Services (long description)

We offer two programs:

  1. PREPWELL ACADEMY ONLINE: 100% online training starting in 9th and 10th grade
  2. PREPWELL MENTOR:  Supplemental 1-on-1 mentoring starting in 11th grade


Our flagship program, PrepWell Academy Online, was developed to help every high school student (and family) prepare for the college admissions process. Unlike other programs, our curriculum starts in 9th or 10th grade. This is unusual and one of our key differentiators. Our weekly video lessons teach your child what they need to know – when they need to know it – when it matters most. [Note: 11th and 12th grade content is only available to PrepWellers enrolled since 9th or 10th grade].

Our videos cover every aspect of the college admissions process from class selection >> to standardized test strategies >> to deciding on a best-fit college. For students with average ambition, we offer a foundational program called Pathway that covers all the basics. For more ambition students, we offer three custom plans (e.g. Ivy, Military, and Athlete) to meet the higher expectations of these challenging goals. For every plan, parents receive weekly summaries of the lessons to keep them informed about what’s happening every step of the way. Membership is $12.95 - $14.95 per month (cancel any time). 

Which PrepWell Academy program is best for my child?

Four distinct options allow students to match their specific ambition with a corresponding plan (e.g. Pathway, Ivy, Military, Athlete). Pathway is our foundational plan geared for students with average ambition. The three other custom plans deliver advanced content for students with high aspirations. Here’s a look at each of the options:

Pathway – for average high school students who want to attend college, but not necessarily a highly-selective college. They aren’t overly ambitious and don’t necessarily want to compete with their highly-engaged peers. They don’t want to work too hard, but also don’t want to be left behind. They understand that even selective and highly-selective schools expect a lot from applicants these days. Our weekly lessons provide important insights into why this process is important, what steps they should take along the way, and what milestones to put on their calendars. This is our most popular and affordable membership at $12.95/month (cancel at any time).

Ivy – for motivated high school students who aspire to go to Ivy League or equivalent colleges (e.g. MIT, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Tufts, Duke, etc.). These students care deeply about their future and are willing to take action when it matters most (9th and 10th grade). They are self-starters, mature, and conscientious. They will treat PrepWell Academy as if it was another high school class. The lessons include specialized admissions strategies, tactics, and unconventional methods that will differentiate them from the crowd. This highly-customized membership costs $14.95/month (cancel at any time).

Military  – specifically for high school students who aspire to attend a military service academy (e.g. Naval Academy, West Point, Air Force Academy, etc.) or to win an ROTC scholarship to a traditional college. For these students to be competitive in this process, starting early is critical. These lessons teach students how to build a compelling profile that will catch the eye of military admissions officers. This highly-specialized program costs $14.95/month (cancel at any time).

Athlete – specifically for high school student-athletes who aspire to play sports in college. These students may dream of a full (or partial) athletic scholarship or they may wish to use their athletic skill as leverage to help them get into a college they otherwise wouldn’t get into. I dive into the details of the recruiting process, how and when to contact coaches, highlight films, campus visits, and much more. This highly-tailored program also costs $14.95/month (cancel at any time).

Why does PrepWell Academy start in 9th and 10th grade?

Every high school student who aspires to attend college will benefit from PrepWell Academy. It is a one-of-a-kind program that focuses on early preparation of students. This is an unusual strategy today. Most high school counselors begin discussing college admissions with students in 11th and 12th grade. In my opinion, this is too late. If I am right, why don’t schools start earlier? Unfortunately, most schools don’t have the personnel, money, or resources to address college admissions topics when they matter most (9th and 10th grade).  With these institutional constraints, schools are forced to tell parents and students that it’s okay to wait until 11th or 12th grade. Most private college counselors also begin engaging with students in 11th or 12th grade. This isn’t because it’s the right time to start – it’s because this is when most parents hit the panic button and begin frantically searching for help. I don’t like what this does to the process. There is a better way.

What if my 9th or 10th grader doesn’t seem interested in thinking about college yet?

Join the club. In my experience, average 9th and 10th graders (especially boys) are not thinking about college. It hasn’t become a “thing” yet. It will. In the meantime, I suggest you do your best to educate your child on the advantages of early engagement. Use my videos or social media to help out. Remind them that doing what the average kid does, helps them become an average kid. I can’t promise that my weekly videos will be as compelling as a round of Fortnite with their buddies, but we must try to connect. I have found girls to be more mature, open-minded, and willing to learn during this phase of high school. For this reason, girls have had great success with PrepWell Academy and college admissions. We never know when the proverbial “light bulb” will go off in our child’s head. The Pathway program puts a system in place that will meet your child wherever they are – even if it takes time for them to fully engage. Many parents report that they get tremendous value from the weekly lessons – even if their child doesn’t stay 100% up-to-date. They appreciate knowing what should be happening and when.

Who is Phil Black and why would I want him as my mentor?


Most students use PrepWell Academy Online as their primary source of college admissions information from 9th - 12th grade.

By junior year, however, some highly-motivated students and their parents will decide to hire a private college admissions counselor to augment the lessons learned in their online videos. I fully support this strategy for students whose ambitions require a higher level of personal attention and expertise. I would do the same for my children.

I do offer this service to a select group of high school juniors every year. The program is called PrepWell Mentor.

Mission Statement

PrepWell Mentor is for families who believe there is more to the college admissions process than where their child goes to college. The program provides a unique opportunity for their child to learn valuable life skills from someone who has "cracked the code" of the world’s most competitive programs. During our 18-month engagement, I teach their child the skills, strategies, and mindset to help them succeed no matter what path they choose to take. I promise that our relationship will have a positive impact on their life for decades to come.

Meet your Mentor, Phil Black

What is the PrepWell Mentor program?

At its core, I help highly-motivated students (and families) manage the college admissions process during crunch time. Students have been enrolled in one of PrepWell Academy’s custom programs (Ivy, Military, Athlete) since 9th or 10th grade.  As they enter 11th grade, they could use more help. I step in to provide additional support, oversight, and inspiration. Together, we build a target list of colleges, create a custom standardized test-taking strategy, assess strength and alignment of extracurricular activities, evaluate college affordability, discuss career aspirations, consider application strategies (early or regular), prepare for college interviews, brainstorm essay ideas, review college essays, complete applications, and more. However, the value of the mentorship extends beyond these tasks.

How will your mentorship help my child in the long run?

I connect the tasks required to complete college applications (above) with the universal skills that will serve your child long into the future. These skills include: how to manage long-term projects, how to handle deadlines, how to prepare for standardized tests, how to build self-awareness, how to research, how to interview well, how to write clearly and succinctly, how to think about job/career aspirations, how to brand yourself, how to communicate with adults, how to pay attention to detail, how to think unconventionally, and how to compete in the real world.

When does the mentorship program start?

Typically, 11th grade. The ideal student has been enrolled in the PrepWell Academy online program since freshman year.

How are you different from other college counselors?

(1) High-level of commitment to small group of students (max of 10 per year), (2) track record of success and experience in multiple world-class arenas (e.g. Yale University, Harvard Business School, Navy SEAL, Goldman Sachs, Shark Tank, entrepreneurship, firefighting), (3) I am the mentor (some companies assign students to less-experienced advisors) (4) I specialize in students aspiring to Ivy League, Service Academies, ROTC scholarships, college athletics, (5) availability of online pre-training in 9th and 10th grade, (6) personal experience with four children, (7) passion for teaching.

What kind of student are you looking for?

I work best with motivated students who care about this process. The best students are responsive, engaged, curious and open to challenge. I have high standards and expect students to engage every step of the way. Students who need to be pushed by their parents are not great candidates for this program. 

What kind of parent are you looking for?

If you’ve read this far, chances are you are a good fit for this program. The Mentor program attracts parents who are serious about helping their child succeed – without doing the work for them. They like the idea of having an outside expert help their child during these challenging times. They believe that my work with their child may actually be more valuable than the college their child ultimately gets into. They understand that mentorship is more than providing checklists or to-do lists. It’s about connecting with their child on multiple levels (e.g. career interests, life choices, personal challenges, self-doubt, and finding their identity). These are the discussions that have lasting impact for years to come. 

How many students do you mentor per year?

To maintain the highest level of service, I mentor no more than 10 students per year.

How much does the mentor program cost?

$5,000 per student (flat fee)

What does the fee cover?

The fee covers every aspect of the college admissions process from junior year through senior year. Basically, your child becomes part of my extended family. I am available 24/7/365 by phone, email, or text. Services not included are 1-on-1 tutoring for specific standardized tests (e.g. ACT, SAT, AP exams, etc.) and in-depth college financial planning advice.

How did you come up with your fee?

Over the last five years of mentoring, the average number of hours required per student has been about 30 hours. $5,000/30 hours is about $166/hour, which is a fair fee for this type of professional service. Depending on the student, I regularly spend above the 30-hour average – particularly with students focused on my specialties, which include service academies, ROTC scholarships, Ivy League schools, athletic scholarships, honors programs, interview prep, etc. These cases require additional work on interview skills, preparation for fitness tests, medical exams, congressional nominations, college recruiting advice, etc. Depending on the extent of these services, the fee may be more than $5,000. I enjoy the complicated cases because it means the student is super-engaged and ambitious. The more complicated the case, the more I enjoy it.

Why don’t you charge more money?

Given my experience and background, many of my peers have told me that I should charge 3-5X my current rate. The truth is, I don’t need or want the money. I know it’s strange for someone to put that in writing, but it’s the truth. I have a firm grasp on what “enough” is for our family. I also don’t want to attract only students from the highest end of the wealth curve. After spending over $80K on my own sons’ sports activities, I find the $5K fee to be reasonable for the level of service and impact that this service has on students. My life is about doing meaningful work and building meaningful relationships. The PrepWell Mentor program hits both of these goals out of the park.

Why don’t you take on more students?

More than 10 students would dilute the high level of service and attention required to do this job at a world-class level. I need to make sure that I give your child 100% of my fullest and best attention. My students become my extended family. Yes, I could stretch my caseload to 15, 20, or 30 students like most other advisors, but that would force me to hire other advisors with different skill sets and passion for the business. My business consists of one person – me. I don’t have assistants or contract outside help. I believe in relationships – not transactions. My goal is to impact students and families for a lifetime.

Inquire about the PrepWell Mentor program.



50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.