2011-06-03 / Columnists

From The Seawolve’s Den

By Scholars’Academy Students

Readying for College with a Councilman’s Donation

By Stephanie Stewart

Recently, 25 juniors at Scholars’ Academy received a generous gift, provided in the form of a 10-session Kaplan SAT Prep Course, from District #32 Councilman Eric Ulrich.

Councilmember Ulrich secured $9,000 in discretionary funding for SAT prep at each of the following high schools in the 32nd District: Scholars’ Academy, John Adams High School, Franklin K. Lane High School, Beach Channel High School, Robert H. Goddard High School of Communication Arts and Technology and Channel View School for Research.

“This program is giving parents and students the chance to receive the best SAT prep available in the most convenient location. I applaud Mr. O’Connell’s decision to spend this money on Kaplan Test Prep. Kaplan has a proven track record of success in preparing students for the SAT and ACT exams. I believe that these courses will go a long way towards helping our young people gain admission to the college of their dreams,” said Councilman Ulrich.

College admission is becoming more competitive each year. This is primarily due to the fact that there are more high school graduates than ever competing for seats in the freshman class. As well as the students competing, it has become known that a college education is increasingly seen as key to economic success in our society, just as a high school diploma was once the minimum requirement. “With the current downturn in the economy, many students are electing to go to college instead of going directly into the work force. Many students who, in more prosperous times would have gone to private universities, are making city universities their top choice. As a result, college admissions, particularly city and state universities, are much more competitive,” said AP English Language and Composition teacher, Mr. Wong.

The SAT test, made up of 10 sections (a 25-minute essay, six 25-minute sections followed by two 20-minute sections, and one 10-minute multiple choice section) measures a student’s knowledge of reading, writing and mathematics, and is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors. Test scores range from 200 to 800 for each section, with a total combined score of a possible 2400.

“The SAT’s are the second most determining factor of one’s college application, right after a student’s GPA,” said Wong. Recipients of seats in the Kaplan SAT course were chosen on a first come first serve basis. With the low turnout at the meeting, however, every student whose parent attended received a seat.

“We were happy to give a seat to every student whose parent attended the meeting,” said high school Assistant Principal Ms. Michele Smyth.

According to Ms. Smyth, Councilman Ulrich also provided a donation to have musicians from Carnegie Hall work with our school band, instructed by Mr. Alexander Leicht.

There are several SAT preparatory courses, but Kaplan worked well with our school.

“The Kaplan representatives reached out to us, and we were able to be flexible with the hours that they could hold this preparatory course,” said Ms. Smyth.

The Kaplan course was first used in our school last year with our current graduating senior class.

“It [Kaplan SAT Course] was a little bit boring because the class was long, but it was helpful, and my SAT score did improve,” said senior Taylor Hilgendorf. In the Kaplan SAT Preparatory course, the students are provided with a workbook, SAT flash cards, and practice SATs. In order to ensure success, students take several practice SAT exams, which will prepare them for the actual experience on testing day, are required to complete homework online, and are expected to attend every class session.

“This program teaches you time management and different strategies to answering questions,” said Taylor.

The Kaplan course, which concluded May 5, took place Thursdays and Saturdays at Scholars’ Academy. Students continue to have access to personalized feedback on their Kaplan SAT work until June 10.

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