We get 8th graders accepted to private high schools

Test prep courses are not enough and often end with students getting rejected. We support families in navigating the process with a comprehensive program that addresses the whole child rather than just the test.

How Our Program Generates Thousands of Acceptances

Our program addresses all the criteria admissions directors review for acceptance. By comprehensively improving each area, we get much better results than programs just focusing on test prep.

Test preparation

Essay writing

Extracurricular activities

Letters of recommendation


  • 39 Hours of Live Class Instruction — More Than Any Other Course

  • 3 Full Length Practice Tests

  • Essay Instruction — We Teach How to Approach The Essays, Then Essays Are Reveiwed for Content and Grammatical Correctness

  • Proprietary Curriculum Developed From Over 30 years of Learnings

  • Interview Guidance on Best Practices and Pitfalls to Avoid

  • Extracurricular Consultation — Choose ECs for 8th Grade & Which Ones to Exclude

  • Students Grouped by Ability Level So They Learning at a Pace That Encourages Motivation & Confidence

  • In-Class Time to Complete Homework Teacher So Kids Aren’t Burdened Homework

  • Waitlist Plan of Attack

  • Make-Ups Are Easy — Classes Are Recorded for Make-Ups & to Review of Key Concepts From Class

Gallagher Prep Program Advantage

30+ Years of Experience in High School Admissions & Test Prep

Thousands of Students Accepted to Private High Schools

Largest High School Admissions Program — Not Just Test Prep

Lowest Average Class Size of 5 for Lots of Individual Attention

Students Grouped by Ability Level Increasing Motivation & Confidence

Highest Achievement on the HSPT / SSAT / ISEE / SHSAT with Many Students Scoring in the 99th Percentile Nationally

Easy Process:

STEP 1: Schedule

The cost is $50 and includes a Diagnostic Exam and a half-hour Admissions Consultation with our Program Director that will cover:

  • Review diagnostic exam results
  • Gather useful family and child admissions application profile
  • Review schools
  • Extracurriculars (ECs) Consultation
  • Letters of recommendation ideas

*Please be sure to pick a date that will give your son/daughter time to complete our practice test before your scheduled consultation*

Step 2: Diagnostic Exam

After you schedule a date for your consultation, you’ll receive an emailed link to the diagnostic exam for your son/daughter to take. It will take approximately 1 hour to complete.

Step 3: Admissions Consultation

During the Admissions Consultation, we will review all the above and determine if there are any deficiencies to shore up before taking the fall program. If we decide your child is a good fit for the Fall Program, we’ll review scheduling options with you (until classes are filled, we have schedules for every day of the week) and you’ll be invited to enroll.

What Parents Have To Say


Top 10 Admissions
Mistakes Parents Make

There is a lot of mystery around how high school admissions directors work. Misunderstandings lead to a lot of heartache when rejection letters go out and otherwise qualified students are dinged and rejected due to avoidable mistakes. Over the years, we’ve seen a clear pattern of fallacies that lead parents to these frustrating results:

“My daughter has good grades, so she just needs a good test score to get in.”

There are 6 areas in the admissions process and weighting of importance in getting accepted or rejected by admissions directors:

  • 25% HSPT / SSAT / ISEE / SHSAT Score
  • 20% Grades
  • 15% Extracurriculars
  • 20% Essays
  • 10% Letters of Recommendation
  • 10% Interviews

A great test score and good grades are not enough. We hear from parents every year who want help applying as sophomore transfers who were rejected because they failed to craft their application considering the importance of the other areas of impact in the admissions process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do the first step of our process right now!
Set up a $50 paid appointment and diagnostic.

Our history

Our founder, Deirdre Gallagher, grew up in Castleisland, Ireland, in a very Catholic household. After embarking on her university studies in Madrid, one day at the Irish embassy, “By fate, I happened to be sitting right next to Bing Crosby.” Bing had three children who needed a teacher since they traveled with him for work. She had all the qualifications he wanted and questioned if she wanted to come to America and teach his kids.

She taught the Crosby children in their Bay Area, California home until she met her future husband and fellow Irishman. They were later married a year later and began a family in the Bay Area where she got all 5 of her children admitted to competitive private high schools.

She began teaching test prep to their friends and quickly got a reputation for being very good at teaching and preparing 8th graders for high school entrance exams and helping with their essays and getting kids accepted into the best private high schools.

In 1990, she formally launched Gallagher Prep. Her business and comprehensive method quickly took off in the Bay Area.

Over the last 30 years, she honed her proprietary curriculum and comprehensive system which over three decades has helped thousands of students achieve top scores and get admitted into the most prestigious and competitive private schools. Today as President Emeritus, she continues to be the inspiration behind the vision, quality and success of the program which has continued to grow online throughout the United States.