Price’s Prep Class

Matthew Quintos, Writer

For the first time in the school’s history, Homestead will be introducing a class dedicated solely to aiding students interested in applying to highly selective institutions. This course will be available on an invitation basis to select sophomores and juniors the next academic school year. 

“We want to help our kids and their families make the best decisions for themselves and put them themselves in the position to go to the school of their choice or obtain scholarships they would not have been able to compete for otherwise,” Park Ginder, principal, said. 

The prerequisites of this course speak to the high academic quality of students entering it. Sophomores are required to have taken Honors Algebra II, AP World History and Honors 9 English. Juniors are required to have taken Precalculus/Trigonometry and Honors 10 English.  

“The students that this class has been marketed towards have put themselves in a position to be challenged academically by taking upper level classes and by doing very well in those classes,” Ginder said. “We want to help them take that next step.” 

The course is structured so that sophomores will enroll in the class during their spring semester and juniors will enroll in the course during their fall semester. Therefore, current sophomores who successfully complete their spring semester will be able to enroll in a second semester of instruction in the fall of their junior year. The course will count as an elective credit for all diplomas. 

“I have always tried my best to take the most challenging courses available, as I know I would like to attend a competitive university. This class seemed like a great opportunity to help me get there,” Ellie Villaruz (10), a student enrolled in the class, said.

The course description states that “Students will receive targeted instruction to strengthen their foundations in critical reading, writing, and mathematics sections of college admission and placement exams”. Simply put, the course is mainly centered around ensuring students can perform well on important exams necessary for successful applications to selective universities. 

“One of the ways that the vast majority of people benefit from taking the PSAT is that it can expose strengths and weaknesses for the SAT,” David Price said. 

Students are also hopeful that this course can improve their scores on standardized tests. 

“I think this class will be very helpful in improving my SAT score. I think it will also help me increase my PSAT score and qualify for national merit,” Ellie Villaruz (10) said.

Homestead has enjoyed considerable success in the realm of college admissions. Last year, Homestead sent two students to Harvard University. In the past two years, students have gained admission to USC, Dartmouth, Yale, Notre Dame, Boston College, Cornell, Emory and Boston University, among others. Admission to these schools is a laudable accomplishment and a testament to their academic dedication.

“We want to help these kids, if that is where their goals are, to be able to get to those places,” Ginder said.

Additionally, students could use this class to better position themselves for larger scholarship packages from state schools. There are many Homestead students who turn down selective institutions in favor of state schools with better scholarship packages. Some of these students attend Purdue or Indiana University on full ride scholarships, spending zero dollars on their college education.

“Our kids are making better economic decisions because they are seeing the value of a degree, not so much the title on the degree. Last year, we had three kids  who had either an Ivy League opportunity or a truly highly selective university and they decided to stay in town because they received full scholarships,” Ginder said.

Dr. Price, the course’s instructor, views this class as an excellent way to prepare students for college entrance exams. 

“The idea is to continue the preparation. The first year you take the PSAT, it does not really count for anything. The second year really counts in terms of National Merit potential. The vast majority of us, when I was a student, did not care about it. I even see that today and that is not a very good attitude to have towards the test. If you are forced to take it, take the opportunity to do well on it,” Price said. 

Dr. Price recognizes the importance that colleges and universities put on college entrance exams. This class will allow students to begin to prepare earlier for these exams.

“The course serves two purposes. One, boost the scores of people on the PSAT and two, in a broader context, prepare students for the SAT, which a lot of colleges take very seriously. You can really set yourself up to be noticed by colleges and universities, and that is the whole point (of the class),” Price said. 

While test preparation may be mundane for some, this class will help students reach their future goals; is that not a fair price to pay?