Ivy League entrepreneurs take on test prep industry

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:45

    From a free SAT test to an innovative method, the two aim to help students aim for a higher score SPARTA — To prep or not to prep? For a growing number of high school parents and students, that is the question. And with college admissions getting more competitive every year, many students have begun turning to a short list of pricey test prep companies to help them earn the scores they need to compete. But the dominance of the old-school test prep giants may not be here to stay. At least that’s what two entrepreneurial college students are banking on. This summer Jonathan Hilgart and Chris Patterson, two student leaders at Brown University and Notre Dame, have been selected to bring Revolution Prep’s Ivy Insiders programs to Sparta. Revolution Prep, an innovative test prep company started in 2002, selects undergraduates from top colleges around the nation to run its Ivy Insiders programs during the summer. “The old-school education giants have dominated test prep for too long,” says Hilgart, who is a member of Brown’s Track Team, and was hired to run Revolution’s Ivy Insiders programs based on his SAT teaching experience and 96th percentile scores. In the past nine years, Revolution’s Ivy Insiders programs have helped nearly 10,000 students raise their SAT scores by an average of almost 300 points—results that outpace most traditional test prep companies by a factor of two. According to Patterson, such unprecedented success can be traced to three unique features of Revolution’s Ivy Insiders programs: a focus on mentorship, a personalized learning approach for every student, and an intensive three-week delivery that allows students to escape the stresses of the school year. “The reason Ivy Insiders has had so much success is that we take a student-centered approach to the test. We approach the SAT like a game to be beaten and expose students to some its best players—Ivy League undergraduates who beat the exam themselves. By simplifying the test’s content, tailoring our instruction to individual students’ needs, and focusing on results, we’ve been able to produce score jumps that are unprecedented.” Patterson, a sophomore at Notre Dame, is also new as a Revolution Ivy instructor, but he’s certainly not stranger to the SAT. He first took the test in eighth grade, and he ended up with a score over 2,200 by the time he graduated from Pope John XXIII. “I’m thrilled to be in Sparta this summer to spearhead Ivy Insiders’ launch,” says Patterson. “It really is the full package: top instructors, the right approach, reasonable prices, and of course, guaranteed results. I think the potential of this program is limitless.” The duo of Patterson and Hilgart have said that they want to give as much back to the community as possible, and they plan on accomplishing this goal by hosting free workshops, free exams, as well as offering scholarships for local students. “Our goal is to help local High School students get into college, because we know how important a college education is today,” says Hilgart. There is a free SAT exam Saturday, June 18 at 9a.m. at Pope John. Revolution Prep will run Ivy Insiders courses and tutoring programs in Sparta at Pope John XXIII, throughout this summer. For more information, contact Jonathan Hilgart at 862-354-0814 or Chris Patterson at 862-26-2371 or email: Jonathan_Hilgart@ivyinsiders.com or Chris_Patterson@ivyinsiders.com.