June 22, 2010
The demand for college test preparation courses appears to be on the rise, and as a result, more schools and businesses are offering them to students and clients.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that at this week's annual meeting of the Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools, counselors exchanged stories about test-prep courses being offered in many schools due to demand from parents and private school board members. For example, one counselor reported that her school's trustees had financed the test prep courses out of pocket in an effort to boost students' SAT and ACT scores.
Demand for such courses is not only within schools: The New York Times reports that the A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s benefits program, Union Plus, will be partnering with The Princeton Review to offer "college readiness educational services" to the union's 13 million members.
"We are proud to announce this alliance and believe it perfectly aligns with The Princeton Review's mission of helping each individual advance their pursuit of higher education," said Scott Kirkpatrick, president of the test preparation and admissions division of The Princeton Review, in a news release. "Union Plus has been successful in helping working families pay for college through their scholarship programs. This new program will compliment that effort by helping students get into college or graduate school through access to our products and services."
Leslie Tolf, president of Union Plus, added that members expressed an interest in college assistance. "Our relationship with The Princeton Review will also give union members to the best resources in the country when it comes to college admissions test preparation," Tolf said in the news release.
The Times also reports that Cablevision, a television, phone and Internet provider in the New York area, recently announced that it would offer a free SAT preparation course for people who subscribe to its Optimum service. The course, which is offered online by Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, usually costs $99. According to the Times, this is the first time that Kaplan is offering test preparation as a benefit to another company's customers.
The demand for college test prep is sparking new business ventures as well. For example, the San Francisco Chronicle reports on Grockit, Inc., an online tutoring and test prep company, which charges less than Kaplan and the Princeton Review and utilizes custom features and social networking. While only 1,000 students have enrolled so far, Farb Nivi, who founded the company in 2007, expects that number to grow to over 20,000 by the end of the summer.
Compiled by Yaffa Klugerman
"Grockit Offers Online Tutoring, Test Prep," San Francisco Chronicle, June 22, 2010, Douglas MacMillan
"Prep Classes for College Are Latest in Perks," The New York Times, June 21, 2010, Jacques Steinberg
"The Princeton Review & Union Plus to Launch College Readiness Program for 13 Million AFL-CIO Members," PR Newswire, June 21, 2010
"The Tangled Knot of Test Prep," The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 21, 2010, Eric Hoover