Students receive SAT preparation after strong PSAT performances

Quality of program causes controversy among students but is a honor

Daniel Nam, Managing Editor

Every year, students take the PSAT for the opportunity to win several types of scholarships which goes towards college funds and exposes students to different colleges around the nation.

This year WS partnered with C2 Education, a business that specializes in tutoring standardized tests, to give select juniors with high scores on the PSAT during their sophomore year an opportunity to work after school. For four weeks, the students worked with tutors specialized in Math and English to focus on what they struggle with the most.

As the weeks go on, there has been controversy surrounding the program about how truly beneficial this program is to students in the eleventh grade. Many students believe that the tutors haven’t been able to teach the kids effectively.

Junior Katie Orchard joined the program with hopes of improving her chances of winning the scholarship to help pay for college.

“I wanted to join the program to help my parents get scholarship money,” said Orchard. “I also didn’t want to be in too much debt while I was in college.”

Because the program lasts only four weeks and occurs Wednesday after school, it was difficult for the teachers to cover the many PSAT subjects.

“[I] didn’t think it was very helpful. It was nice to review the principles of Math and English, but there was definitely not enough time to go in depth and a lot of it was generalized,” said Orchard.

Brian Maloney also attended the program and had similar views. All the students take a modified test of the PSAT to figure out their weaknesses.

“[To be honest] the practice test helped a lot even though it was really hard, but the group learning has not been very involving or beneficial,” said Maloney. “It’s all review and pretty boring for the most part.”

Even though the program has been controversial among students, principal Michael Mukai hopes to encourage students to try harder during the PSAT for an opportunity to be recognized for the National Merit Scholarship (NMS). The scholarship is only given to those who perform well on the standardized test. First the students are recognized, then they move on to semifinals, then finals for an opportunity to win it all.

WS consistently recognizes 10 to 12 students for the NMS each year and sends one to two people to semifinals. Mukai believes that more students from WS should be recognized due to the high scores people receive in the past.

“There were over 70 juniors who as sophomores broke 1200,” said Mukai. “More than 12 kids should be recognized.”

Over the years, the number of National Merit scholars and participation in the PSATs have gotten lower according to Mukai. Next year he looks to make changes to the program.

“We thought late,” said Mukai. “We should’ve started the program earlier and for next year start have an actual 6-month prep.”

Despite what many people think about the PSAT, it truly gives an opportunity to so many people. Mukai hopes that one day WS will be a school where kids get recognized for how smart they are.