11 Sep 2014

Celebrating A Successful YPrep Year

 

Late last month, we had our YPrep celebration to end our year (which occurs after our Summer Programs). I was surrounded by partners, YPrep teachers, the IT guy (who’s awesome!), and various friends. It’s amazing how much we have accomplished in a year. I just re-read an earlier post detailing the beginning of YPrep Academy and it’s been great to see it grow from a small tutoring place with just me into a whole organization with teachers and counselors. However, none of this could have been possible without the support and amazing word-of-mouth from students and parents who believed in us. It is you that helped us enroll over 50 students in YPrep programs. It is you that pushed us to develop more programs like SAT Subject Tests, College Application Essay (CAE) workshops, ACT prep, and our upcoming TOEFL program. It is you who have provided excellent testimonials and in the process, pushed me to come up with better ways to help students. For all of this, I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks.

In return, we have tried to provide great service. We had over 10 students get above 2000 on the SAT, and 4 got above 2200. Our average SAT improvement was about 300 points and our courses have gotten great feedback from students and parents. And if you compare the percentages instead of absolute numbers (because we’re a smaller company than many of our competitors), we’re blowing other companies out of the water! We have also provided free office hours and practice tests whenever and wherever we can. The result has been substantial score improvements and parent satisfaction.

When I started YPrep Academy last year, I knew my two main goals were to truly help students and make sure we have fun along the way. Standardized tests and the college admission process have never been fun subjects. With the world as it is today, it will only continue to get worse. As someone who has gone through this rigorous process, I sympathize with the students. It’s not a process I would wish on anyone. However, it is a necessary evil but one in which we must go through. As a teacher, I have tried to keep my classes entertaining and my tutorials lively. I look for the same personality traits in hiring other YPrep teachers. Yet being fun is not what gets students into good schools. Rather, it is the strength of our curriculum. With my 8 years experience in test-prep, I make sure our materials are always up to standards and that any new teacher conform to the YPrep philosophy and teaching methods. In this way, I hope you all continue to have faith in YPrep Academy.

Looking towards the upcoming YPrep year (September-August), I’m excited to say we have a beautiful plan for expanding and further helping our students. Our great SAT and SAT+ courses are still the same. However, we’re working on an online academy to provide added service to our class students and as a standalone product. We’re also developing a free vocab app that comes preloaded with SAT vocab decks. They’ll be a couple in-app purchase options, but those will be for business English decks, or California slangs, or whatever English vocab decks we can think of. We’re also going to expand our CAE workshops and our college services. I know this is a sensitive subject in Thailand, especially with the reputation of the students here. Again, I want to reiterate that YPrep Academy does not engage in shady business practices. We will not make up resume items for students nor will we ghostwrite. However, to not provide advice or help brainstorm essay ideas is not prudent. Students around the world need college counseling and for Thai students to completely ignore it is a major disadvantage. Thus, we will expand our service so that we can provide our students with the expertise of our staff. We’ve gotten into the Ivy Leagues, Stanford, Oxford, the UCs, etc. It makes sense that we provide our students with information on admissions using our otherwise useless (in regards to real life) knowledge.

I am extremely excited for Year 2 of YPrep Academy. My vision has always been for YPA to be more than just a test-prep company. Yes, that is a major part of our business, but we’re hoping you all come to see us as more than that. On my end, I’ll work on providing seminars on random topics like “Why Stephen Hawking Believes The Higgs Field Could Destroy the Universe” (my major in college was chemistry) or “What Makes Ukraine So Attractive to Putin” (my master’s degree was in international politics). And on subjects I know nothing about, I hope to bring in guest lecturers. On your end, I hope you continue to ask us great questions or provide feedback. Through our continuous back-and-forth, I hope we can make YPrep Academy into an awesome organization. Here’s to Year 2!

Sincerely yours,

Lom

YPrep team and friends at our end-of-year celebration.

YPrep team and friends at our end-of-year celebration.

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