Should We Cancel The College Board?

Should We Cancel The College Board?

Sarah Pine, Contributor

The College Board: the source of stress for all high school students. We’ve all had our fair share of experiences with the College Board, whether it was with the PSAT, SAT, or AP classes, and we all probably have the same dislike for those things. Recently, there has been a movement on social media that has called out the College Board for not only creating unnecessary stress for students, but also being racist and classist. 

If you aren’t familiar with this argument, it basically states that because College Board tests are expensive, they are not accessible for low income students, therefore stripping them of opportunities that wealthier students have, and hurting their chances of getting into selective colleges. Also, being that the SAT is highly specific in its style, many students need tutoring to bring up their scores, which is not possible for students in low-income homes. Since many colleges, at least pre-covid, used SAT and AP scores to guide their decision making, wealthier students have an unfair advantage because of their more expansive opportunities within the College Board’s testing system. 

Although COVID-19 has largely diminished the importance of the SAT, students have still felt immense pressure to succeed on the test, believing that not submitting their scores will adversely affect their chances of getting into selective colleges. I know that I have felt this pressure, and it seems to be the same for other students. 

Personally, I have trouble saying anything positive about the College Board. Firstly, I had to have four separate SAT tutors to bring up my scores to the appropriate level for the colleges I applied to, leading to me taking the SAT three times. I worked through at least five textbooks and over fifteen timed practice tests, and combined, I probably studied for at least a year to get my desired score. Not only that, but I also saw extreme negligence and informality from the College Board, as I signed up for the June 2021 test, and the College Board unexpectedly canceled my test without giving me any alternative options. According to their email, my test center closed at the last minute, however, after phone calls and some digging, I found out that the test center never planned on administering the test, and the College Board simply forgot to take it off of the registering options. Upon hearing the news of my cancellation, I had a panic attack. I had been studying for that test for months, and I finally thought that I would get the score I wanted. My parents had spent hundreds of dollars on my tutoring, and I had worked through copious amounts of practice problems and multiple full length tests. The College Board left my options pretty limited, and I had to spend the entirety of my summer preparing for the next test date, which was in late August. I felt defeated, and not only that, but taking the SAT and not achieving the score I wanted also made me feel stupid. I did eventually get the score I wanted, but that also came with thousands of dollars spent, hundreds of hours worked, and intense emotional turmoil. Also, AP classes are pretty tough too, so I can’t see many benefits in the College Board’s system. 

Yes, there are a few positives that have come out of the College Board. A selective group of extremely smart students receive scholarships for their PSAT scores, and students can be exempt out of some college courses with certain AP scores. Nonetheless, these few benefits don’t seem to be worth all of the trouble that the College Board has created. The College Board favors wealthy students, as well as students who are natural test takers, which in no way reflects their real academic or extracurricular achievements. Fortunately, most people agree with this argument, and many colleges, namely the University of California system, have stopped considering SAT scores in their selection process. We can only hope that other universities follow suit, and that the College Board’s corporation will go up in flames.