SAT option may harm low-income students

College Board’s new option that allows students to send SAT scores to universities by test date has stirred up a lot of discussion among the higher education community. When this option, Score Choice, becomes available to test takers in March, students will have control over which scores, by test date, their prospective universities will be able to see. Currently, university admissions automatically receive all scores.

Wes Waggoner, director of freshman admissions, said the university policy of considering applicants’ best section scores will remain – leaving the option of using Score Choice in prospective students’ hands. But it raises a few red flags.

Top-ranked institutions such as the University of Southern California, Yale, Stanford and Cornell universities around the country have rejected the option.

Jason Locke, a director of undergraduate admissions at Cornell, said in an e-mail that Score Choice will lead to students taking the SAT more times than they should.

This is a valid concern, especially at a costly private university like TCU, because it could further put students from low-income backgrounds at greater risk. Although most students don’t take the SAT more than three times, the option to conceal how many times a student takes a test might empower those who blew the test off the first few times to take it a few more – considering the option can be paid for.

It is commendable that admissions has chosen to give students control over their test scores. It is a little push toward the four-year launching pad toward adulthood. However, with costs of education constantly rising and low-income students already thrust in a bind when it comes to higher learning options, the university must consider the implications Score Choice might have on the admissions race. For some, there are many more hurdles before the finish line.

Managing editor Saerom Yoo for the editorial board.