Orange Unified provided SAT, PSAT to 8,000 high school students

As part of a growing statewide effort to have more students take the SAT and PSAT, the Orange Unified School District provided the exams at no cost to about 8,000 students earlier this month.

This is the third straight year Orange Unified has provided the SAT and PSAT to students for free. Students typically have to pay up to $104 to take the exams. But Orange is among a growing number of districts across the county and statewide that absorbs the fees so more students can participate in the exams that are part of the college application process.

The district also offered the exams during the regular school day on “SAT Day,” which fell this year on Oct. 10.

“Orange Unified is committed to providing its students with opportunities and resources that promote and facilitate college and career readiness,” Supt. Dr. Gunn Marie Hansen said in a news release. “One of the ways that we deliver on that commitment is by dedicating time for our high school students to take the SAT or PSAT, as a community, and at no cost to them or their families.

“It’s an experience that not only prepares and positions them to attend college, but it can also open doors for students who may not otherwise take the SAT or envision college as part of their futures,” she added.

A partnership between Orange Unified and the College Board makes it possible for all high school students to take the exams and access free online resources and a personalized study plan through the College Board’s own partnership with Khan Academy.

In Orange County, other districts that offer the SAT for free to all students include the Santa Ana Unified School District, the Laguna Beach Unified School District and Tustin Unified.

Villa Park High School Principal Dr. Ken Miller said he can attest to the value and importance of SAT Day and its ability to change the plans of some students, after high school.

“Over the past three years, I have had a number of students graduate from Villa Park and then enroll in college, as a direct result of their taking the entrance exam on SAT Day,” Miller said. “Some of them didn’t believe they were cut out for college and they weren’t intending to take the exam.”