Courtesy of the College Board
Jose Garcia, a senior from Osceola County School for the Arts, is headed to Yale University this fall. Through the QuestBridge Scholar’s program, Jose was able to apply to Yale and get a full four-year scholarship. As a son of immigrants and first-generation student, he knows this will change the path of his life forever.
Jose was in his Advanced Placement (AP) Literature course when he received his acceptance email from Yale. “I went to a corner to look at my phone and I was waiting to read the ‘I regret to inform you,’ but instead it was the opposite. I was extremely shaken, it was a very moving moment,” said Jose.
He says he has always had high goals for himself. Today, he is the class valedictorian and has a weighted GPA of 4.6, with 12 AP courses under his belt. He also knew that he needed to earn a high SAT score, not only to get into his dream school, Yale, but to get scholarships. So when he took the SAT for the first time his junior year, he scored a 1310; but it was below the average score for the top universities he wanted to apply to. To improve his scores, he spent 55 hours practicing on Official SAT Practice – a free, personalized SAT practice website created in partnership with the non-profit Khan Academy. “Improving my score by 150 points came through my practice and diligence and helped me establish that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to,” he said. Jose ended up with an SAT score of 1460 after taking the test again with a fee waiver. “What I loved the most was just how deep the math section on Official SAT Practice went. A lot of times, in testing prep, the answer explanations are not that clear but the videos on the website would explain step-by-step why certain answers were correct and others not,” said Jose. He improved in both the math and reading sections, thanks to his practice.
New data shows studying for the SAT for 20 hours on free Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy is associated with an average score gain of 115 points, nearly double the average score gain compared to students who don’t use Khan Academy.
This year, Jose is part of the College Board’s Ambassador program and is focused on educating peers and faculty members about the power of this program. Last week, he held a professional development event with 50 teachers to show them how to utilize Official SAT Practice to help students with the math section. Not only is he paying it forward to his peers, but he’s helping to ensure teachers have the right tools to help other students succeed.
Jose also tutors 3rd graders who are language learners to pass the Florida Standards Assessment in English to they can exit their ELA courses. This is personal to him, as he learned how to speak English himself in elementary school. He plans on majoring in history once he goes to Yale and possibly going on to law school.