Maine high school students are boosting their SAT scores thanks to a free test preparation class offered by Colby students.
MulePrep was founded by Matt White ’14, an education minor and English major who in high school saw his Massachusetts classmates availing themselves of expensive tutoring and SAT prep classes. At Colby he noted there were few affordable SAT preparatory courses in the Waterville area—and he resolved to give central Maine high school students equal access.
White, a cross-country and track athlete, spent his sophomore-year Jan Plan writing curriculum for the SAT class with the help of Professor Mark Tappan (education). Last spring White enlisted fellow Colby students as instructors, and MulePrep was offered free of charge to students at Waterville High School and Messalonskee in Oakland. “Getting Colby students involved wasn’t a problem,” he said.
The first class had 18 students, with sessions held Sunday afternoon in Lovejoy. This fall White opened MulePrep up to any high school student and found the word had spread. Seventy-five students signed up from 14 area high schools. White had student instructors (education minors Anna Caron ’13, Katie Curran ’14, Ben Carlin ’16, Lizzie Woodbury ’15, Lily Steig ’16, and Lindsay Peterson ’13) for the seven-week SAT prep session. A bonus included sessions on the college application process, led by Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Terry Cowdry; college interview tips from Career Center Director Roger Woolsey; and application essay-writing classes with tutors from Colby’s Farnham Writers’ Center.
The response from high school students and guidance counselors has been “overwhelmingly positive,” White said.
The Colby junior said he plans to bring on an assistant next year who, he hopes, will take over administration of the program after he graduates. He’s also mulling expanding the program by offering the curriculum to other colleges in Maine and beyond.
Even as MulePrep grows, he said, the goal remains the same: to offer a quality SAT prep class at no cost. “If we have the resources,” White said, “we won’t turn anyone away.”