By JOANNE FOX
As a college instructor, Manoj Patil saw first-hand that it takes more than being skilled at readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmatic to get into an institution of higher learning.
The former Western Iowa Tech Community College chemistry teacher shared those insights with Bishop Heelan High School students and parents at an ACT prep meeting, Oct. 11, at the school’s fine arts building.
Patil founded New Horizon Tutoring of Dakota Dunes, S.D., in 2008 to help students achieve at a higher academic level. Initially, the program was an offshoot of the online tutoring program EduXcel.com, where he served as its director of U.S. and Canada operations.
“I was not looking for another job at that time,” insisted Patil, who taught chemistry for 15 years. “I had observed a lot of my students did not have strong fundamentals to succeed at the collegiate level. I couldn’t watch them struggle, so decided to do something about it.”
Subsequently, Patil formed his own business and discovered the experience was different than teaching in a traditional classroom.
“To run a successful business you need perseverance, dedication, ability to change and accepting the fact that you will make a mistake or two,” he said.
Part of New Horizon Tutoring’s outreach is to form relationships with schools – including Heelan since 2011.
“We have had funding in place from a number of entities to make sure this was affordable for Heelan parents,” he said. “Without much warning, all of the funding fell through, but we had already enrolled 44 students.”
In collaboration with Bob Geary, Bishop Heelan counselor, Patil decided to go forth with the collaboration, despite the loss of the subsidies. Geary pointed out to those present, an association with New Horizon would be beneficial to the students.
“It’s all about making more options available for students to strengthen their academic skills,” he said. “They receive a great education at Heelan; this just enhances that education.”
The program meets at the school for seven sessions, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Oct. 18 through Dec. 6, wrapping up just prior to the Dec. 9 ACT testing, Patil noted.
“We focus on preparation for the ACT, SAT, PSAT and include tutoring in math and science,” he said.
When asked why this type of tutoring was so important, Patil pointed to modification in the way colleges admit students and award scholarships.
“It all changed about 2012 when many colleges stopped giving ‘full rides,’” he said. “They were focusing more on the ACT score, a core GPA with advanced classes and recommendation letters. Class rank and whether or not you were the valedictorian didn’t seem to matter much anymore. Just one point difference in an ACT score can make a difference in a scholarship award.”
Geary agreed with those sentiments.
“We will be looking closely and tracking the scores the students achieve on the testing,” he said. “I’m optimistic that with parental support and students doing the work expected of them, we shall see great success.”
Patil stated it was particularly gratifying to see students become excited about their academic talents.
“It is truly gratifying to see students gaining admission to the colleges of their choice and being rewarded with scholarships to top colleges,” Patil added. “We, as a community, need to push for academics; otherwise, our students may not be able to compete at the national/international level.”
For more information, contact Patil at (712) 204-6876 or info@gotonew