Leading-Edge College Prep Program Narrows SAT Achievement Gap

San Francisco, CA, March 5, 2013 – Real learning and near-peer support are producing life-changing results for students enrolled in CollegeSpring’s summer and new academic-year programs. CollegeSpring, a nonprofit dedicated to providing college prep tailored specifically to meet the needs of students from low-income backgrounds, has been providing summer programs since 2008. Today, CollegeSpring released the results of its first full academic-year offerings, showing an average increase in SAT scores of 171 points across programs.

“Unlike the for-profit providers in the SAT preparation space, CollegeSpring is exclusively committed to reaching students from low-income backgrounds with the skills, academic foundation, and support they need,” said CollegeSpring co-founder and CEO, Garrett Neiman. “The outstanding results of our first academic-year programs represent the beginning of a concerted effort to bring full-service SAT preparation and college-readiness services directly to low-income students by making them a part of students’ regular school day.”

When students enter CollegeSpring’s program, their scores are typically well below the national average. During the 2011-2012 academic year CollegeSpring students entered the program with an average SAT score of 1,040 (of 2,400 total possible). The average boost of 171 points from participating in CollegeSpring’s program can mean the difference between being eligible for admission to a four-year state school or not. The California State University system, for example, uses SAT scores to determine eligibility for admission for high school seniors with GPAs between 2.0 and 3.0. About ⅓ of the students CollegeSpring serves during the academic year can only become eligible for Cal State entrance by raising their SAT scores. CollegeSpring helps make this necessary increase attainable, thus making admission to a four-year college possible.

High-achieving low-income students are less likely than their wealthier peers to apply to selective schools. For students whose scores are already above average for their school, CollegeSpring’s SAT increases are helping to shift that dynamic. Brenda, a student at Animo Inglewood Charter High School, improved her score 180 points from a 1,250 to a 1,430, thanks to CollegeSpring’s first academic-year program. Combined with her GPA, this increase gives Brenda guaranteed admission to a University of California campus. This kind of guarantee can make students more likely to apply and be accepted to colleges that will suit them well, where they are most likely to remain enrolled and graduate.

The SAT does not exist in a void: low-income and first-generation students are also limited by insufficient information about the college admissions process. The average ratio of students to guidance counselors at many public schools approaches 1,000 to 1. Low-income and first-generation students are less likely to receive support from parents in evaluating college options and applying for financial aid, and are disproportionately affected by insufficient school services. CollegeSpring operates on the premise that helping students both increase their SAT scores and navigate the college admissions process can have a major impact on student outcomes, narrowing the persistent economic divide on college campuses.

Students from families that make more than $200,000 score an average of 359 points higher than students whose families make less than $40,000. CollegeSpring’s outcomes build a strong case that, with the right support, low-income students are capable of achieving scores that are on par with their more affluent peers – increasing their eligibility for admission to four-year colleges and universities, and enhancing their access to the proven long-term benefits associated with higher education.

About CollegeSpring

Founded in 2008, CollegeSpring is the largest SAT preparation program explicitly designed to meet the needs of low-income and first-generation college students. It was founded on the belief that test preparation and college-readiness instruction should work together as an effective springboard to college. CollegeSpring partners with individual schools, school networks, and other community organizations in the Bay Area and Los Angeles to serve thousands of high school students from low-income backgrounds. CollegeSpring’s program includes small-group mentoring with current undergraduates as well as instruction by professional teachers, so that students receive the personal and academic support they need to succeed. Across all programs (summer and academic year), CollegeSpring students see an average SAT score improvement of 176 points and gain the knowledge they need to succeed in college admissions. The program has served 2,700 students statewide and expects to reach an additional 9,300 by 2015.

View the archived version of this press release: Leading-Edge College Prep Program Narrows SAT Achievement Gap