Nicole Andrea Porcaro
Nicole Andrea Porcaro (Nikkee) has been a fixture on the college admissions scene for over six years. She left a successful career as an elite test preparation instructor at a large test preparation company in order to launch N.A.P. International. For the past few years, she’s also been assisting students, both domestically and internationally, with the college application process, helping to earn her students admission and scholarships to some of the top universities in the country. Check out the results/testimonials below for more on this!
Nikkee believes that personalized help is the best kind of help. While many large companies make grandiose claims (and have grandiose price tags to match), Nikkee gets to know each and every one of her clients, listens to their goals and formulates a plan to help them achieve those goals. Constant communication and a shared vision to help a student get to where he or she wants to be lead to the success No Anxiety Prep has consistently delivered.
Nikkee graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a concentration in Sociology. She completed a citation in the College Park Scholars honors program and competed for the nationally-ranked Maryland Club Gymnastics team throughout college. She is the first in her family to graduate from college, as well as to receive a Master’s degree. After working in the worlds of promotional modeling and journalism for a few years (including stints at NBC and ESPN), Nikkee received her Master’s of Science in Education in Teaching Language and Literacy, Grades 6-12, from Kaplan University, graduating summa cum laude. She is a member of many honor societies, including the Golden Key International Honor Society, and participates in the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Italian Cultural Society as well as numerous social sports leagues. She is also an avid amateur trapeze artist, performing in multiple shows in Washington, D.C. each year, and enjoys traveling the world; so far she’s been to all seven continents and twenty countries!
Nicole operates out of Silver Spring, Maryland, but works with clients all over the D.C. area and with international and distance clients via Skype.
Our Wonderful Prep Tutors
Scott Hussey graduated from Leicester University, U.K., with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Chemistry (with specialism study in Organic Chemistry and Oncology). He followed this with a Post-Graduate qualification in Education in 1992. After teaching chemistry in the UK for ten years, he moved to America in 2001. He has spent the last ten years teaching and tutoring science and chemistry in the D.C. area. Having grown up in America and the UK, Scott is very familiar with both education systems and is experienced with IGCSE, A Level and IB Chemistry, as well as first-year college level. Scott’s main passions include working out at the gym and playing rugby, and he has been a member of a local team for four years.
Angela Stoner graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.S. in mathematics and a B.A. in Italian language. She also holds an M.A. in Italian literature and film from Indiana University and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Angie started tutoring and teaching in 2003, taking an extended break to practice law for six years. She tutors math, language arts, Italian, SSAT and ACT.
Camila recently graduated with an Associate's Degree in Arts. She is taking one last semester at Montgomery College before embarking on her new adventure in Montreal pursuing her Bachelor's, Master's and eventual Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at McGill University. She currently serves as Director of Public Relations for her theatre company, Wildwood Summer Theatre, as well as serving on the Board of Directors.
Nate Ycas has been tutoring ever since he graduated from the University of Maryland in December 2011. He majored in Biology - Ecology and Evolution, and also took extensive courses in Linguistics. When tutoring, Nate has found that students have amazing depth and diversity of thought, and that learning has a unique way of empowering students, even if they're just learning the Pythagorean Theorem! He specializes in SAT/ACT test prep and high school science and math topics. When he's not tutoring, Nate can be found biking around the D.C. metro area, making good use of his library card, and looking for the area's best bakeries.
Marzi Branyan graduated from Sandy Spring Friends School in 2017, and will be attending the University of Washington in the Honors Program this fall with the intended majors of neurobiology and special education. She enjoys everything from trigonometry to physiology to American literature, and took every Advanced Placement history class that her high school offered. In her spare time, Marzi teaches and performs flying trapeze and circus arts. After spending several years teaching and tutoring students in kindergarten through eighth grade, Marzi is excited to continue tutoring with No Anxiety Prep!
Nayeem graduated from the State University of New York at Stony Brook with a B.S. in Biology with honors. He has lived in New York City for the most of his life and has worked with many diverse student backgrounds while tutoring and mentoring students from NYC’s specialized high school. He has a love for science, majoring in biomedical sciences ever since high school. After receiving his B.S., he went on to pursue research in fields of neurological and psychiatric disorders. In his pursuit of medicine, Nayeem received a M.S. in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University and is currently a first-year medical student at Georgetown School of Medicine. His current interest lie in neurosurgery/neurology with the hopes of contributing towards the clinical understanding of the brain. In his spare time, Nayeem enjoys drawing, weightlifting, running, and boxing.
Elisabeth (Liz) Bragale is No Anxiety Prep's Business Development Associate and Administrative Assistant. She is in her third year at McGill University, thanks to No Anxiety Prep, studying English Literature and Sociology. When not studying, Liz holds numerous managing and producing roles for theatre companies on campus and in the D.C. area. Most notably, she is on the Board of Directors for the Wildwood Summer Theatre company and is their current Director of Development.
Joseph Murray, originally from central Pennsylvania, graduated from the University of Alabama in 2011 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics and Mathematics. He is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Maryland, where he focuses on theoretical astroparticles and computer simulations. As part of his employment responsibilities, he instructs classes in undergraduate physics and writes computer simulations for NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center. He tutors students in all levels of physics and math.
"Nicole Mair graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.S. in Physiology and Neurobiology and a minor in Spanish Language and Cultures. She will be attending medical school this fall, where she intends to focus on Primary Care. She is currently on the national board for the nonprofit organization UAID, working to alleviate health inequities. She also works in refugee resettlement in the Silver Spring area with the nonprofit ECDC. In college, she enjoyed working in an urgent care clinic, conducting neuroscience research, student teaching physics courses, playing intramural soccer, and singing in a multicultural a capella group. Nicole has loved tutoring with No Anxiety Prep for the past several years! She tutors math, science, Spanish, SAT, ACT, DAT, and MCAT."
Nikkee is a fabulous teacher. She is passionate, intelligent, and truly cares about each student's score improvement. She not only helped me improve my scores, but also helped me improve my confidence. I walked into the test feeling strong, and positive. My score improved 550 points between my first test and my final score. Overall Nikkee taught me how to confidently conquer the test and to create a positive atmosphere surrounding the SAT.C.M., Alexandria, VA
Nikkee was quite helpful, even though we were "long distance". Nikkee, whom I met in Italy, gave excellent advice to find a college that "fit" my child's academic interests and campus living criteria, and encouraged my daughter to be upbeat and think positively when approaching her common application. She also described how transferring after freshman year could be a strategic way eventually to find the right "fit". She encouraged my daughter to write from the heart and in her own voice.Parent of C., Rome, Italy
No Anxiety Prep’s tutors are highly effective, thoughtful, and flexible mentors. My son responded so strongly to his tutor’s sincerity and positive attitude. I saw marked improvements not only in his test scores, but in his grades in school, and his overall outlook toward the future.H.R., Bethesda, MD
Nikkee played an integral role in my college admissions process. She not only helped keep me on track with all the essays but she also boosted my confidence. Nikkee does her research and always came prepared. I was so fortunate to have her help and expertise.R.A., Rockville, MD
Nikkee was the biggest support I had when applying to college and I owe everything to her. Having grown up with two parents who did not know much about college it was hard for me because I was really on my own. However, Nikkee made a huge difference. Originally only supposed to read over my essays, she took it upon herself to help me research different colleges and help me apply for every single school; I can never thank her enough. She did more than just help me academically. She also was a person that I could call at anytime if I had questions or even just to talk because I was stressed. Thanks to her I got into my first choice school and have never looked back!C.G., Poolesville, MD
Without a doubt, the best tutor I've ever had. Alexan effectively taught me what I needed to know to take the SAT in a clear and concise manner. Thanks to his constant enforcement and encouragement, I scored 400 points higher on my second SAT and as a result I am now going to one of the top 30 colleges in the nation.S.R., Potomac, MD
Nicole M. was the perfect tutor for me because she was laid back but knew how to push me just enough. She is the smartest tutor I’ve ever had, and her positivity and emphasis on being prepared allowed me to go into my ACT without fear and score over a 30.L.J., Fairfax, VA
"((Student)) got a letter in the mail from Yeshiva University congratulating (student) on becoming a Dean's Scholar. Thank you very much to them for the always helpful scholarship and THANK YOU as well!!!!!!"C.B., Silver Spring, MD
- Nikkee Porcaro made studying for the SAT enjoyable – and I’m not kidding. After attempting the test twice, I was very unsatisfied with one area of the test and began looking for ways to improve my score. I met with many tutors before finding Nikkee and was growing increasingly frustrated and impatient about my stagnant, mediocre scores. When someone recommended Nikkee to my mom and I, I was very reluctant to meet with her as other tutors were bland and boring, and I was starting to believe I would have to settle for my original scores. After the first meeting with the bubbly, enthusiastic Nikkee, she had changed my entire attitude about the test and instilled a newfound confidence about defeating the SAT. Rather than dreading tutoring sessions with Nikkee as I would with any other tutor, the hour with her felt like ten minutes and I left feeling much less stressed. Because she was so incredibly helpful with the SAT, I also sought her help with my college essays. While writing is my worst nightmare and it can take me days to write short essays, I was able to compose a complete supplement essays in one sitting. She also sparked unparalleled creativity in me for my Common Application essay of which I was very proud. Without her tremendous help, my college application process would have been a disaster and I would still be unhappy with my SAT scores. Additionally, I still use the tools she taught me for writing now and believe she was the reason why English class in college was a breeze for me when it was always a challenge for me in high school.
- Thanks again so much for all of your assistance leading up to the LSAT and submitting my applications. I was accepted at Catholic and American and both schools offered me approximately $100k in scholarships. Y'all's help was invaluable throughout this process!J.D., Washington, D.C.
While nothing is guaranteed in the often unpredictable world of college admissions, N.A.P. International has helped students gain undergraduate AND graduate admittance and/or scholarships to many of the top schools (and their honors programs) in the country, including but not limited to the following institutions:
- Agnes Scott College
- American University
- Arizona State University
- Bard College
- Barnard College
- Beloit College
- Binghamton University (SUNY)
- Boston College
- Brandeis University
- Bucknell University
- California Lutheran University
- Clemson University
- College of Charleston
- Columbia University
- Cornell University
- DePaul University
- Drexel University
- Duke University
- Earlham College
- Eckerd College
- Elon University
- Fairleigh Dickinson University
- Fordham University
- Franklin College (Switzerland)
- Furman University
- Emory University
- Georgetown University
- George Mason University
- George Washington University
- Guilford College
- Harvard University
- Haverford College
- Hofstra University
- Indiana University
- James Madison University
- Kenyon College
- Lehigh University
- Loyola University (MD)
- Miami University of Ohio
- Michigan State University
- The New School (NYC)
- New York University
- Occidental College (Part of the Claremont McKenna consortium)
- Pennsylvania State University
- Pitzer College (Part of the Claremont McKenna consortium)
- Princeton University
- Purdue University
- Queens College
- Richmond, The American International University in London
- Rutgers University
- Salem College
- Santa Clara University
- Simmons College
- Stern College
- Stetson University
- St. Mary’s University
- Stony Brook University (SUNY)
- Syracuse University
- Towson University
- Tufts University
- Tulane University
- University of Arizona
- University of California, Los Angeles
- University of California, San Diego
- University of Chicago
- University of Colorado
- University of Georgia
- University of Illinois
- University of Maryland, Baltimore County
- University of Maryland, College Park
- University of Miami
- University of Michigan
- University of North Carolina-Asheville
- University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of the Pacific
- University of Pittsburgh
- University of Redlands
- University of Southern California
- University of South Carolina
- University of Tampa
- University of Vermont
- University of Virginia
- University of Wisconsin
- Virginia Tech
- Wake Forest University
- Washington College
- Washington University (St. Louis)
- Wesleyan University
- Westminster College
- West Virginia University
- Xavier University
- Yale University
- Yeshiva University (New York and Israel campuses)
*Due to confidentiality concerns, we tend not to disclose specific scores or scholarship offers our students receive on our website. However, please check our FAQs section below for more information on score increases.*
- N.A.P. International has the unique dual experience of both the journalism and college admissions worlds.
- This allows us to combine strong communication and research skills with the knowledge and experience of the educational arena.
- Most importantly, your child is the number one focus during all sessions, and since N.A.P. International is working with a fraction of the students a guidance counselor at a large high school would (in fact, we limit the number of students we work with), personalization and specialization become key aspects of your family’s application process.
- Students should think about college starting at the beginning of high school, using this to inform decisions on what classes to take, extra-curriculars to participate in and service activities to become involved in. We can schedule a planning session for incoming freshman so your family can maximize your student’s time- before you know it, junior year will be upon you and it could be too late.
- College counseling is excellent to start when the student enters high school, so the counselor and parents can map out a plan and a timeline for the student to follow to best position themselves for college admissions.
- SAT II Subject Tests and AP tests are generally taken starting sophomore year and can go through senior year, depending on when the student takes particular classes.
- Test preparation generally begins the summer before or fall of junior year. (Many of our tutors tend to book up 6-8 months in advance for test prep.)
- By the middle of junior year, students should have taken at least one standardized test (SAT or ACT); by the middle of senior year, they should have taken their chosen test at least two but no more than three times.
- The actual college application process should begin the summer before the student’s senior year; this allows time to compile a list of colleges to apply to as well as their respective admissions requirements, and begin those essays.
- N.A.P. International generally works with high school students at various points in their high school careers for all types of advising, and usually begins work with prospective college students anywhere from July to December of their senior years.
- Remember, though: the earlier, the better! Removing the pressure of time from the process also removes much of the stress.
- Remember, most every other student competing with you for college admission is in the same boat: good grades, participation in outside activities, service work. Your student needs to stand out!
- It may mean that certain social or extracurricular activities take a backseat for a few weeks or months, but that time period will be just a tiny blip when you look back on it… as your settling into the dorm at a great college!
- N.A.P. International specializes in the essay and research portions of the college admissions process; our work will save you time!
- A good score is hard to quantify. For some students, attaining a score above the national average is a major achievement. For others, nothing under a 2000 will do.
- There is no right or wrong answer; a good score is one that gets your student where he/she wants to be. A benchmark we use is this: A “good” score is one that puts your child in the 75th percentile or above of the accepted pool of students for the school(s) you’re looking at, statistics that can be found on many websites and that we can help you ascertain.
- That doesn’t mean a guaranteed admission by any means; students in a lower percentile may be admitted while those in a higher may be denied (as mentioned above, there are numerous factors that go into admission, which we are more than happy to discuss with you.)
- Score increases are based on many things: the student’s starting score, the work ethic/homework completion, practice tests taken, how long before the actual test that prep started, and how many sessions of prep there were. However, 90% of our students go up over 150 points on the SAT and 3-4 points on the ACT, with multiple students achieving increases of 400-600 points on the SAT and 7-11 points on the ACT. The sky is truly the limit if the student is willing to work.
- Overall, a good score is one that shows your student’s improvement and makes him or her feel good about himself.
- Numerous factors go into the admissions process, such as GPA, strength of class schedule, extra-curriculars, essays, legacy, race, geography, individual college preferences…the list is endless.
- Therefore, no matter someone’s scores or credentials, no guarantees can be made. Students with perfect scores have been turned down from Ivies; students with less than stellar grades have been accepted to their choice colleges.
- N.A.P. International works closely with a current college admission officer at a local college for consulting and uses the most current information on college admissions and essay writing, as well as years of experience helping other students attain admission to their choice schools.
- Scores are a big part, but not the only part, of the admissions process.
- While it is tempting to compare your student with other students, such comparisons are not valid because of the aforementioned unpredictable nature of the college admissions process.
- Score ranges provided by colleges and college selection books are helpful, but just because a student is in the range of scores or GPA does not mean they are guaranteed acceptance.
- N.A.P. International strives to give students a competitive edge with essays and applications that stand out to admissions officials.
- As a small company, we aren’t simply signing students up and moving them through our programs like an assembly line. We work with a small number of students to ensure they are getting the most personalized attention.
- Additionally, N.A.P. International’s staff has been in the college preparation business full-time for the past six years and draws on that foundational experience, combined with continuous professional development in college admissions news, to ensure each student is listened to and assisted with their final goals in mind.
- In the last year alone, N.A.P. International has helped students procure acceptance letters and/or scholarships from Princeton, Harvard, Emory, University of Pennsylvania, NYU, Tufts, Boston University, Xavier, Penn State, University of Maryland, Georgetown, Washington University of St. Louis, Bucknell, and The New School (Manhattan), just to name a few. See our Results page for more.
- You can expect a college counselor with a strong background in journalism and a Masters in education.
- You can expect timely communication and frequent availability to answer your questions, and someone who genuinely cares about your student’s success.
- From you, N.A.P. International expects constant parental involvement when necessary, consistent communication as to your family’s goals and expectations and a quiet place to work.
- Most importantly, expect N.A.P. International to make the college admissions process much less stressful!