Prepping for Success with Beth Harrison

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Photo Credit: Beth Harrison

While you may not know Beth Harrison personally, it is likely that you have seen her around Collegiate’s campus. You may have seen her wandering around the Academic Commons searching for her students, or you may have seen one of her notorious green binders situated in the hands of one of your fellow classmates.

For twelve years Harrison has worked as a consultant and private tutor specializing in helping students prepare for the ACT, SAT, PSAT, and SSAT. She is the owner and operator of Prep for Success located in Gayton Professional Center just off of Gayton Road in Henrico County. Harrison tutors not only Collegiate students but also high school students from all over the Richmond area.

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Photo credit: Kate Kinder

Harrison’s tutoring career began during her freshman year of college at North Carolina State University when she was offered a tutoring job because of her exceptionally high SAT score. At the time, it was just a temporary job. She needed money, and she thought the job would be an effective way to earn it. Much to her surprise, she fell in love with tutoring. Harrison says the most rewarding part of her job is “getting texts from kids that say that they hit their goal score or got into their number one college choice.”

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Students working hard at pizza prep Photo credit: Beth Harrison

Harrison has truly mastered the art of preparing students for the SAT and ACT. She pulls out all the stops for her students. Kate Surgner (‘17) says, “It shocks me how Beth is able to juggle as many tasks as she does… Her work ethic is remarkable. I don’t know how she does it all.” Harrison offers ACT and SAT practice tests every Saturday morning that simulate the experience of actually taking the real test. This includes using #2 pencils, filling in information sheets, and bubbling in answers onto an answer sheet. On top of that, she offers a group tutoring session known as “pizza prep” the night before her students take the SAT or ACT.

Due to the sizable amount of Collegiate students that Harrison tutors, Collegiate is a very familiar place for her. She says that when she is on campus she “always sees the friendly faces of current and former students.” Harrison’s husband Andy is also on campus, as he serves as Collegiate’s Food Service Director and assistant varsity baseball coach. Harrison and her husband both appreciate many of the aspects that encompass Collegiate and agree that “it is a great community.” Additionally, Harrison mentioned that, “My Collegiate students are some of my favorites. There are so many personalities and different types of students, and without fail I have some pretty hard working kids from this school… I love that it’s not bad to want to try hard and do your best here… You don’t see that at every school.”

Consequently, it’s difficult to leave Harrison’s office without bumping into another Collegiate student. Harrison says, “There’s a certain camaraderie built around ‘oh you have Beth’ so it’s not like you’re the one kid that can’t go out on a Friday night because you have a practice test Saturday morning. There’s a bunch of you.” Students are not afraid to admit that they have a testing tutor, and they support each other through the process. For example, Claire Murphy (17’) says, “I love seeing my fellow Cougs every Saturday morning… Beth usually gets snacks like breakfast pizza so we can eat while we hang out during breaks!”

When Harrison is not tutoring, she enjoys spending time with her five-month-old baby girl, trying new restaurants with her husband, attending sporting events, and traveling to visit friends and family. Harrison says, “I put a great deal of myself and my time into my work, so I value down time with my family and friends and being an engaged member of the community that supports my business.”

It’s easy to conclude that Harrison is loved and appreciated by all of her students. Day after day she works arduously to create relationships with her students and assist them in reaching the score they need. Claire Murphy (17’) expressed it best by saying, “Beth is a true fave. A real ACT icon.”

About the author

Kate Kinder is a junior at Collegiate