Kate Scores Her Match

By Emily Brehe-Gunter

It’s June 2021, and Kate gets the call she’s quietly anticipated all month. It’s the head coach for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) women’s tennis team, and he has good news.

kate athletic admissions

“Oddly enough, CMS was my first and only offer because I literally accepted it in a day. I snatched up [the offer] because Claremont McKenna is my dream school,” Kate says.

Kate is a senior at Christ Academy in Wichita Falls, TX. She’s a five-time tennis champion at the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) 1-A level with a dream of playing competitively on a team at a liberal arts college. And soon, this dream will finally become a reality.

The Swing of Things

“I would definitely say that my biggest extracurricular throughout my life has been tennis,” Kate says.

When Kate was younger, her parents signed her up for almost every sport available to her. She played soccer, basketball, gymnastics, dancing, swimming, and tennis. She soon learned that she felt most at home on the tennis court.

“The choice was ultimately mine, and I decided that tennis was the best sport for me because it highlighted my strengths as an athlete. And I’ve just loved doing it ever since,” Kate says.

Kate thrives on competition and likes to feel in control on the court. She said she loves that tennis keeps her thinking on her feet.

“It’s like playing chess. You have to analyze your opponent’s moves and figure out what they’re going to do next while still thinking about, ‘What am I going to do next? How am I going to win this?’ That problem-solving side is one of my favorite reasons for loving tennis,” Kate says.

When she’s not grinding it out on the court or volunteering at local vet clinics and animal shelters, Kate loves to knit. She describes herself as a “rainbow loom kid,” and she’s made anything from socks to scarves to sweaters for her dog.

“I definitely would say that I am a crafty person,” Kate says.

One of her all-time favorite knitting projects was inspired by a colorful, patchwork cardigan worn by Harry Styles on The Today Show. Kate didn’t have an extra $2,000 lying around to splurge on the actual designer piece, so she decided to make it herself.

“It has green, blue, black, yellow, red… It’s crazy-looking, but it was fun to make,” Kate says.

Preparing for Athletic Admissions

Kate first learned about KD College Prep from one of her friends. Her parents signed her up in 9th grade, and she appreciated the structure the program added to the process of preparing for tests.

“I am very much a Type A person, and I feel like KD gave me all the resources that I love… Being able to be organized and have all these resources that are available to you—all of that has been invaluable to me, and I utilized almost every resource,” Kate says.

In addition to attending test prep activities, Kate worked with KD’s college counseling team to perfect her college application essays. She worked one-on-one with college counselors to craft an essay that added a personal touch to her college application.

“I like to think that I’m a pretty good writer, but they helped me take solid writing and make it into great writing,” Kate says.

KD’s college essay assistance goes beyond general editing. KD’s college counselors met with Kate to brainstorm topic ideas and find something that really showed who she was as a person and why she belonged at Claremont McKenna.

“They’re there to help you with your grammar, word choice, and the black-and-white side of writing. But some of the ideas that they gave me while writing that essay definitely took it to the next level,” Kate says.

Kate planned ahead and wrote her essay during the spring of her junior year of high school, and she submitted her application for a pre-read right after she visited Claremont McKenna in May 2021. By June, the college offered her a spot on their team.

“I think having a strong essay is probably one of the best ways you can help yourself get into a college,” Kate says.

When asked about her advice to younger KD students, Kate says, “Be a sponge. Absorb as much information as you can. And practice. Those practice tests are so invaluable. You need to be doing those way more than you think you do… And have fun. You should be enjoying your time, but still focus, still have drive, and still have grit.”

California Dreaming

“When I visited Claremont McKenna, I got a completely different vibe than what I’d gotten at some of the other schools that I had visited… Everybody there seemed genuinely happy to be there. The sense of collaboration that I could feel as a visitor was just insane. It checked all the boxes for me—the location too. No one can complain about going to school in southern California,” Kate says.

Kate stayed in touch with the CMS head tennis coach throughout the entire recruiting process. When she visited the campus in spring of 2021, there were no students on campus due to the pandemic. To her surprise, the head tennis coach stepped up and gave her a personal tour throughout the entire campus.

“That seemed rare almost,” Kate says. “He went above and beyond what other coaches had done previously. And I thought, wow—if he’s willing to do this for someone who is only a recruit, imagine how far he’ll be willing to go for you when you’re actually on his team,” Kate says.

Down the Line

Kate dreams of pursuing med school after receiving her bachelor’s. While she’s still weighing all her options, she’s particularly interested in becoming a dermatologist.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in a dermatologist’s office,” Kate says. “As someone who has experienced the patient side of it—the way that [my doctor] made me feel and the way that she’s been able to help me—it’s kind of changed my life. That’s something that I think is so cool about dermatology—you have that power to help someone.”

Early on in her admissions journey, Kate knew that she wanted to go to a small liberal arts college. Although she’s always enjoyed her science classes, she wants t develop skills in other areas as well.

“I am leaning toward classical studies. It is a great major for developing problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and a really strong liberal arts background in different subject matters. That’s a great degree [that will help me] leverage myself in graduate studies and future career paths,” Kate says.

Now that college applications are out of the way, Kate can’t wait to get back on the tennis court for her senior season. She plans to enjoy precious time with friends and family before she heads to California this fall.

Emily Brehe-Gunter is the digital marketing director at KD College Prep.

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“I want to thank KD College Prep for helping me get the score I needed to receive over $464,000 in scholarships, including two full rides. I started the program the summer going into my junior year. I had an excellent GPA but struggled on standardized tests. Taking the test prep classes throughout junior year and taking practice tests got me more prepared each time I took the test. I achieved my best score the summer going into my senior year. That score allowed me to apply to my top schools as soon as early decision opened. I am so grateful to Karen Dillard and the extra practice and proctored exams! My parents are grateful too—for the small investment they got a great return.”
“I want to thank KD College Prep for helping me get the score I needed to receive over $464,000 in scholarships, including two full rides. I started the program the summer going into my junior year. I had an excellent GPA... Read more...

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“I really enjoyed KD because the teachers helped me look at the SAT® test in a whole new angle. I really began analyzing the test and learned how to work math and reading problems in a smarter way, which was really helpful. I also really appreciated all the varied practice and detailed breakdowns from instructors, helping me see not just what answer was correct but why those answers were correct.”
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“KD had a very streamlined process of learning the ins and outs of the reading and grammar part of the SAT® test as well as a very well-structured mathematics process that went through the subjects of algebra, geometry, and pre-calculus in depth. Another great part of the KD experience was the wonderful staff giving me so many useful tips and strategies for the areas that I was specifically struggling with. The staff understands students have different strengths and weaknesses, and the fact that they tailor the info they give to each student is very useful. Overall, KD has helped me not only with SAT preparation but also with my normal school work.”
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“I am very grateful that KD was able to offer so many resources and guides for the SAT® and PSAT tests. They really helped me get a good grasp on the types of questions that the SAT exam tested on, and I was able to get a really good score the first time I took it! Once again, thank you KD, and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to earn a high SAT score.”
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“KD taught me so many useful strategies for the SAT® & PSAT/NMSQT® tests. They helped me improve my SAT score by over 400 points, and I got done with the SAT test at the beginning of 11th grade! I would recommend KD to anyone who wants a highly competitive SAT score.
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“My time and experiences at KD College Prep have efficiently guided and prepared me for my future educational career as a college student. Not only did KD help me with college entrance exams but also provided numerous informational seminars that helped me with the various steps required for college admissions. At KD I enjoyed learning from amazing teachers, who cared for each of their students individually and were ready to help wherever it was needed. Being a student at KD has also helped me figure out which learning techniques work best for me. The opportunity to engage in different learning methods such as small group interactive learning, larger group discussions, or individual practice are all ways that helped me come up with a learning... Read more...
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Tanisha P. – Class of 2020

“My favorite things about KD were the mirroring it had to actual test questions, the availability, and the relationships you built with all the teachers and advisors who made the process of learning easier. I think that after you started going to a good amount of classes and the workshops, you knew every teacher, and they were always available to answer any questions that you had...Everyone was just so welcoming and made learning more engaging for the students, especially with the workshops. All of had their own unique style of teaching which never made a class boring.”
“My favorite things about KD were the mirroring it had to actual test questions, the availability, and the relationships you built with all the teachers and advisors who made the process of... Read more...

Rishab P. – Class of 2021

“I want to thank both of you so very much for making this dream come true. When I first came to KD, I wanted to get a score of 1520 or above... So many people told me it would be impossible to reach my desired score. After months of using KD's methods my scores definitely improved but hovered around 1350—still not near the score I needed but closer. After finally working with both of you during one on ones, my scores started to see heavy improvement and while I didn't get a score of 1520 or above as a single score, I got it as a superscore... Read more...
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David P. – Class of 2022

“It takes a village to raise a child—this is so true. KD College Prep staff have been nothing but uplifting to my child and to us parents through their eager attitudes to assist, in-depth guidance and unparalleled wisdom. I am in awe at the consistent level of professionalism yet genuine concern for each and every person that walks through their doors. Thank you KD staff for being great mentors for our children!”
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Gloria D. – Daughter, Class of 2021

“I attended KD for the last 3 years, and I was blessed with the opportunity to take the SAT® test one last time last month. I got a 1430 on the test. I wanted to take the time to say I have finished college applications, and I would love to thank all the teachers and aides at KD for giving me the score that I got on the test. Without the extra practice, I wouldn't have been able to get through to the score I got. These past 3 years went by so fast, and it is so fun to look back at where I started and how much I have come out with flying colors. Thank you so much!”
“I attended KD for the last 3 years, and I was blessed with the opportunity to take the SAT® test one last time last month. I got a 1430 on the test. I wanted to take the time to say I... Read more...

Kareena A. – Class of 2021

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Advika R. – Class of 2022

“I shifted toward taking practice tests and going to workshops because I felt those were the best ways to apply the concepts (I was) learning in class. I started applying the tips and tricks that the teachers were showing me in class. In conjunction, those two things helped me raise my score a lot because I was not a math kid before KD or high school. The repetition and being able to practice in a non-stressful environment and simulating that testing experience is something that was very beneficial for me... “The college counseling team was super patient and honest about the work I was submitting. I know for a lot of kids, it’s hard to articulate who you are through 250-300 words. It was definitely... Read more...
“I shifted toward taking practice tests and going to workshops because I felt those were the best ways to apply the concepts (I was) learning in class. I started applying the tips and tricks that the teachers were showing me in... Read more...

Blaine W. – Class of 2021

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“My daughter loved the program—the program materials and the teachers both online and in person. She participated in a year of online and a year of in person. It was incredible enrichment and helped her keep her skills sharp over the... Read more...

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“I wanted to say thank you to all of the teachers and directors at KD for helping me get a great score on the SAT® test. I started with a 1250 on the first KD test I took, and I got a 1530 on the December 5th SAT test. KD played a huge role in this, and I just wanted to say thanks to everyone there for helping me achieve this.”
“I wanted to say thank you to all of the teachers and directors at KD for helping me get a great score on the SAT® test. I started with a 1250 on the first KD test I took, and I got... Read more...

Vyom S. – Class of 2022

"Our twin 16-year-old boys used KD College Prep to study/practice for the PSAT test, and we believe the classes and coaching were invaluable. Very professional and concise. Worth every penny!"
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Jerry – Sons, Class of 2022

“I'm writing to thank the KD team for all the help and guidance over the last couple of years! All the resources provided were very useful to me and helped me achieve the scores I was aiming for on the PSAT, SAT®, and ACT® tests (1520, 1580, and 34). I really appreciate everyone's willingness to be flexible and accommodate my requests!”
“I'm writing to thank the KD team for all the help and guidance over the last couple of years! All the resources provided were very useful to me and helped me achieve the scores I was aiming for on the PSAT,... Read more...

Mithra A. – Class of 2022

"The resources that KD offers have greatly prepared me for the college admissions process. Without KD, I would not have been this prepared and confident... I am a rising senior, and I ended up receiving a 1570 on my SAT® test (third time) and a 35 on my ACT® test (first time). I remember the first ever practice test I took for the SAT test was a 1230 (about 1.5 yrs ago) and the first ever practice test I took for the ACT test was a 31 or 32 (about 6 months ago)."
"The resources that KD offers have greatly prepared me for the college admissions process. Without KD, I would not have been this prepared and confident... I am a rising senior, and I ended up receiving a 1570 on my SAT® test... Read more...

Elise P. – Class of 2022

"I'm very happy my daughter chose KD as her learning partner to achieve her goals. All the experiences with KD and the Directors there are fabulous. My daughter has improved significantly."
"I'm very happy my daughter chose KD as her learning partner to achieve her goals. All the experiences with KD and the Directors there are fabulous. My daughter has improved significantly."

Zarni, Daughter – Class of 2021

"It's been super helpful, and I've noticed my scores go up both on my SAT®/ACT® scores as well as test scores in school... Overall, I believe this to be the best college prep that money can buy."
"It's been super helpful, and I've noticed my scores go up both on my SAT®/ACT® scores as well as test scores in school... Overall, I believe this to be the best college prep that money can buy."

Gopi C. – Class of 2021

"KD helped me come up with a game plan for the colleges I wanted to attend, as well as any backups, and how to manage my time during this stressful period. They helped to ease the stress and made sure that I would be successful in whichever college I picked, and I am eternally grateful for all their help and hard work!"
"KD helped me come up with a game plan for the colleges I wanted to attend, as well as any backups, and how to manage my time during this stressful period. They helped to ease the stress and made... Read more...

Omar S. – Class of 2020

"I was thankful for all the help I received from KD in preparing for my SAT® and ACT® exams. The workshops they offered, as well as the practice exams, gave me the tools I needed to do my very best."
"I was thankful for all the help I received from KD in preparing for my SAT® and ACT® exams. The workshops they offered, as well as the practice exams, gave me the tools I needed to do my very best."

Morgan D. – Class of 2020

"KDCP is a must for students wanting to stay a step ahead of the game for getting into college. My son has gained huge insight from the ACT®/SAT® practice workshops, practice tests, and essay class."
"KDCP is a must for students wanting to stay a step ahead of the game for getting into college. My son has gained huge insight from the ACT®/SAT® practice workshops, practice tests, and essay class."

Tiffany – Son, Class of 2021

"KD helped to increase the efficiencies of how I took the national exams. I was also able to implement these efficiencies in my daily school studies within the IB program at PESH. I would (and have) recommend KD to those students wanting an edge on their national test scores!"
"KD helped to increase the efficiencies of how I took the national exams. I was also able to implement these efficiencies in my daily school studies within the IB program at PESH. I would (and have) recommend KD to those students... Read more...

Daniel J. – Class of 2020

"I came to KD the summer before my senior year with only my determination and big goals! KD provided me with the resources necessary to improve my test score to increase my chances at my dream school, Notre Dame, with the help from amazing teachers and staff. I am so grateful for KD!"
"I came to KD the summer before my senior year with only my determination and big goals! KD provided me with the resources necessary to improve my test score to increase my chances at my dream school, Notre Dame, with the... Read more...

Matt K. – Class of 2020

"I started classes at KD the summer before 9th grade. I...made a perfect score on the PSAT (earning the National Merit® scholarship) and, after taking the SAT® test only once (a relief!), scored a 1590/1600."
"I started classes at KD the summer before 9th grade. I...made a perfect score on the PSAT (earning the National Merit® scholarship) and, after taking the SAT® test only once (a relief!), scored a 1590/1600."

Thomas D. – Class of 2019

"In just one year, I was able to raise my score by 300 points and get into my dream school."
"In just one year, I was able to raise my score by 300 points and get into my dream school."

Piper F. – Class of 2020

"Having our recent GHS graduate attend KD was life changing. It provided our son with choices and opportunities that he might not have had otherwise."
"Having our recent GHS graduate attend KD was life changing. It provided our son with choices and opportunities that he might not have had otherwise."

Kathy – Son attends Mizzou

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“I came to KD College Prep after already using another tutoring service which we were not seeing results with. Due to time constraints, the traditional classes were not going to be feasible for my daughter. They took the time to figure out a personal plan that would work for her and were always available for our questions and helping her reach her goals. Every employee from the managers to the students working at their locations are top notch.”
“I came to KD College Prep after already using another tutoring service which we were not seeing results with. Due to time constraints, the traditional classes were not going to be feasible for my daughter. They took the time to figure... Read more...

Tracy – Daughter, Class of 2020

"The KD College Prep course not only provided test practice but also motivated her to work hard for her college applications. It gave her the confidence to dream big!"

"The KD College Prep course not only provided test practice but also motivated her to work hard for her college applications. It gave her the confidence to dream big!"

Prema – Daughter attends Rice