreover, it gave her the opportunity to spend significant time preparing her applications for several selective summer programs. She is thrilled to be attending a NASA summer program in Austin, Texas, and a similar Virginia program in August.

Besides working odd jobs this summer, she'll also be attending a school leadership camp and a church service week. The freedom from testing also allowed her time to focus on her extracurricular activities, so much so that the faculty recognized her club leadership with an End of School Leadership Award. We're not quite sure how this happened, but she also received the Harvard Prize Book Award.

All this to say, what was supposed to be the worst year, the dreaded junior year may have been her best year ever. She's currently waiting on AP test results, but she's anticipating all fives, thanks in large part to what she's learned from Prep Academy. She is headed into senior year with a great list of schools, which we've mostly visited, and an essay already in the works.

Thank you for doing what you do and for being available to my daughter when she's reached out. You'll probably be hearing from her again in the year ahead, but I wanted you to hear it from me as well. With gratitude prep well, parent. And the reason I bring this up is because this student and of course, her supportive mom took my advice seriously.

She prepped for the SAT and Act just prior to her junior year. She peaked at just the right time. She got great test scores and was thus able to focus on all the other wonderful things. This is what happens when you act on good advice. She clear the decks early in junior year and turned the allegedly worst year into the best year.

This doesn't happen by accident. It happens on purpose. So please take the weekly prep lesson seriously. Take action and watch the magic happen. And one last note before I leave you for today. Actually, it's more of an announcement. Yesterday, June 1st, also marked the launch of Prep Academy's new sister company called Serve Well Academy. As in serving your country well Academy, Serve Well Academy is basically like prep all Academy on steroids for those students who are serious about pursuing military opportunities in college.

It's not just something that they have a passing interest in, but something that they're actively pursuing. They mean business. I'm talking about service academies like West Point Naval Academy. Air force academy. Coast Guard Academy, merchant Marine Academy, as well as Army, Navy, and Air Force ROTC programs at highly selective colleges. I've helped students, including my own sons, get into every one of these service academies, as well as receive ROTC scholarships to Princeton, Yale, Harvard, MIT, Duke, northwestern, UVA, Cal, Berkeley, Stanford, and many others.

There has been such an explosion and interest in these programs for a number of reasons, and the process is so time intensive and convoluted at times that I've dedicated an entire program to it. So if you are currently enrolled in the Prep Academy military plan, or you're curious about what all the fuss is about, head over to Serve Well and see what we have cooking over there.

There are many prep ballers who have already migrated over to Serve Well Academy from Prep Academy, and I'm excited for what they have in store over their. And lastly, thank you for the continued trust you've put in me to help mentor your children and you hopefully during this challenging process. And if you feel like your child or you could use a little extra help if you will on some aspect of the process, please let me know.

I work with tons of prep weathers and tons of prep well, parents for that matter, every week on a one on one basis to help reinforce things that they're learning in their weekly videos, whether that's brainstorming for college essays, editing college essays, building extracurricular activities, lists, reviewing college lists, auditing class schedules, preparing for interviews, creating fitness programs to prep for military fitness tests, and everything in between.

So please don't hesitate to reach out and schedule a session if you think you could use some help. If you think you could use some clarification or if you just want a sanity check. I'd love to connect with you. That's all I've got for you today, folks. Happy summer. Thank you for tuning in. Thank you for your continued support.

In case you didn't know, this podcast supports Prep Academies online mentoring program, where high schoolers and their parents receive weekly videos from me where I break down important topics and give timely advice about college admissions, particularly for top tier colleges, service academies, and for ROTC and athletic scholarships. Many parents who listen to this podcast already have their high schoolers enrolled in prep Academy, which is great.

If you don't yet, please consider enrolling them. Registration is only open during freshman or sophomore year. After that, we no longer accept new students. So if you have a freshman or sophomore in high school and you like what you're hearing in these podcasts and you'd like to get more content like this tailored specifically for your child, for their specific grade and with their specific goals in mind.

Go to and enroll today. If you know a parent with a middle schooler or a high schooler that might find this helpful, please share the episode with them and give us a rating if you get a moment. Word of mouth and positive ratings help our podcast reach a much wider audience. If you have questions, comments, or an idea for an upcoming episode, please reach out to me by email.

DM me on Instagram, check out our blog or Facebook page. Connect with me on LinkedIn. I would love to hear from you. Until next week. Good luck and never stop preparing.

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Podcast Host:

PrepWell Academy's Founder, Phil Black, has spent a lifetime cracking the code on the world's most competitive programs: Yale University, Harvard Business School, Navy SEALs, Goldman Sachs, Entrepreneurship, Shark Tank (2X), etc.

Learn More About PrepWell:

Inside PrepWell Academy, Black teaches students everything they need to know about the college admissions process in a series of expertly-timed, 3-5-minute, weekly training videos starting in 9th grade and continuing through 12th grade [Note: this program can only be joined in 9th or 10th grade]. My specialties include military service academies, ROTC scholarships, Ivy League, and student-athletes.

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