Forty high school students from public, private and parochial schools in the St. Thomas-St. John district recently completed an SAT Preparatory program to help them improve their SAT scores. The prep program was administered by the University of the Virgin Islands University Bound Program (formerly Upward Bound) and was generously funded by Alpine Securities.
The SAT or Scholastic Aptitude Test is an entrance exam used by most colleges and universities and is one of the factors used to make admissions decisions. The SAT measures a student’s readiness for college and provides colleges with one common data point used to compare all applicants. Although some schools have recently transitioned to making the exam optional for admissions, the standardized test is still a vital part of the process. Colleges and universities often use the SATs to gauge whether a student is ready for college-level math and English courses.
“Many of our students traditionally have stellar grades but low SAT scores which subjects them to enrollment in non-credit bearing courses,” said Rosalia Rhymer Rohan, director of the University Bound Program which provides various services to prepare high school students for the rigors of college. “This course provided students with an opportunity to improve their scores which in turn grants them access to a wider range of schools, more scholarships, and the ability to enroll in college-level courses. Our goal is to reduce some of the barriers that often place them at a disadvantage and we are extremely grateful to Alpine Securities for their generous investment in helping us achieve this goal,” said Rohan.
Students enrolled in the 10-week course met on the Orville E. Kean Campus on St. Thomas for three hours on Saturdays to prepare for the college admission exam. The program used a variety of educational tools and mock exams to prepare them for the national exam. Students learned valuable techniques to help reduce test anxiety, build confidence, and improve their test-taking abilities.
To obtain the initial baseline data, students were given a pre-assessment. Instructors then reviewed the scores and worked with the students to enhance the areas where they had the greatest need. At the end of the course, students were tested again to see any improvements. On average, students had an increase in their test scores of about 50 points on the mock exams and most saw an even greater increase on the national exam.
“Overall, the SAT Prep program was a very good experience. Our math instructor guided us through each question and the layout of the questions. We also covered concepts that I was not exposed to before. The English classes were executed well and helped to increase my SAT scores,” said Adaliaa Registe, a senior at Charlotte Amalie High School. “Both classes provided tips on the various approaches to the SAT exam and implementing the techniques learned has helped me considerably,” said Registe.
“Prep courses have been proven to boost test scores and we want to help our students to position themselves in the best light possible as they go through the admissions process,” said Vernon Araujo, director of Philanthropy and Community Relations for Alpine Securities. “We’re just happy that we can contribute to the academic success of our students as it opens them up to countless opportunities,” continued Arajuo.