Issaquah High School graduate becomes SAT coach

June 7, 2011

By Laura Geggel

Stephen Jacobson did so well on the SAT, he’s teaching a course to help others ace the test.

Stephen Jacobson

Jacobson, a 2009 graduate of Issaquah High School, earned a 2,380 out of a possible 2,400 on his SAT exam. Now, the sophomore at Vanderbilt University is majoring in mechanical engineering and minoring in engineering management.

Not surprisingly, math is his favorite section of the SAT, but he has an encyclopedia of tips he plans to share concerning the reading and writing sections, too.

“It’s about beating the test,” Jacobson said. “It’s not about knowing everything.”

This past year, Ivy Insiders, a program offered through Revolution Prep, contacted Jacobson, asking him if he would teach a prep SAT class this summer in Issaquah. The hiring process for Ivy Insiders is selective; only undergraduates who have scored in the 99th percentiles on the SAT within the past three years can teach the company’s classes.

The company also looks at leadership qualities, and was impressed with his résumé, which included earning his Eagle Scout badge and placement as a National Merit scholar.

“Stephen is our ideal instructor,” Ivy Insiders Program Director Jane Gagnon said. “He was a community leader in high school and he scored fabulously well on the SAT. We thought that Stephen would be the perfect role model.”

When college administrators look at a student’s application, the SAT is between 25 percent and 35 percent of their decision to accept a student, Gagnon said.

Jacobson, who has tutored at Issaquah High and at Vanderbilt, said he enjoyed helping others reach their full potential.

“I like the idea of teaching kids to do as well as I did on the SAT, and helping them get into a school that they want to get into,” he said.

Interested students can take a free SAT practice test or attend a free SAT workshop.

This summer, Jacobson will offer two three-week courses, the first from June 27 to July 18, and the other from July 18 to Aug. 8. Each class, costing $599, will have up to 20 students entering their junior or senior year of high school, but most classes have an average of seven people, Gagnon said.

A hybrid class of private tutoring and online resources is $899. Classes are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If you go

Free SAT practice exam

  • 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 11
  • Free SAT workshop
  • 4-7 p.m. June 21
  • Lake Sammamish Elks Lodge, 765 Rainier Blvd. N.

Register online at

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