As the stakes for standardized tests continue to rise, a new nonprofit organization will offer free preparation courses to disadvantaged high school students in Los Angeles in the hopes of improving their college opportunities.SEE College Prep — which provides SAT preparation programs to low-income students through partnerships with existing college programs — hopes to use USC as its base of operations.SEE hopes work with USC students to help students gain entrance into four-year colleges. The organization will be coordinating with a federally funded program that offers grants to poor students.“Our hope is that USC will more or less be the hub of [SEE] in the Los Angeles area,” said Garrett Neiman, the Stanford student who founded SEE and scored a 2400 on his SAT.SEE has already established programs in other parts of the state, with partnerships at Stanford University and UC Irvine. SEE offers a five-week, 42-hour program and curriculum designed by students from Stanford, according to the programs website.“This last summer we helped over 500 students,” said Austin Hay, a USC sophomore majoring in environmental engineering and SEE’s vice president of programs. “The average improvement score was 240 points.”As SEE expands into Southern California, Neiman hopes USC students will be a driving force in the program, both as tutors and volunteers.The main obstacle to finding volunteers is their test scores, Hay said, because SEE requires students to score in the 99th percentile across the board. As a result, many applicants are ineligible from the beginning.But Hay said he is still attempting to gather interest for the launch next summer. SEE is currently seeking tutors, recruiters, managers and advertisers.“Students would find it fulfilling to help [other] students, who are not as privileged, get into a school like USC,” Hay said.Laura Welch, a freshman majoring in business administration, said she knew students who didn’t take the SAT because of the cost, and said she would be interested in helping kids in similar situations by working as a tutor for SEE.“Especially since we’re so fortunate to be here,” Welch said. “[By taking SEE], it doesn’t matter where you come from or your financial situation.”According to Neiman, SEE also helps the communities where students take the nonprofit classes by recruiting the program’s top graduates as tutors.“By bringing back role models from those communities, we give students access to peers who really made it,” Neiman said.
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