The College Board recently selected St. Johnsbury Academy to take part in a special program, SAT School Day, due to the high percentage of students taking the SAT and PSAT at the school. The Academy is the only school in Vermont that has been invited to participate in this program. All SJA students will be tested on Wednesday, Oct. 15: seniors will take the SAT; juniors and some sophomores will take the PSAT; freshmen and some sophomores will take the ReadiStep test, a precursor to the PSAT and SAT, which will be used internally. The day is a required school day, and 100 percent participation is expected on the tests.

Benefits of this weekday test administration are many: students will be able to test in their normal class environment on a school day; athletes will not need to choose between an important sporting event and the SAT; fewer students will miss the test due to Saturday jobs or lack of transportation; seniors who are applying early decision will finish their testing earlier, allowing deadlines to be met. Additionally, the school-wide testing will allow the Academy to gather student data that the school can use to develop programs to better meet students' needs. Most important, however, is the hope that requiring 100 percent student participation on the PSAT and SAT will open more doors to college.

Sean Murphy, head of the St. Johnsbury Academy Guidance department said, "We hope students will realize that they have options they never had before. By mandating the program, these options may become clearer." Seniors will receive free access to the Official SAT Online Course, administered by the College Board and the SAT College QuickStart program. They will also receive four free score reports.

The school further announced that it would pay all fees associated with the testing, a considerable investment. SJA Headmaster, Tom Lovett, said, "We feel this is a worthwhile investment in the aspirations of our students. Some students will find out by taking these tests that they have opportunities and potential beyond what they had previously dreamed. Even if only one student comes to recognize that he or she can pursue a college career because of this test day, our investment will be worth it. I suspect there will be many more than just that one."

Several prep programs are available for seniors taking the SAT. They can take advantage of the free test prep offered through the College Board, the Official SAT Online Course. High-End Test Prep is offering a five-week course at the school on Wednesdays, 6-8 p.m., beginning Sept. 17. There is also a course available through the Academy's Adult Education department, currently meeting every Monday and Wednesday, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Contact the SJA Guidance office for more information.

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