Founded by Stanford University grad and former SAT tutor Garrett Nieman, CollegeSpring (formerly SEE College Prep) is a non-profit organization launched in 2010 designed to help first-generation college students prep for the SAT in hopes of earning scores high enough to gain admission to elite colleges and universities.
CollegeSpring is funded in part by revenue from high schools who team up with the organization to give their students a better shot at the SAT. It also receives funds from philanthropic organizations such as the Packard Foundation, the Keck Foundation, and more. Although CollegeSpring currently operates only in California, Nieman and his co-founder Jessica Perez plan to expand the scope of the organization over the coming year.
What is different about this test prep program?
Nearly every high school in the country offers some sort of ACT or SAT test prep class. CollegeSpring provides extra help for first generation students through its intensive syllabus–80 total hours of class time, and four full-length, proctored practice exams. The program emphasizes the importance of the test to kids that haven’t had many college-educated role models growing up and shows them how a good score can enhance their futures.
Nieman says, “We employ mission-driven people and people of color who care about first-generation kids. Our vision is for students to be equipped to go on to college” (Education Week).
How helpful are SAT prep courses?
Studies conducted since the 1950s have concluded that traditional standardized test prep courses “have a statistically significant effect on the changes of SAT and ACT scores for students taking the test at least twice. The magnitude of this effect is relatively small,” about 100 points on the SAT (answers.com).
CollegeSpring is about twice as effective at prepping its students for the SAT, with an average 200-point increase in scores for students taking the test at least twice.
After nearly two years of success, CollegeSpring is ready to expand and help even more students succeed. They hope to double the size of the program in the next two years.