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Free Nationwide Program Gets Students Ready for the SAT

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Dozens of high school students are sweating it out in classrooms this summer, getting prepared to take the SAT as part of a free nationwide program called "Let's Get Ready." NY1's Cheryl Wills filed the following report.

Life is not a beach for 15-year-old Saisal Jalil this summer. The high school junior from Pakistan is learning how to master the SAT through a free program called "Let's Get Ready."

"They teach me so many good strategies and help me learn how to, to think that these math questions aren't really that hard," Jalil said.

SAT prep classes can run up to $1,000, but "Let's Get Ready" provides low-income high school students with the same prep and college admissions counseling without charging families a dime. That's because statistics show that low-income students score more than 200 points lower than high-income students, and only 47 percent of those students go directly to college. The not-for-profit program is trying to level the playing field.

"Most of our students live at or below the poverty line and did not have parents who went to college, and despite that, 92 percent of our students enroll in college," said Laurie Novick, executive director of Let's Get Ready.

Sagar Saha, 16, from Midwood High School is taking the intensive SAT prep courses and said it's his best chance to make it to a competitive college.

"I'm the first-generation student also, and I want to make the best out of my family," Saha said.

Clidney Joseph is a graduate of Let's Get Ready. She now works for the program as a director.

"I looked into Let's Get Ready and seen the change it made in my scores and how it's helped me get into college," Joseph said. "I decided I should help others who were in the same spot as I was when I was in high school."

"I never looked at a SAT before this, so I feel really prepared doing it," said high school student Natalya Dumont. "It's only been a couple of weeks so far, and I've already learned a lot."

Officials with Let's Get Ready said students who take part in the program see an increase in SAT scores by an average of 115 points, and since 1998, they have served more than 19,000 students across the country.

To learn more about the program, visit www.letsgetready.org.

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