The Wessex Wire

The Student News Site of West Essex Regional High School

The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

STAFF EDITORIAL: College Board policies prove that students are just a dollar sign

Photo courtesy of Dr. Blazer (CC BY-SA 4.0)
The College Board’s striking fees and policies enrage ambitious students.

Students at West Essex are lucky to have access to a wide variety of AP classes that give them a chance to challenge themselves, boost their GPA and get college credit. Though they take on more hours of homework and studying, AP classes appear to benefit students more than they disadvantage them. That is, until the corrupt and predatory nature of the College Board, the association that controls everything from our AP classes to the SAT, comes to light. 

One of the main grievances students have with the College Board is the high price tag associated with their exams. It costs $100 to take each AP exam, discouraging some people from adding additional AP classes to their schedule. At West Essex, like many schools, students are required to take the exam in order to get AP weighting on the class’s GPA, which further discourages students from enrolling in APs, because they cannot take the class without paying the expensive price. For students on the fence about registering for an AP class, the fees may prove the deciding factor, rather than the workload, the teacher or other academic concerns that should be at the forefront of their mind. 

Once exam scores have been released in July, students determine whether to send their scores to colleges. On top of every other fee they have already paid, students get one free “send” but must pay $15 per school beyond that to send their exam results. Instead of being rewarded for their hard work, ambitious students feel like their scores are being held hostage;  data from the Guidance Department suggests the typical West Essex senior applies to seven or eight schools, so the potential cost of paying an extra $90 or more is just another layer of financial burden.

Another entity controlled by the College Board is the SAT, in which juniors study for months to hopefully earn a score they can feel proud of. Not only are the costs of preparation in the form of tutors, review books and online courses expensive, the exam itself costs $60 each time you take it. Many people do not have the luxury of achieving their goal score on the first attempt and study for months to take the test multiple times. While the College Board is aware of the rigorous demands of the test and the time it takes to get a score high enough to submit to top colleges, the fee for the exam is the same every time and can add up quickly.

The intended purpose of having one organization that controls many facets of students’ academic lives is to make the testing experience easier and more efficient for students. However, this year the College Board chose to schedule the SAT on May 4, just two days before the first AP Exams were administered. This organization is aware of how much material is covered on both exams, and they still chose to schedule them so close together. The College Board clearly has no care for the well-being of their students and is simply taking their money without consideration. 

And where is this money even going? Any AP student knows that their funds do not go to making a better website. AP Classroom is a College Board-run website that allows AP teachers to assign review materials throughout the year. It is especially relied on during AP exam week, but this year their website crashed the evening before both the AP Human Geography and AP Statistics exams. Students were at a disadvantage because they could not get in a much-needed last-minute review. Considering the innumerable fees that go straight into the College Board’s pocket, they clearly have the money to improve the quality of their website. However, their neglect for the quality of education that students experience is obvious in their decision not to improve their site.

While boycotting the College Board is not an option for students looking to better their chances for admission at four year college, it is essential to make their unfair practices widely known. Students who work so hard in high school with the goal of earning acceptance to their dream college should not face the ramifications of College Board’s neglectful policies. The organization is supposed to be on students’ sides during the competitive and cutthroat college application process, but their obvious disregard for students’ well-being makes it seem like they’re on the opposite team.

Photo credit: “College Board” by Dr. Blazer is linked under (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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