The SAT is one of the most crucial factors in the university admission process. It’s no wonder that preparation for the test is essential. Many juniors and seniors, and even some underclassmen, have attended one or more classes to help prepare them for the SAT. These classes include practice tests, vocabulary flash cards, sample math problems, and practice impromptu essays. These preparatory courses have proven to be highly effective; a study by the National Association for College Admission Counseling showed that students who had taken prep classes scored on average 30 points higher than those who hadn’t. So what’s the problem with SAT prep courses? They are very expensive. On average, every SAT prep course costs anywhere from $200 to as much as $4,000 for private tutors. Many parents are able to afford numerous courses for their kids, thus practically ensuring a good score, but the sad truth is some people cannot afford even one prep class, let alone more than one. Unfortunately, the high cost of SAT prep courses causes an incongruity between students: some of them have the privilege of extensive SAT classes, while others simply have to make due with what their normal school classes provide. On the bright side, school board candidate Saul Hernandez may have the solution to this problem. Hernandez suggests an elective SAT prep class at schools like Rio. “I have four children, and all would have benefitted from such a class,” says Hernandez. Unlike the outside-of-school courses, the SAT elective would be free, allowing every student who needs help to take it, regardless of income. Right away, the class would undoubtedly raise SAT scores for students at Rio Americano, but it also raises some questions. How many classes would be offered? Who would teach them? How would it fit into students’ schedules? The answers to these questions are not set in stone, but there would ideally be multiple classes taught by teachers already employed at Rio. That way, the school would only have to pay the existing teachers for the extra classes and not need to hire new teachers. “There are already several teachers in the district that offer such a class on their own,” said Hernandez. The problem is, these classes are on Saturdays and require the student to pay the teacher. Therefore, many teachers are already prepared to teach a SAT prep class as an elective. Of course, this would mean the possibility of cutting other classes, so in the event that that becomes a problem, Rio could easily hire one more teacher. It would be well worth the money to increase our SAT scores, helping the students and the school. So, because it would be relatively easy to implement, there are almost no downsides to an SAT elective in San Juan Unified School District. As Hernandez says, “It would help our students be focused on college goals and requirements.” Clearly the students benefit the most from this elective, but everyone else involved will profit as well.
Parents who previously spent money on expensive SAT courses can now trust that their children are being taught the same material for free. And the parents who could not previously afford such classes will surely be glad to know their children’s college options will likely be better.