Matt White '14 Brings Free College-Prep to Maine
As Matt White ’14 applied to colleges, he realized how unfair the college application process was for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds—for students who didn’t have access to expensive SAT prep or private college coaches. Once at Colby he decided to do something about it.
That something is MulePrep, a free SAT preparatory course for high school students in communities surrounding Colby, now in its second year.
During his first two years at Colby White took advantage of teaching opportunities. He taught seventh grade English through a program called Breakthrough Collaborative, which gave him teaching and lesson-planning experience, and he completed an independent study on tutoring as a Jan Plan.
As he learned how to teach and tutor, White came up with the idea of the free SAT prep course, and by the end of his sophomore year, MulePrep was up and running with three teachers and 18 students. Last year’s course met once a week, and students were tutored in SAT math, critical reading, and writing during a five-week program.
This year’s program expanded to 75 high school students and six Colby student teachers in a seven-week program. In addition, White and his collaborators added a seminar element, offering workshops on interview skills, financial aid, and essay writing.
MulePrep tutors mostly high school juniors but includes seniors and sophomores as well. It serves students from 13 surrounding schools. The program ran on a budget of approximately $30 last year, but White hopes to expand that through fundraising and donations. He said MulePrep hopes to raise enough money to buy every student his or her own SAT prep book.
MulePrep also hopes to develop a counseling component that will match each high school student with a Colby student to coach them in all aspects of the college application process. That’s part of many expensive private college-prep services. And it’s another way White and his MulePrep volunteers can make a big difference, one student at a time.