Colby College students offering a free SAT preparatory course are looking to expand their enrollment this fall.

The course, MulePrep, aims to help area high school students increase their scores on the national college entrance examination and was the idea of Colby junior and education major Matt White.

He didn’t think there were enough affordable options in Waterville, so “I decided to address that myself,” he said.

After a successful first session last spring that increased average SAT scores by 97 points, White is ready for more students.

“We had 18 last year. I wanted to keep it on the smaller end and get our feet under us,” he said. “This year we are opening it up to the whole area, anyone who wants to come.”

While some think that a preparatory course suggests that high school students aren’t ready for the test, White disagrees.

“I don’t think it’s an inadequacy of schools that’s requiring this. You have students going to Harvard who are coming from some of the best private schools in the country, and they are taking SAT prep courses as well. They are just paying exorbitant amounts of money for it.”

MulePrep, which picked up its name in part from the college mascot Mules, is student-run but overseen by education professor Mark Tappan.

“I think it’s a great program,” Tappan said. “It meets a real need in the community and it enables Colby students to gain knowledge, skills and experience working on this real-life program with local students.”

One former student liked the class so much he’s taking it again.

“I thought it was a helpful and organized way to prepare for the SAT,” said Jaymes Riley, 17, a senior at Waterville Senior High School.

He said he is also encouraging his friends to sign up as well.

MulePrep held its first five-week session in the spring and was taught by three Colby students, one for each section of the SAT.

This fall the 3 1/2 hour class will run for seven weeks, with 50-minute sections for critical reading, writing, and mathematics, plus a section that will guide students through the college application process.

“We are changing it a little bit to include a college counseling class that will range on topics from financial aid to college admissions, interviews and essays,” White said.

MulePrep draws its curriculum directly from the administrators of the test.

“College Board put out an SAT prep book. We have structured a lot of the skills we have been teaching off that,” White said.

No one disputes that a high SAT score improves a college application, but by how much is a trickier question.

“Colby admissions finds standardized test scores important only as one element of many in a student’s application,” Colby Admissions Director Steve Thomas said. “We focus on the relationship between an applicant’s test scores and his or her achievement in the application review process at Colby.”

Even after he graduates from Colby, White hopes to keep the free program running.

“One of the most important things for me is the no cost,” he said. “Ideally, I’d like to get the program to a place that by the time I graduate it can be passed down to another Colby student to run.”

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