The Benefit of a Community taking charge of its childrens' SAT Prep: $ Millions
By Mark Greenstein, SAT Prep Teacher since 1987. Founder of Ivy Bound Test Prep
Public schools are only rarely in parents' corners when it comes to College Scholarship success. Families can save $20,000 and more when their college applicant possesses above-average SAT scores. Be grateful if your school has an assertive administrator who brings in top-tier SAT prep.
If your school lacks such an administrator, the good news is that parents need not have the school as a facilitator. Test Prep firms will come running to parents who've assembled a group of students to take advantage of a course. Most will do so with discounted tuition.
For example, Ivy Bound offers the same low-cost class when PARENT groups get students together. With a group of 20 or more, the per-student tuition is $485 including materials.
Parents SHOULD get together, because waiting for the school to do the right thing means it's too late for current juniors to get the prep they need. In the past Ivy Bound has had a parent-organized group get things started and then the next year the school saw it was good and chose to enlist Ivy Bound. That can happen anywhere, with any outside firm.
A school's imprimatur is meaningless. The schools can be good at getting the word out, but parents can be equally good. We encourage parents to put out "for bid" the kind of SAT class they want, and alert 3 - 5 high level firms. You'll get at least one that gives teens what they need. If the school stubbornly doesn't want to be a class site, the prep can occur on weekends in a participating parent's unused offices, or in a church.
Unlike most schools, firms like Ivy Bound are interested in saving parents $20,000 or more in tuition. $20,000 is the LOW side of what a well-above-average score is worth at most private universities. Getting better admissions offers and raising scholarship awards is why test prep firms exist! If your school administrators are too short-sighted to see that good test prep GREATLY helps families, then go outside the school.
Let me quantify the "$ Millions" that appears in the title. At most competitive colleges, applying with SAT scores that are 100 points above their average means not only a likely admission offer, but a financial offer as well. Colleges LIKE when they can attract "meritorious" students. Thus $5000 - $15,000 / year renewable for four years is a likely result. The big awards can reach $35,000 a year ($140,000 over four years). In a group of 100 students, assume ten will achieve a $20,000 yearly award and eighty will attain an average $8000 annual award. That's $4,560,000 for that 100-family community. Since saving $ in a high-tax-environment is more valuable than earning $, saving over $4,000,000 equates to earning over $6,000,000.
Every community-minded parent should consider improving students' SAT scores as their next community project. Very few projects return 30x their investment. Good SAT prep is one that does.