Course Objective

COURSE OBJECTIVE: COLLEGE PREP AND STANDARDIZED TEST READING/WRITING SKILLS


The course aims to provide the foundational information and skills associated with college preparatory education at the highest level. Basing its approach on the model of Bloom’s Taxonomy of critical thinking skills, the course traces the path of western thought from the Ancient Greeks to the modern world, presenting key facts and personalities, explaining ideas, applying the ideas to real world questions, analyzing their practical significance, evaluating conflicting concepts, and creating original perspectives.


HOW CAN THIS COURSE HELP STUDENTS GET INTO ELITE COLLEGES?


As Harvard’s Helen Vendler put it, “We are eager to harbor the next Homer, the next Kant, or the next Dickinson.” Our course aims to inspire students ready to accept that challenge.


Harvard Admissions Dean Fitzsimmons wrote this about the recent redesign of the SAT: “If you work hard in the classroom on a daily basis, you will significantly improve your chances of doing well on the SAT and graduating from the college of your choice. Most important of all, you will be better able to embrace learning in all its forms, from the humanities to the social sciences, the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics. The new SAT will help prepare our future citizens for leadership roles in the nation and the world.”


The new SAT was explicitly designed to repudiate the old model of test prep: learning “tricks” is precisely the approach colleges oppose. Students who aim for high scores by learning short cuts are almost certainly going to be rejected by top schools.


Recognizing that today’s public education too often fails to provide a learning environment and curriculum in touch with the highest level of learning, our course is designed to connect students with the foundational ideas they would get at schools like Phillips Andover, Exeter, or Thacher, helping them develop the reading and writing skills they need to compete with the best students anywhere on the globe.