College Board wields too much power upon high school students


This is one of the main offices of the non-profit organization The College Board; located in Reston, VA. Photo credit: Joseph Freeman and Associates.

Braden Ward, Staff Writer

In the 21st century, college is increasingly pushed on students. Starting as early as elementary school, it’s hammered into the minds of young students that college is a necessity for succeeding in life.

The pros of attending a four-year university are put on a pedestal while the cons of college are often hidden away.    

This is a problem because it creates a sense of tunnel vision for students’ choices after high school. There are many other great choices for students after high school, such as vocational education; however, these options aren’t as encouraged.

Even attending community college is looked down upon by some students as it’s not seen as “prestigious” as attending a four-year university.

Colleges and college associated programs/organizations should loosen their grip on primary and secondary schools and their students.

An example of a program/organization choking high school students to death is the College Board. College Board is in charge of the PSAT/NMSQT test, SAT test, and Advanced Placement (AP) classes.

For example, students in Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) take the PSAT/NMSQT from 8th grade through eleventh grade.

The only way out of taking the test in school is to skip school, but it’s specifically designed to prepare students to do well on the SAT. A test that many students won’t take at all or do is the American College Test (ACT).   

Whether or not a student wants to go to college doesn’t matter, students will still end up taking the PSAT more than once.

The College Board also runs the AP courses, these classes are designed to be more rigorous and challenging while also being worth a college credit. For example, AP Calculus AB is equivalent to taking Calculus 1 in college.

However, the college credit is only given to a student if their college accepts their exam score. Some colleges don’t accept any AP classes for college credit, so the student may have to pay a boat load of money for a class they already took.

Students who take the AP class for the challenge or extra content and don’t take the exam are looked down upon by their teachers and sometimes their peers.

In turn, it is obvious that the College Board has a tight grip and an obscene amount of power/influence on the secondary schools of America.

However, it’s not like they have bad intentions; college does have undeniable benefits. People who attend college generally make more money than their peers who don’t attend college. College, though expensive, can also provide more choices for jobs, specifically those in technology and science. 

However, if students were more careful in selecting more economical colleges, then the level of student loans/debt could be helped. A staggering 66 percent of students graduate from public colleges with debt. This can be “fixed” with scholarships, which definitely helps, but can only help so much.

Colleges and their associated organizations simply need to loosen their grip on primary and secondary school students.

This is easier said than done as AP classes are encouraged by millions of educators in this nation. Maybe schools could encourage and advertise post secondary options, like the military or the traditional workforce. Students could earn money through these options first before heading straight to an university to earn a degree they are not even convinced is their passion. 

Too much power is never a good thing in any circumstances, and that’s exactly what we are dealing with when it comes to the College Board.