The recent College Board announcement extolling a new and improved SAT, launching in Spring 2016, is akin to Darth Vader proclaiming an upcoming change in lightsaber color – who cares what it looks like when its end result is pain! For decades the SAT has been a vital part of the college admissions process, though it is easy to forget that it was never truly meant to help students. Instead, it is a tool used by colleges to make slightly more informed decisions on a given student’s admissibility. In fact it’s an amazing thing to consider that the College Board’s true customers are colleges and universities, but it is students that pay for the test. What a business model, eh? While David Coleman, the College Board President, is lauding the changes as a great step forward for students, he is conveniently ignoring his organization’s true motivations. The test isn’t changing because it has been an unfair stumbling block for college bound students (it has been), but because a growing number of colleges no longer require it for admission – now over 800 schools – and because the SAT has lost market share to the ACT.
All that being said, the test will remain a part of the college admission process for the foreseeable future, so rather than lament its existence, let’s take advantage of it. First, these changes only impact students who are currently freshman (Class of 2017) or younger. Older students don’t have to worry about these changes and will still be taking the current SAT and/or ACT as part of the admissions process. Both of which are known entities that The Princeton Review can outsmart with its eyes closed – just as we have for over 30 years.
The chart on the next page captures the main differences between the current SAT and the one students will be up against in 2016. Of course things can change a bit between now and then, so stay up to date by bookmarking and regularly checking www.princetonreview.com/SATchanges.