Home-schooling mom Jean Burke created College Prep Genius to help her children improve their Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores enough to enhance your child’s chances for scholarship eligibility. The higher a student’s SAT score, the more likely they are to earn scholarships and get into a dream school.
Also, many students are poor test takers and need their SAT score may not align with their GPA, while others may take too long to answer questions, so taking an SAT prep course can help them gain confidence and improve their score.
CollegePrepGenius provides online and in-person, called boot camps, SAT options.
The program includes 10-hours of instruction along with a multitude of additional books, handouts, and workbooks.
The program focuses on increasing the student’s awareness of the exam patterns, increases their answer time so they can complete the test, alleviates test-taking nerves, nerves, and improves their self-confidence by exposure to the actual exam questions and answers.
CollegePrepGenius offers two versions of the course:
- The Comprehensive eCourse
- Fundamental eCourse.
The course includes 12 videos. The first introduces the student to the SAT. The next four videos concentrate on math and verbal skills.
The remaining videos discuss step-by-step instructions on test-taking strategies and practice questions.
Students will need their workbooks when watching the videos.
The Comprehensive eCourse, narrated by Jean Burke, covers each of the sections of the new SAT. The purchase price includes one-year access to online materials.
The course is divided into 12 lessons, reviewing reading, math, language, and the essay portions of the test.
Jean covers the question types that give students a suggested plan for successfully answering each.
The student receives a homework guide, motivation test, and “checklist for success” and other guides to help increase your child’s confidence.
The 12-lesson course is excellent, but for the average child, the bonus materials require careful study and review.
Your child will need to devote study time to the bonus materials and read through the suggestions to improve the odds of a scholarship award.
The comprehensive version of the course includes six additional items:
- SAT Prep Book: This book contains over 350 tips and test-taking strategies.
The book also includes a list of 75 websites with potential scholarships and 300 useful maths terms seen on past SAT exams.
- 15 Secrets to Free College: The pamphlet has some interesting material, including:
- Tidbits on words and phrases to include in your scholarship essay to improve your chances of winning
- What Harvard covets in applicants
- Simple tests you can take to earn college credits
- Other scholarship and college acceptance tips
- Six-Part Vocabulary Enhancement Series: These fun vocabulary enhancement books use six different story-telling handouts in a very clever way to help improve vocabulary:
- Wondering Watkins, set in the Wild West of the mid-19th century
- The Summer of St. Nick, a romance and mystery
- Operation High School, a spy thriller with a strong female teen protagonist
- Planet Exile, a science fiction story involving a plant-wide conspiracy for Murder, revolving around a serial killer and a star tennis player
- Highway to Hollywood, about three teenagers making an independent film
- Student Journal: A useful, pre-organized handout where the test-taker can record his or her progress in the course.
- CollegePrepGenius Workbook: A companion volume to the 12-part course
- High School Prep Genius Guidebook covers everything a parent and student need to know for 9th-12th grade from study tips to internships, time management, and college searches.
- Three PDF Handouts additions to the course:
- Homework Guide
- Class Notes
- SAT Essay Templates
If you purchase the less-expensive Fundamental Course, you receive the same one-year access to the online course, plus all the included materials.
The purchase price includes all bonus items except the six-part vocabulary enhancement series, 15 Secrets to Free College, and High School Prep Genius guidebook.
The CollegePrepGenius Bootcamp is the in-person version of the course.
The number of courses using instructors employed directly by CollegePrepGenious is relatively limited, usually about 15-20 held at various locations throughout the United States.
The course is usually held over two days, with 10-hours of classroom instruction that covers evidence-based reading, writing and language, math, and the essay.
In addition to attending the course, you get “free” access to the Fundamental ECourse and all the bonus materials included with the fundamental course.
When siblings book the same course, they receive a $100 discount.
Unlike some of the other SAT prep companies, CollegePrepGenius does not rely on franchise operations or similar setups.
You can agree to host a 12-hour boot camp workshop over two days and have one of the CollegePregGenius certified instructors proctor the course.
The financial advantage of hosting a boot camp is that your child can attend for free.
There are no instructor costs associated with hosting a boot camp. Parents can observe the class if there is space available in the classroom.
Items included in the camp:
- 12-hour in-person instruction
- A hard copy of the College Prep Genius Workbook
- Bonus one-year course membership (if you already own the eCourse your membership will automatically be extended for one year following completion of the Bootcamp)
CollegePrepGenius has a classroom and Co-op option, like the hosted boot camps but which allows a teacher or parent to facilitate the course for a group of students.
You must purchase the Fundamental eCourse for $139. In addition to the materials included in the fundamental course, you will receive a teacher’s guide.
Students must purchase a hard copy of the workbook and textbook for $60.
The students would not have one-year, online access to the course that comes with the fundamental and comprehensive courses unless they purchase it themselves.
The company suggests you make one order for the textbooks to save on shipping costs.
The instructor will need a smartboard, projector, or some other way to display the lessons from the online course.
Awards and Reviews
The company has strong roots in Texas, with many public and private schools in the state endorsing the product.
CollegePrepGenius has won the Home Schooling Seal of Approval and was a runner up for the Old Schoolhouse Excellence in Education award.
A cross-section of reviews from off-site shows a generally very favorable opinion by course participants and parents.
Anecdotal evidence report score increase of 200-300 points.
Pricing is competitive with similar SAT prep courses.
The Fundamental eCourse runs $139 for one-year access. The Comprehensive eCourse costs $189 for one-year access.
Attending an in-person boot camp runs $289 per student and includes all the features of the Fundamental eCourse.
The classrooms and coop courses cost $139, plus $60 per student for the textbooks. One, single-year online course access is included in the price.
There are occasional promotions with online coupons giving you 25%-40% off the course price or hard copies of the textbooks.
- Textbooks and Materials
The course pricing includes downloadable copies of the textbooks and other materials.
You also have the option to purchase hard copies of the materials:
- Genius SAT textbook – $35.00
- Genius Workbook – $19.95
- Genius High School Prep – $24.00
- Genius SAT Vocabulary Prep – $55.00
Buying hard copies of all materials would cost an extra $322.95.
Pros and Cons
- Pricing: The online program is very competitive compared to similar SAT prep courses.
- Focus: The focus on test-taking strategies, supplemented by additional study materials that the student can review before the actual test, is an effective way to maximize results from courses like this.
- Homework Guide – The homework guide provides very focused and useful information for students who do not take the in-class boot camp version.
- Bonus materials: The witty vocabulary enhancing storybooks help students not only learn but retain SAT-related vocabulary.
- No Score Increase Guarantee: Unlike some courses, there is no minimum score increase guarantee. Most users report reasonable improvements of up to 300 points, however.
- Online Focus: For some students, the online focus is a disadvantage. Many teens need in-class instruction to maximize his or her chances of score improvement.
- No Practice SAT Tests: The course does not come with any practice SATs.
CollegePrepGenius provides parents with a reasonably priced SAT prep course that does not require weeks or months of involvement.
The methods are sound, and reviews and accolades from various teaching and parenting groups indicate a reliable system that has helped many students improve his or her scores.
As with any SAT prep course, student focus and dedication, along with parental involvement and support, will help your college-bound child get the most out of the course.