Testimonials

Hunter, his mom, Celeste, and sister, Logan

(Whitefish Bay H.S., Class of 2014)

Accepted at Colorado State University, University of Denver, Iowa State University, University of Iowa, Marquette University, Purdue University, and University of Wisconsin-Madison

Matriculating at Colorado State University

We first learned of Tom and CAPs from a friend when we were discussing the overwhelming nature of college admissions. Tom had helped my friend’s son be admitted into UW-Madison, and he could not have spoken more positively about Tom. When I retained Tom, my son, Hunter, already had taken the ACT three times, scoring a 25 and two 26s. Hunter’s math and science scores were very solid, but reading was dragging his composite down. Tom prepared Hunter diligently for his final shot at the ACT, and the results were wonderful. Hunter’s reading score went from a 18 to a 23, and he even went up in math and science with a 30 in both, bringing his composite score to a 28 (91st percentile nationally). We were so happy in that this score opened a new world of possibilities for Hunter’s college admission.

Tom then assisted Hunter with the college admissions process, helping him decide which schools would provide a strong program in engineering, as well as with proofreading and editing his application essays. We have been so pleased with Tom’s services that I have now retained him to help my daughter, Logan, currently a high school junior. (In fact, Tom is tutoring Logan for her ACT in June 2014 as we speak.) Logan is excited to have her turn working with Tom, and I am thankful that I have someone I can trust to help her fulfill her college dreams.

Nori and his parents, Christel and Jim

(Shorewood H.S., Class of 2014)

Accepted at Case Western Reserve University, DePaul University, McGill University, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Oberlin College, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Matriculating at Case Western Reserve University

A friend's recommendation first connected us with Tom, and we were grateful for his expertise and sense of humor throughout the stressful college admissions process. Tom worked closely with Nori on ACT preparation and helped raise his score which, in turn, afforded him more opportunities at the selective colleges of his choice. Beyond test preparation, Tom spent time getting to know Nori and learning about his interests so that he could make recommendations to explore colleges that Nori would not have considered otherwise. In addition, we found Tom’s knowledge and expertise helpful in everything from essay editing to financial aid. We would highly recommend Tom to other families seeking comprehensive college admissions support.

Emma and her parents, Jerry and Laura

(Cedarburg H.S., Class of 2014)

Accepted at George Washington University, Loyola University of Chicago, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, St. Thomas University, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and University of Wisconsin-Madison

Matriculating at George Washington University

Having Tom's assistance, support, encouragement, and understanding made our family's process of negotiating the complex college application process proceed to a successful and joyous conclusion. Our daughter, Emma, is going to the “school of her dreams.” Tom possesses the skill of a highly accomplished editor in that he made sure we were both thorough and accurate in all the documents, forms, and applications we were required to complete. Most valuable of all was the extremely detailed knowledge of the entire process "from A to Z" that he exhibited. College applications and essays, financial aid forms, FAFSA and CSS/Profile information, and matching Emma with schools that were a “right fit” were just a few of the valuable insights he brought to bear during our journey together. Thank you, Tom. Superlatives are in order. However, the quality and generosity you displayed in your work spoke for themselves.

Lexi, her parents, Terry and Carrie, and brother, Austin

(Sheboygan Falls H.S., Class of 2014)

Accepted at Concordia University Wisconsin, Marquette University, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and Viterbo University

Matriculating at Viterbo University

We contacted Tom at the advice of several friends. Their children had worked with him previously, and all were incredibly pleased with the results. Our daughter, Lexi, had already taken the ACT and received an acceptable score when Tom began working with her in the second half of her junior year. Lexi was aiming for a higher score in order to compete for a very large scholarship at one of her schools of interest. We were extremely pleased with the 3-point jump on the ACT that Lexi achieved after her sessions with Tom.

Tom is a wealth of knowledge for students and parents alike. Our whole family was able to learn so much about the entire college application, scholarship, and financial aid process from our time spent with him. Tom’s work with Lexi was most timely, professional, and insightful. He has the uncanny ability to adapt his review process around learning styles that work best for your child. Lexi really enjoyed her time with Tom, as he gave her the confidence needed to realize that she could, indeed, reach her goal.

Catie and her parents, Carl and Cindy

(Cedarburg H.S., Class of 2014)

Accepted at the University of Alabama, University of Illinois-Chicago, University of Mississippi, The Ohio State University, University of South Carolina, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Matriculating at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

We are extremely grateful to Tom for the help he provided our daughter, Catie, with one of the biggest decisions of her life. Tom recognized and bridged a parent-student gap by offering excellent advice and guidance with regard to selecting a college. He also was instrumental in aiding Catie to bring out her strengths in her application and scholarship essays. We can say without hesitation that having Tom assist our daughter with her college applications was the best thing we did for her in this process.

Olivia and her parents, John and Paula

(Homestead H.S., Class of 2014)

Accepted at the University of Alabama, Marquette University, and the University of Tampa

Matriculating at the University of Alabama

Paula and I would like to thank Tom for his tireless work, motivation, and energy that he put forth not only for our daughter, Olivia, but also for the two of us. Tom and Olivia worked great together. He gave her the tools and confidence to improve her test scores, as well as informing and educating us regarding additional aspects of the college selection and admissions process. Olivia was the first senior at her high school to receive an acceptance letter. 'Bama Bound! Thanks again, Tom.

Molly and her parents, Peter and Terri

(Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S., Class of 2014)

Accepted at University of Colorado Boulder, University of Denver, Fairfield University, St. Michael’s College (VT), University of Vermont, and University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Matriculating at the University of Vermont

Tom did a great job! He especially helped me present myself through my essays so that I could highlight my unique aspects. I also had a number of supplemental essays that were required, and Tom assisted me in working through these essays so that I could clearly demonstrate to colleges why I would be an asset to their student bodies. Tom is extremely knowledgeable on the numerous intricacies of the college application process. All of our work paid dividends, as I was accepted to all the schools where I applied. I am proud to say that I will be attending the University of Vermont and playing D1 field hockey in the fall. Thanks, Tom!

Jake and his mom, Kathleen

(Sheboygan Falls H.S., Class of 2014)

Accepted at Creighton University, Loyola University Chicago, Marquette University, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and Winona State University

Matriculating at Creighton University

Based on recommendations from two families in our community, I contracted with Tom to work with my son, Jake, to improve his ACT scores. As Tom was quick to assess, there was a disconnect between Jake’s high school grades and his initial ACT score. Tom worked with Jake over several weeks and taught him time management tools, question prioritization strategies, and gave him a series of timed tests—all of which helped Jake. On test day, he felt more confident and his composite score jumped two points. Later, Jake took the ACT a third time, and his score again improved by two points. Tom was cheerleading from the sidelines on both occasions.

In addition to test preparation, Tom sat with both of us and gave us a wealth of information about universities and financial aid. He helped Jake narrow his focus to which universities aligned with Jake’s interests. Using sports analogies, Tom helped identify “slam dunk” and “three-point shot” schools. Hands down, contracting with Tom was one of the best things I could have done for Jake. Navigating the college search and application process is a completely different ballgame than it was in my day, and having an insider’s perspective and assistance was invaluable.

Michael and his parents, B. J. and Karen

(Sheboygan Falls H.S., Class of 2014)

Accepted at Concordia University Wisconsin, Marquette University, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Matriculating at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Based on the recommendation of another local family, we enlisted Tom’s services to assist our son, Mike, with preparing for the ACT. Mike already had taken the ACT once. Although he had achieved a solid score, we believed there was a potential for more. It worked! Mike composite score rose a total of three (3) points, an accomplishment that is only achieved by 9 percent of those who retest. Mike's higher score made the entire college application process less stressful, knowing the high probability of positive admissions decisions that this new score enabled.

Tom's work with Mike at the end of his junior year was especially appreciated due to a series of surgeries that Mike had to endure over a six-month period. To say the least, we were preoccupied with Mike's health matters, and it was comforting to know that Tom was available with expert advice for our questions. Mike has decided to attend the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and has received a $2000 “Soaring Eagle” scholarship from the school for his freshman year. To summarize, we would definitely recommend Tom to others without hesitation.

Joe and his father, Steve

(Homestead H.S., Class of 2014)

Matriculating at Montana State University

Tom helped our son, Joseph, focus on studying and preparing for the ACT. The results were a four-point increase from his initial ACT, a jump that is only accomplished by 3 percent of those who retest. This higher score translated into a rapid acceptance and meaningful scholarship offer from Montana State University, Joe’s first-choice school. Tom’s expertise and knowledge were very helpful in assisting our family with our oldest child and first college student. We needed to understand the college admissions process, as well as assist Joe in finding the “best fit” school for him. We plan to engage Tom for our next two children as they prepare for college. Thanks, Tom.

Sami and her parents, Michelle and Dale

(Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S., Class of 2014)

Matriculating at Bethel College (IN)

Tom was a great resource and managed to transmit a sense of calm and focus for our daughter, Sami, during her ACT test preparation. Sami has always struggled with test anxiety, especially as it relates to reading comprehension. With Tom’s assistance and his ability to help Sami relax and focus, she realized where she needed to concentrate and her ACT Reading score went up nine points.

Tom also assisted Sami—a three-sport varsity athlete—and us with the entire college selection process, and provided us with excellent resources to narrow down Sami’s choices and ensure that she was choosing a college for the right reasons—not merely to play a sport. We have been so impressed with Tom that we plan to engage his services when our sophomore son, Nick, tackles the ACT.

Maddy and her parents, Dale and Lori

(Cedarburg H.S., Class of 2014)

Accepted at the University of Findlay, University of Kentucky, Otterbein University, and Trinity College

Matriculating at the University of Kentucky

Tom was instrumental in guiding our oldest child, Madeline, through the college admissions process, beginning to end. From ACT prep through applications and essays, Tom managed to keep us from more than a few meltdowns during this stressful time. He has very good instincts and clearly has had his share of experience with many different types of college-bound kids with varying intentions and goals. He is very good at picking up on strengths and using them to the greatest advantage, while still listening to both parent and teen (which can be a very slippery slope). We highly recommend Tom and will be using his services again in a few years with our next one!

Jenna and her parents, Walt and Joanne

(Sheboygan Falls H.S., Class of 2013)

Accepted at Colorado State University, Marquette University, and UW-Madison

Matriculating at Colorado State University (Honors Program)

Tom is a classic, passionate, and energetic academician. We entrusted him to assist our daughters (a high school senior and a junior) with ACT preparation, college searches, application forms, essay editing, scholarship searches, and the filing of the FAFSA. In all facets, Tom goes above and beyond to ensure each client reaches her/his full potential. Tom communicates clearly and takes the mystery out of the whole process. We feel that hiring Tom was well worth our investment.

Lucas and his parents, Rob and Heidi

(Cedarburg H.S., Class of 2013)

Accepted at Boston College, Drake University, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and UW-Madison

Matriculating at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Honors Program)

Lucas: As a student preparing to take standardized tests like the ACT and SAT, I was bombarded with test preparation opportunities both in and out of school. I strongly recommend that students in a similar situation work with Mr. Tonnesen as they get ready to tackle these important college benchmarks. The personal attention that Mr. Tonnesen afforded me in the comfortable surroundings of my home allowed for efficient and effective test preparation. Mr. Tonnesen truly cares about his student clients and is fully invested in helping them achieve their desired scores. After working with him, I was very satisfied with my score and now feel comfortable and confident as I move forward in the college admissions process.

Heidi and Rob: Tom was a great resource for our son’s test preparation. He is skilled at breaking down standardized tests such as the ACT into manageable sections, and provides strategies, tips, and advice that really produce results. We could not be more pleased.

Meghan and her parents, Christiaan and Tiyana

(Wauwatosa East H.S., Class of 2013)

Accepted at Loyola University of Chicago, St. Norbert College, and UW-Stevens Point

Matriculating at St Norbert College

Tom was an incredible help right from the very start. He began to work with me soon after I took a practice ACT at school and received a score of 22. With a few months of Tom’s help, lots of session times at the public library, and considerable amounts of Tom’s positive input and encouragement, I achieved a score of 25 on the actual ACT. This jump of three points is only reached by approximately 9 percent of those who retake the test. After the test, Tom continued to help us find the “right fit” college for me. He helped our family decipher the FAFSA, understand all of the ways to obtain money for college, and, overall, introduced me to the college that I will attend in fall 2013. Without Tom’s assistance, my ACT scores may not have risen, my family would be a jumbled mess of confusion, and I may not be on my way to St. Norbert. Thank you so much, Tom. You have been a tremendous help not only to me, but to my family, too!

Kane, Kendra, and their parents, Keith and Sherri

(Cedarburg H.S., Class of 2012 and 2013, respectively)

Kane matriculated at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Kendra was accepted at the University of Mississippi (“Ole Miss”) and Iowa State University, and is matriculating at “Ole Miss.”

We are tempted to sing “Tom, Tom, he’s our man! If he can’t do it, nobody can.” Seriously, listen to us. It is impossible to go wrong with Tom Tonnesen. His methods will produce amazing results for your family!

We initially employed Tom to prep our son, Kane, for the SAT. Kane and our family were impressed with every aspect of Tom’s methodology. Tom has the uncanny ability to “read,” or evaluate, his students quickly in order to tailor his test prep strategies to each student’s learning style. (Note: Do not play poker against Tom! He will spot your “tells” after the first hand.) This quality is crucial because Tom ascertains what his students must know for ACT and SAT success. Additionally, Tom’s dedication and passion for his task are always present. Students see it, hear it, feel it, and soon, buy into it. Kane actually told us he had to do well on the SAT not just for himself, but for Tom, too! (P.S. Kane scored magnificently on the SAT.)

We were so pleased with Tom that we hired him to do ACT prep with our daughter, Kendra, the next year. On the basis of her GPA and strong score on the ACT, both Ole Miss and Iowa State offered her academic scholarship money.

You do not have to horse around and gamble with college admissions. The best trainer on this track is right here in our neighborhood, TOM TONNESEN!

Allison and her parents, Dan and Lori

(Cedarburg H.S., Class of 2013)

Accepted at DePaul University, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, University of St. Thomas, and UW-Eau Claire

Matriculating at the University of St. Thomas

Tom was an excellent asset in preparing our daughter for the ACT and guiding her through the college applications. He was able to explain the ideal way to approach this standardized test in order to achieve the best results. Tom helped raise our daughter’s ACT composite score by four points from the first time she took it. His time and effort were well worth the end results.

Nathan and his parents, Cindy and Dan

(Homestead H.S., Class of 2013)

Accepted at Bethel College, Carleton College, Grinnell College, St. Olaf College, and Wheaton College

Matriculating at Bethel College

Tom was instrumental in leading our family through the college admission and selection process. He listened to our needs (parents and student) and presented us with realistic options, including the pros and cons of each potential choice. He has a system for applying that allowed our son to apply to a select number of schools, while maximizing his chances of being accepted into the best possible one(s). We found that one of the greatest benefits was his knowledge of the financial aid system, as well as his considerable editing and proofreading skills relating to the essays. Our son’s essay was one of six quoted on Scholars Day at St. Olaf. The highest praise that we can give Tom is that we would definitely hire him again.

Margie and her parents, Bob and Susan

(Homestead H.S., Class of 2013)

Accepted at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, UW-Madison, and UW-Milwaukee

Matriculating at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

We are so very grateful to Tom for his assistance in helping our daughter achieve her goal of being accepted to her #1 choice of universities, UW-Madison. He possesses expert knowledge and vast experience in the areas of study skills, exam preparation, and the admissions process, to name but a few. Under Tom’s tutelage, our daughter was able to submit very competitive application packages to her choice schools, resulting in acceptances to all. Her ACT test scores improved significantly due to his imparting of test-taking strategies such as where to focus one’s efforts, time management, and narrowing down answer choices. Also, his guidance with the application essays was invaluable. Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention that Tom possesses an inspirational personality that provides for realistic expectations, enthusiasm, confidence, and an overall positive attitude that allows his students to attain their fullest potential.

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