CURWENSVILLE – The SAT looms large in the mind of any student considering going to a university after graduating from high school.
Some students take it as a matter of course and don’t worry about it, while others are concerned about what kind of score they receive and how it will affect their college choices.
Guidance counselors have been working for years to help students prepare for the SAT, and often that includes calming student fears.
Recently, the Curwensville Area School District came up with a novel idea to help students prepare for the test, boost confidence and have a better grasp of what the test would be like.
Jesse Husted, school counselor, said the district received information on a local SAT prep course that would boost scores, but the cost was hundreds of dollars. He and colleagues put their heads together and came up with an event at the school that would also keep costs relatively low.
And the SAT Boot Camp was born.
On Feb. 22, 34 Curwensville students gathered together and were split into “platoons” to complete various tasks to prepare them for the math and English language arts sections. Platoons received colored bandannas to identify teams, and everyone got a camouflage T-shirt with SAT Boot Camp printed on the front.
Participants also received SAT practice tests and additional resources to prepare.
In addition to working together as teams to complete their missions and earn points, the students also received study tips and preparation materials so that they know what resources exist to be prepared for test taking in the future.
“Most students have test anxiety that is heightened by the high-stakes testing environment,” Husted said. He added that teachers do a great job of covering the material, it’s still hard to create the kind of environment similar to the actual test because it is taken out of the regular schooling environment on a Saturday.
One of the students who took part was Jordan Turner, a sophomore at Curwensville.
Turner said that when she would think about the SAT, she would feel nervous and scared and definitely unprepared. “I didn’t know what was going to be on it,” she said.
When she heard about the boot camp, she realized that it was something that would help. “I thought it would be a fun way to see what it was like,” she said, adding that she is always trying to improve her knowledge and grades anyhow. “I thought it would be cool!”
After spending the day with other students, she concluded that it was in fact a cool and fun idea. She enjoyed the teamwork throughout the day, and now she has a better idea of what she needs to work on and is not as scared as she had been.
Husted said that the boot camp idea is one they want to build on in the future. And while they have not spoken to other districts yet, he hopes they will become involved. And the staff also hopes that students will return for the boot camp again next year.
Turner agreed another boot camp is in her future.
“I would definitely do it again,” she said, adding that it was fun to be with friends doing the work together and, “I am very competitive!”