If you want your child to be “Army Strong” for the SATs, there’s a website for that.
It’s called March2Success, and along with SAT prep courses, it features similar, self-paced study programs for the ACT tests, general math, English and science courses, and information on college admissions and financial aid.
New this year are nursing entrance exam practice tests for PAX-RN and PSB Registered Nursing School Aptitude, among others in that field. Also new are high school-level STEM courses that feature different levels of math, including micro and macro economics and finance, along with pre-engineering tracks.
“We commonly think of robotics when we think of STEM, but in reality it’s a lot more than that,” said Giovanna Hansen, the Education Services Specialist for the U.S. Army Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Battalion.
The courses are available to all students 13 years of age or older, and meet Common Core requirements. They’re free, come with no obligations and are relatively anonymous. Although the site has been available nationwide since 2003, it’s all but unknown in Lower Bucks County.
“We want to make sure the word is out. Not many schools know about it,” explained Hansen.
In the area encompassing Bristol Borough, Bristol Township, Bensalem, Neshaminy and Council Rock school districts, there were just two users in the last year. The Midweek Wire reached out to officials at those districts. Most hadn’t heard of the program, except Bensalem.
According to Susan Phy, community relations liaison for the district, their ROTC instructor just learned of it over the summer and plans to use some of its college prep lessons in his curriculum.
Hansen suggested lack of publicity playing a part in the low numbers, but also admitted concerns that the site doubling as a recruiting tool could be turning off potential users.
“It was not developed to increase the number of applicants to the Army. It was developed with the intent of public service,” she maintained. “The Army has invested a lot in education, and this is just one of the many tools it has presented.”
To use the courses, she pointed out, students don’t need to provide their addresses, Social Security numbers, school district or other identifying markers.
Users must list their name, gender, race, state and ZIP code and an email address. But Hansen said that information is used only to provide data on the site’s usage. While there are some military-oriented facets to the site, like links to articles about careers in the armed forces, general Army news and ways to contact recruiters, those are relegated to the bottom of the page, well below the course information.
“Sometimes, school administrators and families are hesitant because they’re afraid we’re tracking them or that it comes with obligations. We believe that could be a barrier,” she admitted.
In fact, the site’s courses don’t even include one yet to help students with the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery tests. There’s one in the works, but it’s not top priority — even though, as far as recruiting goes, it perhaps should be.
According to Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow, commanding general for U.S. Army Recruiting, more than two-thirds of high school students don’t qualify for military service. Nearly 10 percent of those disqualifications are due to low aptitude scores.
In general, “This program can help increase the number of young people who are eligible for military service,” he said in a press release regarding the site. But, he added, “More importantly, it helps improve the opportunities for success for all students, regardless of their desired career path.”
For information, visit http://www.march2success.com.