With schools back in session, and many preparing for their futures beyond the classroom, it is no doubt that testing is on everyone’s mind. Not just your regular calculus test, but the College Board exams have already prompted students to prepare for them.
If you’re a student who already has a busy workload, exam days are the most dreaded of them all. But there is more to school than attending classes and studying at night, and is it all worth it?
As the pandemic led to school shutdowns, many colleges and universities made statements saying that most College Board Exams (SAT, ACT, etc.) were optional for entry, and would not affect your chances of getting in if you decide to take it or not. In fact, over 900 colleges have made changes to their ACT and SAT requirements, some permanent, a fast change even for the College Board to make.
Although these changes are reasonable due to everyone’s displacement from the pandemic, it makes you wonder how this became the first change many colleges decided to do. For years we were always told that colleges rely heavily on our ACT/SAT scores, and that is why we must do well and take the exam. But now, it’s like it doesn’t even matter what colleges said in the past like it was a forgotten message and a simple change for them.
Application fees didn’t change, neither did the price of college, but tests were a top priority for change and to make it easier on those applying to colleges, tests only a few wealthy families can afford, as well as the other necessities needed to pass.
In a way, it does give some financial relief to those who were thinking about the exam. To take the SATs, you pay about $55, but that’s not the end of the payments. A change/cancelation fee is $25, a prep book is around $30, and if you want to know more about your results over the phone it’s an additional $15, and $31 to hear previous scores, not to mention how much it might cost to get a tutor or take prep classes. Many families scrape together enough money to afford the exam, let alone any additional fees needed to successfully pass.
The College Board, claiming to be a “not-for-profit membership organization committed to excellence and equity in education,” sure is quick to collect money from students who are overwhelmed by not only the test itself but the financial burden that comes along with it.
Since colleges were so quick to cancel an exam that is proven to have no direct affect on your college success, how long have they known that these exams were just a gimmick to collect funds for a not-for-profit organization? How long have they been profiting on stressed students worried about their future because an expensive test tells them their future?
This wasn’t just a pandemic problem and it’s a shame it only took a pandemic to make changes possible. A change that seemed so casual that it feels like the colleges didn’t think it would make a difference, but the difference is as big as the stack of cash sitting in the College Board’s pocket.