The journey of planning for and taking the ACT & SAT can be overwhelming.
Especially now, when it feels like testing expectations completely change every few months: Tests are optional, then they’re not optional; they’re digital, then they’re not digital, and then they’re digital again.
It can be hard to keep up!
During our combined 27 years of test prep, teaching, and admissions counseling experience, we have seen so many iterations of test prep changes, and every time the same things have remained true:
- Colleges continue to rely on SAT and ACT scores (to greater or lesser degrees) to make more informed admissions decisions by comparing applicants to national standards.
- Scholarships and financial aid and are still often awarded based on SAT or ACT scores, in combination with other factors.
- Standardized tests continue to be inadequate representations of students’ intelligence or potential and instead simply measure their abilities to take highly specific tests.
Higher Scores was created to help families deal with the tension between these three facts, and to support them with the stressful time, energy, and monetary costs of test prep.
If you’re here to find the most direct path to affordable higher education for you or your student, you’re in the right place! And we’re excited to be your guides.
Let's meet the team!
Christina Varner, Head Teacher - Math Specialist
Christina brings 10 years in high school level math education to Higher Scores. She has been tutoring students privately in both subject specific content and test prep for over a decade.
As a former teacher, she strives to engage students from Algebra 1 to Statistics so that they gain greater math understanding through productive struggle--drawing their own connections and making their own discoveries.
With patience, humor, and the ability to quickly assess and accommodate students' needs, she prepares her students for not only their next math class, but for concrete application of important mathematical concepts. After meeting Lauren Gaggioli and comparing notes, Christina knew instantly that Higher Scores was the way to reach more students and to help them earn higher scores.
Christina Varner holds bachelors degrees in both Mathematics and Economics from CSU Bakersfield as well as her California teaching credential. She is trained specifically in educational technology as well as Math Mindset, which helps students develop mathematical confidence in addition to understanding. She has contributed to various district curriculum committees, charged with the development activities and assessments for use in classrooms across the Kern High School District.
In her free time, she enjoys staying active through group classes at the gym, singing at local events, and participating in Swing Dance workshops (sometimes as an instructor and others as an attendee). At home, she and her child Owen enjoy experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen and watching scary movies.
Kat Clowes, CEO/College Admissions Consultant
Kat originally fell in love with the college admissions journey after completing high school a year early and navigating the ins and outs of the process with her dad. They went to every college fair, college night, and presentation they could in an attempt to know as much as they could about the process and how to apply. Being the oldest, she was the proverbial “guinea pig,” forging a path that made it easier for her younger brother in his admissions journey. (She and her dad still marvel at all the things they wish they would have known about admissions before applying).
After completing her Bachelors in Communications at Santa Clara University, she began working in Hollywood (on the business side) before landing a job at a community college as a costume designer. It was there that she remembered her love of the admissions process again as she helped her transfer students navigate their own admissions journey.
Going back to school, Kat completed her Masters in Business Administration with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship from Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles and her post graduate certificate in Educational Consulting from University of California, Irvine. She started her own firm, March Consulting, to help families like her own navigate the admissions process and in the past 10 years, had helped hundreds of families earn thousands in scholarships and advance to the colleges of their dreams.
She met Lauren Gaggioli early in 2014 and instantly knew they shared the same mission: helping students navigate and enjoy the process while earning money with their test scores and school choice to keep costs down. When Lauren approached her about taking on Higher Scores, she knew it was a perfect match.
Kat brings her years of experience with college admissions, planning for the SAT/ACT, and how to keep college costs down now to Higher Scores.
In her spare time, she still loves to sew and watch scary movies. She lives in California with her husband, daughter, cat, and great dane.
Ready To Get Your Higher Score?
Whether you're here after a few not-so-successful testing attempts or years before your student is set to pick up a #2 pencil, we have resources that can help you.
Our team is looking forward to helping you find incredible success on your test scores and beyond.