Cat Powell

New York, NY


  • Harvard University
  • University of Cape Town (M.A.)
  • Columbia University (MFA)

One of the great surprises of Cat’s life is how much she loves teaching. As an undergraduate music and English major, family and friends always asked, “So, you’re planning to teach?” This assumption irked her, until she fell into teaching as a way to make ends meet after an impulsive move to Cape Town, South Africa. There, she discovered the unique joy of seeing someone experience a breakthrough on a challenging topic while teaching Yeats to a class of bored high school seniors.

Since then, Cat has taught high school English, undergraduate creative and expository writing, and SAT and GRE prep in Cape Town, Boston, and New York City. She’s also worked, in no particular order, in food service, legal consulting, financial services, and copywriting and copyediting, so she feels confident in her assertion that teaching is, by far, the most engaging and rewarding work she’s found.

Cat believes that, with time and effort, any student can improve their GRE score. While knowledge of the underlying content is important, a crucial skill is being able to get inside the “mind” of the test to beat the test-makers at their own game. She particularly enjoys helping students overcome their anxiety regarding standardized testing in order to achieve their educational and professional goals.

Aside from teaching, Cat is involved in curriculum development at Manhattan Prep; her most recent project is developing and filming content for GRE Interact, an asynchronous online GRE course. She is also an Instructor Manager, overseeing more than thirty instructors around the country and assisting with professional development and training.

Cat recently completed an MFA in fiction writing at Columbia University, where she also taught an undergraduate fiction workshop. She is currently working on her first novel (you’re welcome to ask what it’s about, but you’re not guaranteed an intelligible answer). Outside of writing and teaching, Cat enjoys playing the violin and being really bad at new sports, most recently surfing and kiteboarding.

What students are saying

“Cat has been responsive, patient, incredibly articulate in her explanations, encouraging, and helped keep me accountable. Can’t say enough great things.”

What students are saying

“Cat is an incredible teacher and person. Her teaching was clear, concise, and she always took time outside of class to answer my questions via email and even created custom videos to talk through the problems.”

What students are saying

“Cat was extremely helpful and thorough, and she was also extremely responsive outside of class. She truly wants us to improve our scores and do as well as we can.”