2017 marks Elite Educational Institute’s 30-year anniversary. At 30, the company has achieved a global reach and an international reputation through diverse educational programming across 48 branches spanning seven countries.
But the company started from much humbler beginnings.
Elite first opened its doors in 1987, when Founder and CEO J. Patrick Park opened a small SAT preparation center in Rowland Heights, CA.
“When I started Elite thirty years ago,” Mr. Park recalls, “there weren't many SAT prep centers like ours. I saw an opportunity. From my own experiences attending a test prep center in Korea, I believed that, with the help of passionate teachers and excellent curriculum, I would be able to offer a better test prep program to our students.”
“Fast forward thirty years, and we have not only met but exceeded that initial vision.”
Elite’s current identity began to take shape in 1991 when students completed the company’s first SAT Summer Boot Camp, an intensive eight-week program that continues to be one of Elite’s most popular and transformative curricula.
In 1997, as the company expanded across Southern California, Elite opened a branch at Seoul Foreign School, establishing Elite Korea. Elite continued to expand internationally in 2003 with the opening of Elite Canada in Vancouver, BC. Expansion to Northern California soon followed as the company opened branches in San Francisco and Cupertino in 2005. In recent years, Elite has expanded across both the U.S., with branches in Texas, Virginia, and Washington, and Canada, with nine additional branches in British Columbia and Ontario. Since 2009, the company has also expanded its international reach with new branches in Korea, China, Indonesia, and Japan.
Elite’s expansion in North America and abroad has gone hand in hand with the emergence of new curricula and programming. These include Elite’s Total Learning Care Program (a holistic college prep program including intense enrichment classes, complete GPA management, and college counseling) and the Elite Vision Expo (an annual conference providing Elite students and parents with up-to-date college admissions information and insights on careers from working professionals), both inaugurated in 2011. Recent years have witnessed the emergence of Elite Community Scholars (a program providing primarily low-income and first-generation students with free SAT preparation and mentorship), EEI Creative Arts, and Elite Open School.
“One of Elite’s most exciting new endeavors is Elite Open School: a WASC-accredited private school launched last year that provides digital online courses for students who need flexibility in their educational experiences,” explains Elite CFO Kevin Sung. “This program meets the special needs of athletes, actors, homeschoolers, and students who just want to boost their GPAs by taking additional classes outside of their regular schools.”
Elite’s immediate future looks to be even more ambitious than its past. Over the past several years, the company has achieved WASC accreditation for 19 of its branches, with plans to pursue company-wide accreditation so all of its students can earn school credit at Elite. Perhaps most importantly, the company plans to expand its community outreach with additional scholarships and partnerships with local schools and organizations to provide free test preparation and college application workshops.
“From the beginning,” Mr. Park explains, “Elite has been devoted to helping students get ahead. Our present and future are especially focused on making sure that we make that opportunity available to all students, no matter what their background.”