ESSEX COUNTY, NJ – Twenty-six students are giving up their Saturday mornings for 8 weeks to prepare for the SATs. For over a decade, the Essex County (NJ) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated (ECCL) has been providing SAT preparation classes to students who apply and qualify. Partnering with nationally renowned Kaplan, Inc., the course is designed to strengthen students’ skills and test taking capabilities.

For the past two years, the program led by ECCL committee Co-Chairs Mikki Murphy and ShawnDya Simpson, has been held in the Media Center at West Orange High School. “The SAT Prep class is a part of our Road Map to College Program, which is an award-winning program in existence for 15 years. The Road Map to College Program includes a plethora of workshops, activities and events. Over the years we’ve modified and expanded the program which has allowed us to provide services to students and families in Essex County”, expresses Simpson. 

To apply for the SAT Prep class, students have to provide their PSAT scores, have a good GPA and write an essay. Participating students receive a Kaplan SAT workbook and are granted access to Kaplan online instruction videos and practice sessions throughout the course and for several weeks after the program ends. There are eight three-hour sessions – a diagnostic and one practice test and six instructional classes. The course involves significant student commitment and there is weekly homework. “It’s an incredible opportunity for the students to learn from a Kaplan instructor. The students wake up early and come focused and prepared for instruction every Saturday morning. The practice tests in class and at home allow them and us to track their progress.” says Murphy. Students are encouraged to take the SAT exam immediately at the end of the course in May.

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ECCL member Julie Jackson enjoyed working with the students every week and also had the privilege of handing out certificates and awards on the last day. Here are some quotes from the students: 

“I learned a lot in this short time. I enjoyed being able to work through problems with my classmates and have the instructor answer questions, thank you for recognizing my effort. I was excited to have received the Certificate of Achievement award.” -Roberto Franco. 

“I look forward to coming on Saturday and learning how to prepare for the SAT class. The small class and getting the opportunity to do practice exams and practice problems helped me to better understand the material. I will miss coming on Saturday’s.” -Justin Sabedra. 

“This SAT course was great. The pacing of the class allowed time to practice, ask questions and then do more practice.  As a result, I better understand the material and feel more confident.” -Ashlea Hume

“Our Road Map to College Program is one of the many ways we give back to the community. The overall goal of the program is to increase college readiness of students and provide a comprehensive approach and exposure to important components of the college admission process, scholarships and the Arts.” states ECCL President Bobbie Polk. The Essex County (NJ) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated incurs all costs for the program, and the members supervise all workshops, activities and events. 

About The Links, Incorporated

The Links, Incorporated is an international, not-for-profit corporation, established in 1946. The membership consists of nearly 14,000 professional women of color in 284 chapters located in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and the United Kingdom. It is one of the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of extraordinary women who are committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. Essex County (NJ) Chapter, The Links, Incorporated was established in 1986. Bobbie Polk, President, Essex County (NJ) Chapter of The Links, Inc.