The Ivy Coach Daily

February 8, 2021

An Absurd Piece on AP Exams

There is an absurdly misleading piece up on Inside Higher Ed about the use of AP exam scores in elite college admissions.

A key objective of Ivy Coach’s college admissions blog is to debunk misconceptions about the highly selective college admissions process. You see, the admissions process to our nation’s elite universities is stressful enough. Parents and students don’t need admissions officers, school counselors, private college counselors, and the local handyman spreading misinformation about the process as, in our view, that only serves to amp up already high anxiety levels. Well, on this note, allow us to share with our readers an absolutely ridiculous article we came across recently up on the highly respected Inside Higher Ed. If it was published on April 1st rather than February 1st, we’d think the piece was an April Fools’ joke. But, alas, it is not.

Private College Counselor Argues AP Exam Scores Should Be Considered in Elite College Admissions

The piece by private college counselor David Benjamin Gruenbaum is entitled “Use AP Exams in Admissions” and indeed the title says everything you need to know. Use AP exams in admissions? That’s like entitling an article “Water is Wet.” Why yes it is! AP exams have been used in admissions for decades. Water, to our knowledge, has always been wet. But Mr. Gruenbaum doesn’t stop there. No, no he does not. As he writes, “When I inform my students that AP tests are not used for college admissions, they are shocked. And the reason they are surprised is completely valid: the AP tests are a terrific gauge of how well students know specific subject material in high school (math, chemistry, Spanish, English, etc.). Why are students doing all of this work if AP tests are not used for college admissions purposes?” Uhh, no Mr. Gruenbaum. Your students are likely “shocked” that you’re saying something that is utterly false. AP tests are absolutely used in college admissions and, in fact, they have long been a major factor in the highly selective college admissions process.

Private College Counselor Writes Proposal for Elite Colleges to Consider AP Exam Scores in Admissions

But Mr. Gruenbaum doesn’t stop there. He writes, “My proposal is quite simple: now that the subject tests are gone, the AP tests should be used, along with grade point averages, the SAT/ACT, etc. for admissions decisions at many of our country’s top universities.” Goodness gracious! This is like proposing that eating a balanced diet and exercising is good for one’s health! Mr. Gruenbaum, perhaps before you propose that “our country’s top universities” use AP tests as factors in the admissions process and before you write editorials for a reputable publication suggesting as much, you might educate yourself about the admissions process to our country’s top universities because it seems you’re truly without a clue.

AP Exam Scores Have Long Been a Factor in Elite College Admissions

Yet the clueless Mr. Gruenbaum keeps on going. He writes, “In fact, AP tests could be deemed optional by colleges, in the same way that SAT/ACT scores are now optional, for certain colleges.” Mr. Gruenbaum, AP tests already are optional in the admissions process to our country’s top universities. Students self-report the scores. They are not required to submit scores they don’t wish to report. Mr. Gruenbaum then ends his piece with an absolute flourish: “It’s truly a unique opportunity to improve the current college admissions and college academic scholarship process: use the results of a test that so many of the country’s best students are taking anyway.” Yes, Mr. Gruenbaum. It’s about as unique an opportunity as going to a fast-food burger joint and being served a burger.

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