The Valley Academic Mentors


In today’s achievement test oriented educational system, when most students, even high achievers, reach college they do not have the skills they need to be independent academic thinkers; nor will they necessarily acquire those skills during college. However, those skills’ importance carries far beyond college. They directly promote the academic confidence that leads to intellectual awareness, life long learning and enhanced success in business, family and community activities.

For far too many students, a college degree is primarily viewed as a pathway to a good job. Learning becomes equated with memorizing what they think a professor will ask on a test. Little that is memorized is retained. And for this "education," in which students do not achieve their full academic potentials, families spend thousands and thousands of dollars. It just doesn't make academic or financial sense.


For those reasons we offer college preparatory classes for high school Juniors and Seniors as well as courses for college Freshmen and Sophomores.


Our students learn the skills they need to become independent thinkers and to reach their full potential both in high school and in college: critical thinking; critical reading; academic arguing; the scientific method; library use/ research paper writing; and time management.




  • Classes: Are held once a week for about 2 1/2 hours over eight weeks; use college level material; and are run like college seminars. If requested classes can be accelerated, or arrangements can be made for refresher courses on, for example, a biweekly basis.


    • Seminar style classes encourage student participation, thus giving students opportunities to practice the skills they are being taught.

    • For high school students using college level material provides an insight into what to expect at the next level, while for college students it allows for real time practice of the skills they’re being taught.

  • Instructors are Anthropology professors Doug Raybeck and Ken Jacobson.

  • Students are not graded, but a written evaluation will be given to each student upon completion; and for high school students, college recommendations will be written upon request.

  • Students pay $350 for the course.

  • To register or for more information Call Ken Jacobson: 413-461-1023 Or E-Mail


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