Welcome! I'm Mark Lyon, the owner and director and teacher at Lyon Prep Academy.  For several years we operated as an SAT prep and college admissions counselling program in Palo Alto, California, about a mile from Stanford University, allowing us to interact with some of the brightest students in the country,  helping them build their confidence, improve their writing ability and SAT scores and to gain admission into some of the America's most prestigious universities.   In February, 2014, we partnered with IVYcation, Vietnam’s most prestigious College counselling program, to help some of the most gifted Vietnamese students to enter …Read More »

Great location and Accommodation

The homestay is located here, next to West Lake, in one of the most sought-after locations in Hanoi, about a 2 minute walk from both the Sheridan hotel and the Intercontinental Hotel.   It is a very multinational location where you will meet plenty of people from Vietnam, France, England, Australia, Korea, Japan, The United States, and many other countries. The house has five bedrooms, on four different floors, including a large living room and kitchen area. Although the rooms vary in size, each one has its own connected bathroom and its own desk for students …Read More »


The head instructor eats breakfast with the students, initiating informal discussions, and the students always eat lunch with either the head instructor or the Vietnamese member of the staff.  Usually, we have a western-style breakfast and a Vietnamese style lunch. The evenings are the students' free

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time to explore and so, although food can be ordered for them for an extra price, they are encouraged to eat outside. We are within walking distance of many dining opportunities — offering everything from sushi to pizza to …Read More »

College Admissions Counseling

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In order for College Admissions counseling to work, the counselor must view it as an intensely personal endeavor. He must get to know your child from every angle — be able to fully understand your child's strengths, weaknesses, dreams, ambitions, and goals — so that he totally understands and believes in what your child is offering to the colleges in which he/she is applying, so …Read More »

Although it is easy for many test prep companies to raise the scores of students who are new to the test– students whose scores would rise naturally, just from familiarization with the test questions — Lyon Prep has taken on the far more challenging task of raising the scores of students who are already great scorers, many of whom have already gone though other programs or have studied independently — students who often feel that their scores have already plateaued.

As a near-perfect scorer myself, I have raised these students' scores by an average of well over 300 points, transforming …Read More »

Admissions Essays

Too often, when writing the personal essay, students view it only as a sample of their writing.  Of course the colleges will want to see how well an applicant can express himself, but a good personal essay will demonstrate far more than that.  No matter how casual or non-academic the topic might first appear—even if it’s about their favorite vacation or their favorite book – this is your child’s best opportunity to connect personally with the members of the admissions committee, to prove to them why they need him at their school.   In just a couple pages, the …Read More »

Academic Oriented Volunteer Opportunities

Students who are interested can be set up with volunteer opportunities that they can do during their visit.  Rather than the charity work that they are often set up with in the United States, these opportunities will be academic oriented and

will allow them to show off their skills.  The standard opportunity is teaching ESL to Vietnamese students, but students who are staying longer or who want to showcase …Read More »

Special Projects

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Being successful in college is different from being successful in high school, and being successful in 'the real world' is very different from getting a good college GPA.  Of course colleges want students who will do well in their classes, but, beyond that, they want self-motivated students who can set their goals independently, and who are likely to accomplish great things in college and after they’ve …Read More »

Student Blog or Website Development

 Travelling is always an amazing experience, and our goal at Lyon Prep is to make sure that every student gains as much from the experience as possible.  Because of this, students are asked to keep a blog of their activities in Vietnam and to provide their thoughts regarding those activities.  The goal is for them to produce something that they can be proud of, which others can look at and see how well the student has managed to express himself and how insightfully he was able to analyze all of his experiences.

Students will be given instruction …Read More »

Access to Specialists in Other Fields

Although most of the program will be handled in person by Mark, the head instructor, there could be cases where the student would benefit from meeting with someone with a more specialized knowledge in another field.  When this happens, we will connect the student online with one of Lyon Prep’s experts.Each of the team members is a personal friend who Mark has met throughout the years, hand-picked from various academic settings. Each one has a master’s degree in his or her field and two of them have PhD’s.  Each one has a minimum of …Read More »

Continued support

Although some students will be able to accomplish all of their goals while at our homestay in Vietnam, others might need additional assistance before or after their trip.  Because of this, we encourage them to sign up for more hours of our program so we

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can have pre-trip online meetings to prepare students to make the best use of their trip as possible and post-trip meetings …Read More »

Programs for adults

This website is oriented toward high school students, since that’s where we get the majority of our business, but all of our tutors have experience teaching at universities and are very willing to work with adults.  If you need help with a standardized test for graduate school or ESL study or if you have a creative writing project you are working on, or if you

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are doing anything that fits under the specialization of any of our tutors, we …Read More »

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Daily schedule

One major goal of this program is to teach students to work independently, since that is a skill they will need when they enter University, and so much of the students' time will be spent around the house working on their own. Students are expected to work from 8am – 3pm on week days, excluding meal times.

During that time, there will be an informal group …Read More »