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Our Story

Every journey begins with a single step. For Academic Approach, that step was taken by Matthew Pietrafetta, a scholar with a vision of transforming traditional test preparation methods.

More than just a company, Academic Approach represents a promise to every student—a promise to mentor, inspire, and empower them, far beyond the realm of standardized tests. This is our story, the story of how we’ve redefined success in education by putting skills, confidence, and holistic student growth at the core of all we do.

The Academic Approach Story

In the heart of New York City, Matthew Pietrafetta was pursuing his academic passions at Columbia University. While working toward his M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees in English Language and Literature, Matthew was not only immersed in the world of academia but was also teaching in Columbia’s Core Curriculum, which exposed him to a broader perspective on education.

It was during this period that Matthew began tutoring high school students for college entrance exams. As he worked closely with these students, he noticed a significant gap between traditional test preparation methods and the actual academic skills needed for college readiness. He saw students memorizing strategies and shortcuts to achieve higher scores but not fundamentally improving their academic skill sets. This realization sparked a transformative idea.

Academic Approach is Born

In 2001, Matthew founded Academic Approach, an education platform with a unique vision to rethink the role of test preparation within education. Rather than focusing on quick tips and strategies, Academic Approach was designed to place the development of vital college readiness skills at its core. The belief was simple: test preparation should be a means to an academic end, not an end in itself.

Matthew set out to define a model of test preparation that went beyond raising scores. His approach centered around building skills, confidence, and resilience in students, preparing them for success in college and beyond. He believed that success on standardized tests was not just about the score but about empowering students with the skills and knowledge they needed to thrive in their academic journeys.

20+ Years and Counting

Today, Academic Approach continues to deliver on its founding mission. We have grown from our beginnings in New York City to serve students in the Chicagoland, Boston, and other areas, reaching thousands of students with our customized, skills-based test preparation and academic tutoring services. Our team of dedicated educators works closely with students, parents, and educators to support student achievement and open doors to higher education.

Our story is one of transformation, not only in the lives of the students we’ve served but also in the landscape of education itself. Through our Elevate Education initiative, we’ve expanded our reach to students who might not otherwise have access to our full-rate services, reinforcing our commitment to making a meaningful educational impact.

As we continue to grow and evolve, we remain steadfast in our mission: to mentor students, fill essential gaps in curriculum, and build skills and confidence that propel students toward success, both on the test and in the classroom.

Every Journey Starts with a Single Step

For Academic Approach, that step was taken by Matthew Pietrafetta, a scholar with a vision of transforming traditional test preparation methods. Today, we invite you to join us on this journey towards academic success and a brighter future.

Let’s redefine what’s possible in education together. Click ‘Start Your Journey Today’ to take the next step with us. Your success story starts here.

SAT/ACT scores now required for Cornell applicants