2018-2019 is a complicated year for folks thinking about college: students, parents, and colleges are still trying to figure out the impact of the changing SAT, college admissions are getting increasingly competitive, many folks are considering going test-optional, and the college process itself seems to become more stressful and more nuanced with each passing year.
The test may change. But at the Socratic Summer Academy, since 2010, our academic philosophy, nurturing camp community, and exceptional team has ensured that our program remains the most effective, most fun, and most nurturing place to prepare for your future anywhere in the country.
Students take five proctored practice tests from official College Board administrations over our three-week program. Our best metric for improvement consists of weekly practice tests, proctored in a meticulously simulated test-taking environment - Alyssa, our Director, takes the SAT the three times per year that adults are permitted to sit for the SAT (each time in a different high school and/or city) to get a feel for kids' actual test-taking environments and ensure that we are duplicating it as much as possible.
Practice tests are graded immediately to give students constant feedback, and each student receives a detailed test report with concepts/question types s/he/they got right and wrong, as well as a sense of how s/he/they has improved since the last test. In concert with their coaches, students work to develop individually tailored strategies each week.
We try to make sure we balance the academic necessities of the SAT with the fun of the traditional summer camp experience - we seek to teach students to balance work and play and to value more than just academic achievement. To that end, the schedule undergoes a careful review and gets tweaked every year based on the senior staff’s ever-greater pool of accumulated knowledge about what energizes the students and reinforces both fun and academic vigor.
We frequently get asked about the qualifications for SSA staff:
Teachers are recruited from highly selective universities and have, in the past, come from Harvard, Brown, Stanford, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Amherst, Colgate, Tufts, Middlebury, Haverford, UCBerkeley, McGill, Vanderbilt, UVA, and Wesleyan - just to name a few.
In order to qualify for an interview with SSA, master teachers (graduated from college) must score within or above the SAT’s 97th percentile and supporting teachers (undergrads) in the 94th percentile.
Each teacher participates in an extensive, two-week specialized Socratic Summer Academy training with our camp director and senior staff before camp starts in order to master strategies, content, and teaching techniques.
What makes a SSA teacher extraordinary is not just her ability to teach the SAT -- every SAT program should be able to say that; it’s her ability to ensure that every SSA camper goes home not just with an improved score, but with extraordinary summer memories.