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The College Board Made a Big Announcement

Yesterday, on one of my professional list-serves, a colleague posted that a College Board rep told her that the SAT Subject Tests (also known as SAT IIs and usually with an eyeroll, in our day they were called achievement tests) were being cancelled. Forever. As you can imagine, this created a frenzy of posts as no one was able to verify the information.


Until this morning! By 8 am, I had emails from 3 parents wondering if it was true. Good news travels fast! Yes, the SAT IIs are going away. FOREVER.


Is this really good news? YES. Period. Full stop. It’s great that students have one less thing to stress over in this college process. For some, the first thought might be but my kid is a great test taker and now she won’t be able to show that. How will she stand out in the process? Test scores, subject and otherwise, have always been just one piece of the review process. So far this cycle, I have had students admitted to Penn, Brown, Northwestern and Duke. None of them submitted SAT II scores. If that’s not enough proof, remember that early in the pandemic, Yale announced that it would NOT review SAT IIs for this cycle, even if they were submitted.


The skeptic in me knows that the College Board rarely (read NEVER) has students’ best interest at heart, so it’s not surprising that they’ve announced this as a way to provide access to underserved students who are increasingly participating in their AP programs. Those of you wondering how one of the richest non-profits will survive the revenue loss from the SAT IIs now have your answer. They’re going to focus on getting more people to pay for the AP exams and likely tout how critical they are to admissions decisions which means more panic from families about whether or not to take the AP exams and whether or not to report scores. More on that another time.


Even better than this news is the fact that the College Board is also eliminating the optional SAT essay section. Since the third section was added to the SAT, the scoring has been flawed. They made it optional (more money for the College Board—do we see a pattern?!—and more anxiety for families) but there was still no validity to the scoring and fewer colleges considered the scores as time went on. Many of you have heard me say that colleges don’t pay attention to the essay section, but it’s hard to believe when it’s still offered and there are a handful of schools that still require it, even though they don’t factor the score into their decisions. Well, now it’s official. I knew what I was talking about!! Seriously, no one has to worry about the optional essay section ever again…until the College Board comes up with a new way to take your money and increase your anxiety!


For those of you who’d like to read about this without my editorial, the official announcement is here: https://allaccess.collegeboard.org/update-simplifying-our-work-and-reducing-demands-students I will be participating in a webinar on Thursday, and if there are any substantive updates, I will share them. In the meantime, focus on your grades, focus on your mental health, focus on the things you love that make you awesome humans. That’s what matters most in the college process and, more importantly, in life!


Stay safe.

Reena


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