All Aboard the College Board

The services offered by the College Board is an effective tool for high school students to build college aptitude and a compelling application.

Since different school districts use different methods to calculate students’ grade point averages (GPA), the number is an unreliable representation of students’ academic ability, according to the Huffington Post. Although admission officers account for these differences, a universal way of calculating academic potential must be used to minimize bias. Scores from the SAT impartially examine a student’s comprehensive ability to critically read, write and solve math problems.

Similarly, SAT subject tests and Advanced Placement (AP) exams offered by the College Board objectively show comprehension on a specific subject. SAT subject tests evaluate the adroitness in common high school classes such as biology and world history, and taking an AP exam shows the capability of completing college-level courses. These scores strengthen your application by showing how you have consistently challenged yourself academically.

Furthermore, AP exam scores can save time and money upon enrolling in college by becoming credit for required classes. For instance, the University of Southern California will offer four elective credits for every AP exam scored four or higher, which may even allow you to graduate earlier. Meanwhile, a 540 or higher on any language SAT subject test or a score of three or higher on any language AP exam can excuse you from having to take a required foreign language class in high school.

Aside from standardized tests, the College Board also offers an online database for college and career planning to guide students through the complex college application process. Starting with finding a university that fits your preferences, it can also provide a list of scholarships and merits you can apply for.

College Board may be far from a pure non-profit organization that acts in the best interest of the students. However, it does offer discounted fees for students in need of financial aid. After all, It accomplishes its most important job of helping students through their transition from high school to a life beyond.