About Me

Stand By for A Lot of Spinning Plates

"So what exactly do you do?"

I get this question often, and it's a fair one. It can get a little schizophrenic in my office on any given day.

The short answer is, "I read, write, and teach. Like, a lot."

While I've never been great with the elevator pitch for my work, I've always been good at asking great questions, and that's what the real work of my life has become: it's all one giant exercise in asking compelling questions about the world around me and my relationship to it -- and helping others do the same.

Sometimes we find answers to those questions, sometimes simply better questions for more investigation.

My lifelong practice of asking questions currently takes place in several professional arenas. You can read about each below, but I'm proud that for all this juggling Fast Company highlighted me a few years ago as a thriving member of "Generation Flux" -- a group of younger professionals who have successfully rolled with the punches of the modern economy.

I graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2001 with a Special Major in Cultural Economics. This means I hybridized a double major in Economics and Art History with minors in Studio Art and Math. Originally from the Main Line of Philadelphia, I graduated from high school in Wellington, Florida, and have since lived all over south Florida, as well as in New York City, Portland, OR, and Providence, RI. I published my first book, Outsmarting the SAT, in 2008, and followed that title with Acing the ACT in 2015--both with Ten Speed Press, a Random House imprint. As an established expert in test preparation, I have been a guest of or quoted in national media including the NY Times, Oprah Sirius Radio, and Fast Company. As a writer I have co-authored three books: one with McGraw-Hill and two that are still in development. Because of my life long love of the arts and creativity, I am the founder of a non-profit action tank called Agency for Emerging Voices, Inc., which researches those indicators of school and social success that have nothing to do with school, and I proudly sit on the board of the North Shore Music Festival based in New York.

SPECIFICS: my tutoring career

First and foremost, I'm the president and founder of a boutique international online tutoring company that prepares students globally for the SAT, ACT, AP, and SAT subject test exams. The tutoring company is a natural outgrowth of my books Outsmarting the SAT '08 and Acing the ACT '15 (both Random House/Ten Speed) in which I shared my personal tactics for earning top tier scores on those tests. 

I began prepping students professionally for the SAT and ACT around fourteen years ago. I'm one of those people who's just naturally good at standardized tests, and it didn't take me long to realize that I wanted to show students how to see tests the way that I saw them. After a few years of parsing out topics and skills--along with the help of some brilliant students who helped me refine my own thinking--I got good at tutoring. Really good. Eventually that led to working with some of the finest tutoring companies in New York City and some incredible coaches from whom I learned so much. That led to flying all over North America to tutor and working with people whose names you'd recognize but that I'm not at liberty share--celebs, politicians, and athletes. 

Since the early aughts I've been honored to serve as the secret weapon of some of the most competitive students in the world. American students from all sorts of backgrounds and international students who want to optimize their chances to achieve entrance to a U.S. university come to us for that extra edge. We serve students from Miami to Kuwait, from New York to Stockholm, from Los Angeles to Argentina. My hand-picked team and I provide completely customized online educational experiences that not only generate outstanding test scores but, equally importantly, the discipline, focus, critical thinking, mental toughness, and creative problem solving skills that students can use once they arrive at their dream colleges--which should be the whole point, anyway.

Plus, I try to ensure that we're the least uptight team of tutors you've ever met. This is a jacket and tie free zone. 

I've been flatly informed that it's "a bold statement" when I tell prospective clients that I don't know anyone who gets consistently better results or is as laid-back and down to earth as we strive to be. I'm comfortable with that--because I don't.

Elizabeth King Coaching Inc.

Visit all three departments of my tutoring company.

i've always been a Writer

Second, I've been a writer since I could hold a pencil.

Well, a crayon.

I've written two books with Random House/Ten Speed, Outsmarting the SAT ('08) and Acing the ACT ('15). I also co-authored Lou Imbriano's (former CMO of the New England Patriots) book, Winning the Customer (McGraw-Hill '11), and I'm currently ghost writing a fictionalized memoir project and co-authoring another memoir.

Practicing the art of asking the right questions at the right moment in the interest of getting to the kernel of things has served me well as a co-author. If you're looking for a co-author, head over to the Writing page for more information or hop down to the contact section and shoot me an email. 

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Back when I was between books and before my schedule became so tight, the bulk of my writing actually happened on my blog, Stay Out Of School, which we brought home to elizabethonline.com. Most of the material there is a few years old, but it was a real labor of love. On SooS I explore ideas and issues that really matter to me, so there's not much about test prep--which was always the point. On Stay Out of School I explore creativity, discipline, culture, writing, and I sometimes interview other creative professionals about that much-fabled reality Being A Professional Artist.

It's an interesting place with a lot of lively conversation-- when I do, in fact, post.

I'm a Speaker, too.

Since I've been working directly with teenagers since my very early twenties, (and since my early twenties were, sadly, not just last year) their interests, perspectives, and ideas have stayed close to my heart. I figure if I can get them to focus and actively engage on topics as dry as standardized testing, we can connect that much better over topics that matter to them.

I'm all about sharing insights that empower older students to take hold of their wildly changing brains and set patterns of awesomeness as early as possible. There are so many speakers who spout hopeful words about the future-and that's great. But it's not my thing. 

When I'm teaching groups of teenagers, we talk about how to understand oneself, to think about real, relevant goals, and to develop fresh perspectives on the world around us.

Topics include:

  • what happens to the brain during adolescence and why it matters
  • finding a voice in a loud culture
  • relating to other teenagers and adults in ways that make sense and actually get results

As an extension of my research at Stay Out Of School and my decade+ of teaching, I speak to adult audiences about topics related to education, culture, competition in the new global market, and cultivating quality of life. Specifically, I talk about:

  • practical creativity: what it is and what it isn't
  • culture and its impact on education
  • arts education and the social contract
  • liberal arts and adaptability
  • how to teach -- when you're not a teacher

We always end with actionable advice that can be implemented this week.

personal tidbits

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Everybody loves a little dish, so here are some extras about me:

  1. I'm a pretty serious yogi.
  2. If I'm not at my desk I'm in the kitchen. Since I'm not currently sculpting, painting, or throwing pots, food is my creative outlet. 
  3. I rescue dogs like some people collect loose change. Currently I have six: Chowder, Stevie, Luna, Marcy, Sally, and Puddin' (aka "The Pud"). 
  4. I used to be a professional actress and singer, and I was granted two fellowships from Mount Holyoke College--a Class of 1905 Alumnae Fellowship and a Mount Bardwell Fellowship--to pursue further vocal study in New York after graduation.

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