Carmel Valley tutoring service lends hand with Torrey Pines High School scholarship benefit


A local company and nonprofit are partnering in an effort to increase student test scores, while raising money for college scholarships.

Carmel Valley-based Tutor Doctor and the Torrey Pines High School Scholarship Fund have teamed to offer practice ACT and SAT tests Feb. 21 at Torrey Pines High School, with all proceeds benefiting the scholarship fund.

“Our group’s mission is to provide scholarships for seniors,” said Karin Lang, co-president of the TPHS Scholarship Fund. “So whatever fundraisers we can hold that can help our students are a win-win.”

For $25, students can take either a full-length ACT or SAT practice test. The fee includes a score analysis report. Students may also request a free in-home consultation to discuss the score report, analysis and recommendations.

“We wanted to offer our services any way we could,” said Tiffany Lien, who co-owns Tutor Doctor with her husband, Chris Lien. The couple have three children, with their oldest at Carmel Valley Middle School. “We really want to support this cause, and this is one way we can do it.”

Since 1987, the TPHS Scholarship Fund has provided Torrey Pines seniors with scholarships ranging from $500 to $2,000.

“There’s a lot of pressure on these kids going through the college application process,” said Mary Stromitis, co-president of the TPHS Scholarship Fund. “College is so expensive now. Every dollar counts in today’s economy and with today’s high tuition costs.

“I think every which way we can, we should help out our young people. They will be our future.”

In its first year, the TPHS Scholarship Fund raised a total of $5,100 and awarded nine scholarships. Today, the volunteer, community-based scholarship organization raises an average of $30,000 per year, Stromitis said.

Formerly known as Dollars for Scholars, the organization became independent in 2013. This year, the nonprofit reached its $1 million mark — having raised $1 million in scholarships since it was founded more than 28 years ago, Stromitis said.

This is the organization’s first time partnering with Tutor Doctor of San Diego, which opened more than three years ago.

Based in Carmel Valley, Tutor Doctor offers tutoring services for all subjects and all grade levels, from elementary through college. The company also helps prepare local students for ACT and SAT tests.

“We’re trying to spread the news that our programs work and we’re very committed to the students at Torrey Pines, as well as throughout San Diego County and around the world,” said Chris Lien, who noted the San Diego branch is part of an international organization, with more than 400 offices in 15 different countries. “It’s been a real joy to work with students here and throughout the district.”

The practice test is open to all students in the San Dieguito Union High School District. Interested students must register by Feb. 18.

“We’re constantly looking for opportunities to raise more funds,” Stromitis said. “Hopefully, it will be very successful and we’ll do it again.”

The Tutor Doctor-administered ACT and SAT practice tests will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21. The practice test costs $25, with all proceeds benefiting the TPHS Scholarship Fund.

To register for the practice test, visit