For Kent Kolbow, the owner of 11 Sylvan Learning centers throughout Indiana, there is nothing more rewarding than helping students obtain the SAT and ACT scores they need to get into their dream colleges and universities.
“I enjoy teaching SAT and ACT Prep because I love seeing our students improve and the excitement in their eyes when their scores increase,” Kolbow said. “One of the best parts of my job is when scores come out and I get texts and calls from my students and their parents about how proud they are that they accomplished their goals.”
At Sylvan, test prep tutors use a mix of face-to-face and online lessons to help students achieve their best results on the SAT and ACT. The program includes 30 hours of in-center instruction along with one diagnostic test and four practice exams. It also comes with a one-year Sylvanprep.com account, which includes features such as Exam Room, a tool that provides video-based reviews for practice test questions; a program called Study Hall that offers online lessons; and an interactive vocabulary building tool called Wordsmith.
“With our test prep programs, we help students meet their goals and achieve their dreams,” said Anathea Simpkins, Sylvan Learning Director of Product Management. “In some cases, the SAT or ACT is the most important test a student will take because it’s the gateway to acceptance to college and scholarship opportunities.”
According to Simpkins, Sylvan started offering ACT and SAT Prep to expand the company’s offerings and continue its mission to help students attain academic success. Since its introduction, Simpkins said Sylvan has seen high demand for SAT and ACT Prep, with more than 15,500 students enrolling in the in-center program in 2017.
“Sylvan is committed to helping students prepare for the rigors of college by helping to keep grades up and master skills, tackle the college admissions process and be prepared for success once in college,” Simpkins said.
In addition to providing a valuable service to students, SAT and ACT Prep programs yield significant profits. According to Simpkins, the programs account for more than 20 percent of business for some Sylvan centers.
SAT and Act Prep are some of the most popular programs at Kolbow’s centers. Along with generating profits, the programs have helped him build relationships with the communities he serves. He often offers free practice tests to local schools and libraries in order to spread the word about Sylvan.
“The ACT and SAT programs are key components for us to build relationships with the communities,” Kolbow said. “By giving the tests away at a minimal cost
or giving the money back to a PTO board to use for their own school fundraiser, we create a win-win situation that helps us establish ourselves and increase name recognition while also helping as many students as possible..”
Kolbow said that many students who take SAT and ACT Prep also enroll in other programs after they recognize the wide variety of subjects that Sylvan offers.
“Kids enroll in ACT and SAT Prep, and then they come in and see the other programs we offer,” Kolbow said. “Students working on SAT Prep sitting at the same table as other students enrolled in the Homework Help program realize they can be even more successful by working with us in other areas.”
Kolbow said the SAT and ACT Prep programs inspire some of the most positive feedback from students and parents because of the results.
“I’ve been working with Sylvan for 27 years, and SAT and ACT Prep is one of our top programs,” Kolbow said. “This past week, a parent called to say her son scored a 1500 on the SAT with a 1600 being a perfect score. A few years ago, I had a student studying for the ACT, and he was able to score high enough to get into Notre Dame. A dad of one of our students told his son that if he received a perfect ACT score, he could pick out a car, and he was able to achieve that goal. People love this program because it makes a difference.”
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