International Students Frustrated with ACT and College Board

ACT Cancelations, SAT Cancelations, Frustration with SAT and College Board

There’s a piece in “The Washington Post” that details the frustration of international applicants with testing cancelations.

When folks are asked their favorite companies in the world, companies like Apple and Netflix may come to mind. And what are a couple of companies that are unlikely to come to mind? ACT and College Board. Come on, even College Board and ACT executives would have difficulty arguing that they’re among the most adored companies in the world. Most people don’t like to take tests on Saturdays nor do they like to have to pay for tests they don’t wish to take. Yet the entire business model of ACT and College Board is built on getting students to take lots of tests. But while ACT and College Board have never exactly been the coolest kids in the class, they may not have expected to come under attack from an organization like the International Association for College Admission Counseling. Alright, maybe the IACAC isn’t the coolest kid in the class either but ACT and College Board now find themselves having to address their issues or risk backlash.

ACT and College Board Sometimes Cancel International Tests

As esteemed education reporter Valerie Strauss writes in a piece for “The Washington Post” entitled “International counselors blast ACT and College Board, citing ‘lack of confidence’ over testing,” “An organization representing nearly 3,000 school counselors working around the globe just issued a scathing statement rebuking the College Board and ACT Inc. for their handling of international administration of the SAT and ACT college admissions exams, citing a ‘lack of confidence’ in the testing giants. The International Association for College Admission Counseling, with members in 100 countries who work with hundreds of thousands of overseas students and U.S. citizens living abroad, attacked the two organizations for frequently canceling tests in countries at the last moment and then failing to communicate in a timely fashion. The statement…also said U.S. students now ‘have an advantage in the U.S. admissions process’ because more test administrations are given every year and overseas students have fewer chances to take the tests.”

International Students Are At A Disadvantage

We absolutely agree with the folks at the International Association for College Admission Counseling. We believe that ACT and College Board have unfairly canceled tests in the past that were supposed to be administered to honest students in different corners of our world. These students put in a lot of time studying for these exams. They practiced taking the exam. They studied tricks. They ate salmon for dinner the night before. They were primed and ready. And then ACT and College Board just cancel their respective exams, often without offering a timely explanation? It’s unfair to the vast majority of students who are honest and just looking to do the best they can so they can earn admission to the best school in America they can possibly get into. But allow us to clarify a sentiment expressed by the IACAC — a sentiment that U.S. students now ‘have an advantage in the U.S. admissions process.’ U.S. students have always had an advantage in the U.S. admissions process, irrespective of these unfair test cancelations. These unfair test cancelations just add to this advantage.

Do our readers think the IACAC will make any headway with ACT and College Board? Or will these organizations cancel exams in the future in countries like South Korea? Do our readers think international students have reason to be frustrated with ACT and College Board? Let us know your thoughts by posting a Comment below.


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  • Charles Grant says:

    My students in Mexico are bothered that they now have fewer test dates than students in the US. A few seniors had travel to the US to do the SAT on the date that they would prefer to do it. This is unfair. US citizens studying in an high school outside the US is also affected. I am struggling to see the purpose behind giving one group more opertunities than the other.

  • Peg says:

    Yep. Incredibly frustrating experience with College Board in Europe. Cancelled SAT after registration/planning leaving few options, abominable customer service (all calls routed to Phillippines where we have never (sorry folks, it’s just so!) found trained, knowledgeable reps able to assist or articulate solutions). Worst of all, awful quality control with test admin – kids told no old-school watches (which are expressly allowed) and then the fellow used two different clocks to time exam sections, cheating kids out of crucial time. College Board was defensive+surly and did little to help beyond treat me like a Tiger parent and fund makeup exam (which costs less than the international sitting they screwed up). Kids can’t get that time or opportunity back. It’s really absurd. Child wants to try ACT next round and is hoping for best. College Board = lame!

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