CCNY Library Exhibit Honors Test Prep Pioneer Stanley Kaplan

CCNY Library Exhibit Honors Test Prep Pioneer Stanley Kaplan
Stanley Kaplan

Stanley H. Kaplan, '39, 'MSE '41


While still a student at The City College of New York, Stanley H. Kaplan, ’39, MSE ’41, started a tutoring business in the basement of his parent’s Brooklyn home that grew into an international leader in test preparation and higher education. A new City College Libraries exhibit tells the story of his life and work, including his philanthropic activities. 

The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, runs through December 31 on the main floor of the Cohen Library, located in the North Academic Center. It features papers and photographs from a collection of materials Mr. Kaplan donated to his alma mater, which will be on display for the first time, according to City College Archivist Professor Sydney Van Nort.  

A reception celebrating the exhibit will be held 6 – 8 p.m. Wednesday, October 10, in the Cohen Library Archives. Among those attending will be Andrew S. Rosen, Chairman and CEO of Kaplan Inc., the successor company to the business Mr. Kaplan began and later sold to The Washington Post Company; Gali Cooks, executive director of the Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation, and members of the Kaplan family.  

“Stanley Kaplan was a true City College original who overcame personal setbacks and went on to establish an enterprise that has helped millions of students around the world gain access to higher education,” noted City College President Lisa S. Coico. “We are proud to be able to use items from his collection of personal papers and photographs to tell the remarkable story of his life.”  

Denied admission to New York City medical schools due to strict quotas for Jewish students, Mr. Kaplan championed admitting students based on academic ability rather than schools’ needs. His business, founded in 1938 as the Stanley H. Kaplan Co., offered classes to help students improve their scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and went on to offer classes to help students prepare for tests used for admission to graduate and professional schools.  

Although educators at the time scoffed at Mr. Kaplan’s notion that students could study for the SAT and other admission tests, an investigation launched by the Federal Trade Commission in 1979 concluded otherwise. He sold the business, now known as Kaplan Inc., to The Washington Post Company in 1984.  

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