It’s Time to Retire the SAT


School Day SAT guide booklet

The College Board is perhaps the most controversial topic when it comes to college applications. This is because the College Board administers the SAT test, a standardized test taken by high schoolers all across the United States. The concept behind The College Board’s SAT seems genuine, but many critics argue that the College Board’s monopoly on standardized testing has caused them to prioritize profit over education. This raises the question: is the College Board manipulating students out of their money?


While not mandatory for all college applications, the vast majority of high school students end up taking the SAT. The exam itself costs $55, and each score sent to a college costs an additional $12. In addition to the already expensive college application fees, high schoolers have to pay even more money to make their applications competitive. Is the SAT really necessary? The idea behind it is solid. There are many different factors that contribute to the need for standardized testing. The main reason is that different high schools have different rigor levels of grading. For example, a student in a school with an easy grading system will be able to easily attain a 4.0 GPA, however, a student in a school with a rigorous grading system will struggle to attain a high GPA. To account for grade inflation, standardized tests like the SAT put all students on an even playing field, and allow colleges to see how students perform under equal conditions. 

Despite these important factors, the SAT exam is not a just or accurate representation of a student’s academic capabilities. A few hours in a testing center should not have a major impact on a student’s acceptance into a college or university. 

“I think they are a scam,” said senior Shiva Venugopal who is currently going through the college application process. “They are not the best way to truly assess a person’s intelligence or ability to fit in with a school. The test only covers certain topics so the students who aren’t strong in those areas or are not the best test takers are disadvantaged.” 

Venugopal is not alone in his thinking, this sentiment is shared by many of his fellow high school students. Standardized tests like the SAT do not accurately depict a student’s capabilities. Additionally, Venugopal makes a very important point when addressing the fact that the SAT only covers a select few subjects (Math and English), and does not shine a light on the students who are gifted in other subjects such as science, history, or even the arts.

There are many good arguments as to why the College Board and its infamous SAT should be replaced, but doing so is easier said than done. 

“Since there is no immediate replacement to these tests which have been adopted by schools for so long, it will be difficult for change to be enacted,” said Venugopal. “The implementation of test-blind applications by UC schools seems like the best immediate solution, but it is not so easy to implement this around the entire college system.” 

Venugopal is exactly right; at this time there is no good alternative to the College Board’s SAT. Test-optional applications are the next best thing for students’ college applications. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, many colleges are allowing students to submit applications without test scores, which may put pressure on the College Board to make some much needed changes. As for a long-term fix, I suggest a more standardized grading system across the nation to eliminate grade inflation and add more accuracy to students’ GPAs. I conclude that the College Board is most definitely a scam, as there is no reason for them to overcharge for a test that does not accurately reflect a student’s capabilities.