Laurel Hanson

New York, NY


  • UC Berkeley
  • Harvard (M.Ed.)

After the crushing realization that traveling and writing fantasy novels was not a viable career option, Laurel discovered a love for teaching and went into test prep. She’s taught the SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT, and she holds 99th-percentile scores on each of those tests. In 2017, she became Manhattan Prep’s Manager of Instructor Talent, meaning she runs the interview process for instructor applicants.

Laurel’s first foray into formal education was teaching English in Romania when she was just 19. Since then, she’s worked in a range of settings on a variety of topics, including teaching English in Georgia (the country), working at an SAT camp (where she raised scores an average of 36 percentile points), and running teacher training. Regardless of the subject matter, Laurel loves breaking down tricky concepts into accessible pieces. She believes the best way to get a killer score is to truly understand the material—and that this is a lot simpler and more enjoyable than many students anticipate. Expect her to start lessons with a discussion of why parallelism exists (spoiler: it’s basically a pronoun) or what exactly it means for a number to be the average of a set.

Aside from her educational expertise, Laurel has a background in creative arts counseling with kids and adults. She has a deep interest in psychology and is particularly fascinated by the science around peak performance in high-stress settings. Also, she loves cooking, animal puns (“toucan do it”), board games, mythology, and going to fancy restaurants just for dessert.

What students are saying

“Laurel is hands-down one of my favorite instructors ever. She is upbeat, encouraging, and great at rephrasing when someone doesn’t understand something.”

What students are saying

“Laurel explained concepts thoroughly and clearly. I never left class without fully understanding the material. She really broke down each topic and taught it well.”

What students are saying

“Laurel has an amazing gift for teaching. She is thoughtful and very clear in her descriptions, and I feel that she is the major reason I have seen such an improvement.”