Interview with Shaan Patel, founder 2400 SAT.
Tell us one unique thing about yourself?
I grew up in my parent’s budget motel in Las Vegas far from the glamor of the strip.And I went to urban public schools in the worst school district in the nation with a 40% dropout rate. But after volunteering at a local hospital emergency department in high school, I was inspired to become a physician. I wanted to get into combined BA/MD programs that offered high school students a guaranteed spot in med school. This meant no stress about applying to med school in college. However, the acceptance rate at these programs is often less than 5% and a 2200 is often the minimum SAT score needed. After I only scored an average 1760 on my first practice SAT exam, I began self-studying for the test. I discovered many simple strategies that helped me improve my SAT score 640 points to a perfect 2400. Of the 15 million students who have taken the new SAT, about 3,000 have gotten a perfect score – that’s just .02%! My SAT score changed my life. I was valedictorian, homecoming king, a National Merit Finalist, and a White House Presidential Scholar – where I got to meet the President of the United States! I received over 20 private merit scholarships that totaled a quarter-million dollars from companies like Coca-Cola, Toyota, and McDonald’s. But most importantly, my SAT score helped me get into the BA/MD program at USC on a full scholarship.
What prompted you to found the company?
Ironically, I never planned to start a business at all. In college, I wanted to write an SAT prep book to help students prepare for the SAT the way that I did. Unfortunately, most literary agents rejected my book proposal citing that SAT prep is just too competitive. Even when I secured a literary agent, my book was turned down by every major publisher, with one editor even stating she “didn’t find Shaan’s writing or persona particularly engaging – he’s not a great writer, no matter what his score is.” After losing hope for a book deal, I decided to leverage my material to launch 2400 Expert. I used $900 I had leftover from my college scholarships to launch a website for 2400 Expert to advertise the only SAT prep course by a student who got a perfectscore in high school. It was originally supposed to be a one-time summer course I taught to help pay for upcoming med school expenses. But after the pilot class had an average score improvement of 376 points (unheard of in the industry), demand for future courses was high. So I trained qualified instructors and have continued to manage the company remotely from med school in Los Angeles. When McGraw-Hill saw what I was building, they offered me a book deal after all.
We are now the largest test prep provider in Nevada. Expanding 2400 Expert both in Las Vegas and online has been done in my spare time when I’m not studying for medical licensing board exams or on 36-hour surgical rotation shifts at the hospital.
Now, I have taken a two-year leave of absence from med school at USC to attend business school at Yale in order to learn how to scale a company. I will then return to USC to finish my last year of med school.
Do you plan to go back to the medical field?
Yes. Entrepreneurs can make a positive change in the lives of thousands at once. Physicians can make a positive change in the life of one at a time. I think I have the unique opportunity to do both. So I don’t plan on squandering that prospect.
What is your advice to high school students regarding extracurricular activities? Is there one better than the other regarding college admissions?
Do what you love. Whatever you do, be very involved in it. It is better to be heavily involved with 2-3 activities then to just be a member of 10 organizations. Make sure you apply for leadership positions in the clubs you are a part of.
Do you think Asian students are discriminated by the Ivy League Schools?
Unfortunately, Asian students are competing against each other. Because Asian students typically have the highest grades and test scores, they need to really be the cream of the crop in order to be admitted into some of the country’s most prestigious universities.
What are the benefits of joining 2400Expert.com?
2400 Expert offers the only curriculum with 100 strategies developed by a perfect score SAT student. We offer double the course hours at half the price with top instructors (including myself). But most importantly, we have an industry-leading average SAT score improvement of 376 points — compared to most companies that only improve scores 50-100 points.
Is the new SAT a clone of ACT?
The SAT has certainly become more like the ACT (optional essay, science passages, four choices, etc.). However, this is great news for students! For the first time ever, students should feel prepared for both tests even if they only studied for one.
As an Indian what was your greatest advantage and disadvantage in high school and college?
Greatest advantage: Having parents who valued education and provided the support necessary to succeed.
Greatest disadvantage: Applying to college and medical school is more competitive for an Indian American student.
What is one book that all high school students must read?
My own book of course :)! SAT 2400 in Just 7 Steps by Shaan Patel.
What is your favorite food?