Why I can’t stand the Collegeboard

Isabelle Paley | The Chronicle

My high school career has been defined by my College Board test scores. I live for the 4’s and 5’s given to me at the end of the year. But as much as I love challenging myself in rigorous classes, I hate the Collegeboard.

The College Board is just a monopoly hidden behind the words “non-profit organization.” Millions of high schoolers depend on this so-called “non-profit” to get into college, often paying hundreds of dollars a year just to take a three-hour test. As described by Cornell Law, a nonprofit organization is “a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, public or social benefit, in contrast with an entity that operates as a business aiming to generate a profit for its owners.” In 2019, the College Board made a whopping $1.2 billion. Where did that $1.2 billion go to allow the College Board to call themselves a non-profit? Surely a test booklet doesn’t cost that much, right?

The future of teenagers is based on a score out of 1600 or a 1-5 scale. And that measly little number provides a great influence whether they get accepted into the college of their choice. The AP and SAT exams are a trap that the College Board devised to get students to pay for a good grade. And that is a trap that I have personally fallen into. As I am finishing my high school career, I will have ended up paying the College Board a total of $1,077 for the 9 AP tests and 3 SATs that I have taken/plan to take throughout my school years. That price doesn’t even include sending my scores to colleges or the countless test prep books that I have bought. And I am just one person out of millions who take one of these exams.

But I am privileged in that I have the opportunity to pay the steep fee for a standardized test. Many people are deterred from taking the SAT or AP tests due to the price tag associated with it. There is a fee waiver for certain students, but many people don’t take part in that program due to the lengthy application process to get one granted. The College Board is supporting the epidemic of increased academic opportunities for wealthier individuals and even furthering the divide between socio-economic status and education.

And there is no one to stop the head of the College Board, David Colman, and his little minions from getting every cent possible out of desperate high schoolers. Even though monopolies are illegal in the US, because the company hides under the mask of a non-profit, few individuals are going to attempt to stop these gruesome actions.

And the worst part is, there is no way for students to avoid services provided by the College Board, as they need them to attend most universities. Students are required to take the SAT, send in AP scores, or fill out a CSS profile. So there is no providing checks and balances for this billion-dollar corporation. I hope that one day there will be a way to end the reign the College Board has over teenage Americans, but for now, I am sadly going to have to go along paying money for a company that only wants to exploit everything out of its users.