The CollegeBoard’s Big Change

CollegeBoard Updates Application Process


Nicholas Yoo, Staff Writer

As high school seniors work hard to fill out their college applications with highest hopes to get into their top-choice schools, juniors, sophomores, and even freshmen have either begun their journey or are in the process of sorting through their options. However, as confusing and intimidating the college search process may be, having the global pandemic changes a lot. The CollegeBoard also recently announced some big news which you might want to note. To truly understand the inside information about everything that’s been going on in the college admissions world, I spoke with our expert, Mr. Rosenhaus of the college counseling department. 

After getting situated I wanted to first start off big and ask how college decisions were working out this year as well as the previous class of 2020. It is great to announce that Delbarton had very successful college results in the regular round admissions which also carried over to the early round this year. In general, Mr. Rosenhaus explains that the increased number of applicants for colleges is not that more students applying to college, but  that they applied to more colleges. Why? Because ever since many colleges made standardized test scores optional as part of the application process, more students have the confidence to reach for schools if they have a great application package, but their test scores were lacking.

In fact, the Ivy League schools experienced a 20% increase in applications this year and had their most competitive early-admissions rate yet. According to the “Harvard Crimson”, Harvard admitted a record low 7.4% of early action applicants to the class of 2025. This can also be because Princeton closed off their EA gate this year, redirecting that flow of seniors to other institutions. Other “non-Ivy, Ivy Leagues” such as Notre Dame and Northwestern had many more acceptances, however, because these schools didn’t want to take the risk of deferring Early Applications to the regular pool. What happened for the regular decisions for class of 2024 was that many wait-listed students for top colleges were accepted and those students rejected their offers for already accepted schools. That is why these colleges didn’t want to take that risk for the incoming future. 

This brings us to the CollegeBoard’s big news. Recently, the organization that supplies the SAT and AP exams, announced that they would no longer offer the SAT Subject Tests as well as the optional essay portion of the SAT test. Mr. Rosenhaus gives us a basic history of the exams. Years ago, CollegeBoard started off the SAT 2 which were essentially the subject tests in 30 content areas. Popular exams are the Biology and Math 2 exams. However, what made the organization stop administering these exams? CollegeBoard explains that the global pandemic only expedited this long process that they were already working on. As the AP program has evolved and expanded, they realized this was a better shift of focus. Our college counselor explains that the main benefit is that this takes immense pressure off the student to worry about one less exam to take. 

On the other hand, the optional essay portion of the SAT was developed 15 years ago when the University of California schools wanted an instrument that measured a student’s writing aptitude. However, over time, administrators decided that the verbal section of the SAT already provided enough information on a student’s writing capabilities, therefore making it optional. 

With these tests are gone, what happens next? First, the SAT and ACT exams aren’t likely to disappear anytime soon. Second, taking away an objective measurement of a student’s application turns more focus to a holistic review such as interviews, recommendations, and essays. That way, more people are playing on a more equal playing field for those who may not be able to afford these exams or those who have outstanding qualities to other components. However, Mr. Rosenhaus states that a holistic approach is much more difficult as everything is considered at a higher level and explains why some colleges are delaying their regular decisions this year. 

College admissions is a stressful process and one that is not usually something that seniors would like to relive. Hopefully things go back to normal by the coming fall for the class of 2026. Thank you to Mr. Rosenhaus for his support as well as the rest of the Delbarton college counseling team. Congrats to those who got into their dream schools and best of luck to those who are still waiting!