(Editor's Note: Thanks to resident Neil Aronson for submitting this story.)
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 an entrepreneurial college student is banking on.
This summer, Neil Aronson, a student leader at Tufts University, has been selected to bring Revolution Prep’s Ivy Insiders programs to the South Orange County area. 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.
Aronson, a 2010 graduate of Aliso Niguel High School who scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT, said that Revolution Prep’s Ivy Insiders programs ensure success through a unique philosophy: students from top universities who have already beaten the tests themselves are best suited to help their fellow students. The programs are taught exclusively by undergraduates at top colleges around the nation, and place a heavy focus on mentorship and personalized instruction.
"I took an online course to prepare for the SAT, and it was lacking a lot of what this program offers," Aronson says. "I'm truly excited about what I'm doing this summer because I can offer students more than just a textbook approach to the test. I can engage and relate to them what I learned about the SAT and offer them advice that someone more removed from the experience might not be able to."
In the past nine years, Revolution’s Ivy Insiders programs have helped nearly 10,000 students raise their SAT scores by an average of about 250 points—results that outpace most traditional test prep companies. According to Aronson, 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— top 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.”
Aronson was a student leader at Aliso Niguel, where he started several environmental projects including a school garden, a recycling program, and a carpooling system. At Tufts, he continued that leadership by working to introduce a student-run bike share program that allows students and faculty to rent bikes for free. "I realized that my experience working to start projects like these was similar to the entrepreneurial experience of running an Ivy Insiders branch this summer," he explains. "So being able to combine that start-up spirit with a program that helps fellow students feels like a perfect match."
“I’m thrilled to be in Orange County this summer to spearhead Ivy Insiders’ launch,” says Aronson. “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.”
Revolution Prep will run Ivy Insiders courses and tutoring programs in Orange County throughout this summer.
Follow Aronson's blog starting Friday. Contact him here: Neil_Aronson@ivyinsiders.com