The Socratic Summer Academy was founded in 2010. It's a three-week sleepaway summer camp aimed at improvement on the SATs. Every year, using our carefully tailored curriculum and in-house textbook, in conjunction with College Board prep materials, we get higher and higher score improvements!
- For purposes of calculating score improvements, we break students into two categories:
-  students who start with the SSA method
-  students who’ve spent months or even years working with other teachers or programs
- Most programs find that students who are not as familiar with the SAT go up more in a new program than those who have already spent months or even years familiarizing themselves with the test.
Over the past eight summers, the average score improvement for students who began their instruction with SSA was 240 points (out of 1600), measured from their initial diagnostic score (a previously administered official SAT students take before beginning their instruction at our program) to their highest overall superscore.
The average score improvement for students who came to SSA having previously studied the SAT for an extensive period of time with another program or tutor was 135 points (out of 1600), calculated in the same way.
These averages have ranged up or down slightly from summer to summer - but have been generally consistent.
The overall average for all students (combining those with previous experience and those with none) was 203 points (out of 1600).
As most parents know, the SAT changed in March 2016. College Board switched to the infamous new SAT, which has been touted as less "gameable" and "harder" and "more critical-thinking focused". In the fourth year of teaching this test, we believe our methods, strategies, and curricula have proven to be helpful.
We focus on a Socratic approach to teaching, where information is more derived and less lectured. We believe in small-group instruction and most of the instruction happens in groups of 3 to 4 students with one teacher, or in team-taught setting in the classroom. We play games both inside the classroom and after meals to help reinforce our strategies or drill vocabulary, as well as putting the students on coaching teams to work towards goals which are sometimes SAT-related, and sometimes just fun. Weekly practice tests and specific goal-setting strategies built around each student's specific progress urges our students forward, and our instructors are people who love being around kids both as teachers and as people - they are just as likely to pose a philosophical conundrum as to tell a silly story that solidifies subject-verb agreement forever in a student's head.
In their free time, our students select elective courses like creative writing and environmental science, courses that expose them to diverse topics they rarely find at their high schools. During their free time, students hike Colgate's hills and mountains, swim in the pool, work out in the fitness center, play basketball, tennis, volleyball, soccer, ping pong, racquetball, or squash. Our teachers--role models who themselves attend or attended some of the best schools in the United States--serve as friends and mentors, guides through difficult decisions, chaperones on trips to the ice cream parlor, leaders of activities like quiz bowl or a cappella. And every week ends with a campfire on Saturday night as students roast S'mores and celebrate their togetherness at a campfire under the stars.