Students now get to choose which scores college will see

Starting with the class of 2010, students will be able to choose which SAT scores to send to college admission officers using the College Board’s free and optional “Score Choice” SAT Score-Reporting Policy.

Up to now, students had to send all their test scores. However, under the new policy, students will be allowed to send only their highest scores.  However, students cannot choose their best scores from individual sections of Critical Reading, Writing, and Math taken on different days, and not all colleges will accept the new policy.

College Board decided to implement Score Choice mainly to relieve stress, spokespeople said. However, Director of College Counseling Monica DePriest said that the College Board may also have initiated the policy to better compete with the SAT’s rival test, the ACT.

“The ACT is becoming popular on the coasts, and it offers the same type of control, like Score Choice,” DePriest said.

The policy has caused some controversy among many college counselors and college admission officers, who are upset about the sudden change and lack of consultation, DePriest said.

In response to the change, colleges such as Columbia, Cornell, Georgetown, Yale, the University of Southern California, Pomona, the University of Pennsylvania, and Stanford have said that they will still require students to send in all their test scores. Harvard, MIT, and the University of Chicago have announced that they will accept Score Choice.

At most private and Ivy League schools, Score Choice is essentially unnecessary because the schools already create a “superscore” of the student’s best performance in each subject on different test days, DePriest said.

The UC’s have not come up with a policy on Score Choice yet. As of now, if a student sends all her scores in, UC’s only look at the best score on a single test date.

Despite the controversy, some students think colleges have a right to disregard Score Choice.

“For such good schools, they have the right (to reject Score Choice) because their applicants are so qualified. When you’re up in that level, it’s understandable,” Devin ’10 said.

However, Katia ’10 said that she is frustrated with colleges deciding whether or not they want to use Score Choice.

“The students are being manipulated in this game. It’s not fair that all schools don’t use Score Choice. The College Board is manipulating us for more money because people will pay more to take a test again,” Katia said.

Despite some of the colleges’ policies of asking students to show all scores, students can theoretically still continue to send their scores through Score Choice. The College Board has announced that they will not release SAT test scores without the student’s consent. Therefore, colleges will not be able to determine whether scores have been withheld or not.

The only enforcement policy that will apply is the student’s honor pledge not to hide scores, DePriest said. Since Score Choice has no visible record of whether students have taken advantage of it, students could possibly take the test many times and turn in only their best score.

“It all comes down to ethics and morals, and the colleges are ‘testing’ students on how well they are following the rules,” DePriest said.