Arun Alagappan

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Arun Alagappan
Residence Manhattan, New York, US
Alma mater Princeton University
Harvard Law School
Occupation Businessman
Title President, Advantage Testing, Inc.
Spouse(s) Francine Friedman

Arun Alagappan is an American businessman. He is the founder and president of Advantage Testing, Inc., a scholastic test preparation and tutoring agency.

Early life and education[edit]

Alagappan was raised in Queens, New York and attended the United Nations International School. His father, Alagappa Alagappan, worked at the United Nations and was the founder of the Hindu Temple Society of North America, establishing the first traditional Hindu Temple in the US.[1][2]

Alagappan developed an interest in education during high school, where he began tutoring at the age of 17.[3] He attended Princeton University, where he was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa society and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in philosophy in 1981.[4] From 1981 to 1982, he tutored privately in New York City then attended Harvard Law School, and spent time working as a teaching fellow in the mathematics department of Harvard College.[5][6] Alagappan served on the board of editors of the Harvard International Law Journal, and in 1985 graduated with a JD from Harvard Law School.


After graduating law school, Alagappan joined law firm Sullivan & Cromwell[7] and then served as a clerk to Dorothy Wright Nelson on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.[citation needed] Following his clerkship he founded the tutoring and test preparation company, Advantage Testing, in Manhattan, NY.[8] The company has since grown into one of the nation's largest tutoring agencies, with over 20 offices.[9][10][4]

Alagappan makes frequent media appearances to speak about the SAT test.[11][12][13][14] He is a frequent media commentator on trends in standardized testing and has appeared on CNN and as a guest on Bloomberg Television.[15][16]

Philanthropic activities[edit]

Alagappan is the co-founder of the Math Prize for Girls, a one-day mathematics competition that provides the largest monetary math award for young women in the world.[17] In 2009, Alagappan launched a partnership with Harvard Law School and New York University School of Law, named TRIALS: the Training and Recruitment Initiative for Admission to Leading Law Schools. The summer residential scholarship program for motivated lower income college students is aimed at boosting socioeconomic diversity at the nation's top law schools.[18] Students in the program receive focused LSAT instruction from Advantage Testing instructors and attend lectures by prominent lawyers, public figures and legal scholars.

Alagappan is the vice president of the board of directors of Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping high achieving students from low income and diverse backgrounds gain admission to the nation’s most selective colleges.[19] LEDA Scholars are offered ongoing advising, career counseling, postgraduate planning and community-building support to help them succeed. In 2011, The Wall Street Journal profiled Alagappan in its "Donor of the Day" column in recognition for his support of LEDA.[20] Alagappan also serves on the Board of Trustees for Prep for Prep.[21] Alagappan offers his company's services pro bono to approximately 15% of his company's students.[22]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • In 1984, the Dean of Harvard College awarded him with a Certificate of Distinction for Outstanding Teaching of Harvard Undergraduates.[23]
  • In 2006, he was one of seven educators named by New York Magazine as "The Most Influential People in Education".[24]
  • In 2009, he was named an honorary Pi Eta Kappa fellow by Medgar Evers College for "advancing the lives of young men of color.[25]
  • In 2011, the Wall Street Journal named Alagappan "Donor of the Day" for his philanthropic work with the LEDA organization, for "helping to find the next generation of leaders who will bring diversity, new ideas, compassion, and a different kind of leadership to institutions."[20]


  1. ^ Pais, Arthur. "The Temple Builder". India Abroad. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  2. ^ Brady, Lois Smith (September 13, 1992). "Vows; Francine Friedman, Arun Alagappan". New York Times. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  3. ^ Steir, Debbie (2014). The Perfect Score Project: One mothers journey to uncover the secrets of the SAT. Harmony Books. ISBN 978-0-307-95668-2.
  4. ^ a b Steigman, A.J. "How to reset a market's expectations through premium differentiation". Huffington Post. Huffington Post. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  5. ^ Pais, Arthur J. (October 7, 2011). "With a little help from Arun Alagappan". India Abroad.
  6. ^ "Arun Alagappan, '81". Princeton University Department of Philosophy. Princeton University. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  7. ^ Fox, Kelsey. "The 30 Most Innovative People in Education Alive Today". Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  8. ^ "The Most Influential People In Education". New York Magazine. May 15, 2006. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  9. ^ Brenna, Susan. "Calculus by the sea". New York Magazine. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  10. ^ Anderson, Jenny (June 8, 2011). "Push for A's at private schools is keeping costly tutors busy". The New York Times Company. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  11. ^ Schwartz, Tony (January 10, 1999). "The S.A.T. numbers game". New York Times Magazine: 30–56.
  12. ^ "SAT serves as college readiness exam: Alagappan". Bloomberg Business. April 25, 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  13. ^ Kolbert, Elizabeth (March 3, 2014). "Big Score". The New Yorker. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  14. ^ Orr-Ewing, Will (January 5, 2012). "The $1000-an-hour super tutor". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Evaluating the role of standardized tests in education". Your Bottom Line with Christine Romans. CNN. August 20, 2011.
  16. ^ "SAT serves as college readiness exam". Bloomberg Surveillance. Bloomberg. April 25, 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  17. ^ O'Keeffe, Mary. "The Founders of the Math Prize". Math Prize for Girls Community Page. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  18. ^ "HLS launches joint TRIALS program with NYU and Advantage Testing Foundation". Harvard Law Today. Harvard Law School. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  19. ^ "Arun Alagappan, J.D., Board of Directors". Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  20. ^ a b West, Melanie Grace. "Grooming young talent for future leadership". The Wall Street Journal Online. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  21. ^ "Board of Trustees: Prep for Prep". Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  22. ^ Corwin, Miles (2001). And Still We Rise: the trials and triumphs of twelve gifted inner-city students. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780380798292. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  23. ^ "13th Annual National Black Pre-Law Conference; Speakers and Panelists 2017". National Pre-Law Diversity Initiatives, Inc.
  24. ^ "The Influentials: Education". New York Media LLC. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  25. ^ "Pi Eta Kappa Honor Society Induction Ceremony To Be At Medgar Evers College". The City University of New York. Retrieved 17 July 2017.