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The changes to the SAT starting in 2016 are creating a lot of hand-wringing in the college admissions industry. But it  is, as Shakespeare would say, Much Ado About Nothing.

When the news of the new SAT broke, Evan Forster and I were visiting colleges in North Carolina. Everyone was talking about the new SAT—except for the admissions officers giving info sessions. As “test optional” becomes increasingly common in the college admissions process, and is even starting to take root at very selective schools, the best ticket to success in admissions remains the same: DO WELL IN HIGH SCHOOL, and take advantage of the most rigor your high school offers (AP courses, honors, etc.). For colleges that continue to review standardized tests, the only change is their job got a little easier: They are back to the 1600-point scale most are familiar with, and they will continue to factor in the SAT as one of many data points in their decision-making.

The changes are not going to affect the test prep industry at all—0%—except in their curricular focus. It’s not going to “cripple” them, or reduce business, nothing. Even with Khan Academy. If you had the money for test prep to begin with, you’ll still going to want a personalized touch—a teacher at the front of the room, sitting across from you at a table, or talking interactively with you on a screen.

Khan Academy is going to EXPAND access, it’s not going to eat away at the test prep industry. Imagine if Khan Academy put out great videos on how to write a personal statement and choose the right school for you, etc. Would college counselors lose their job? Not a single one. So Evan and I applaud the partnership with Khan Academy, and support our test prep brethren like Applerouth in their continued growth as well.

Everything else is hand-wringing and will be forgotten in a week—unless we keep the drama going.

At the end of the day, this isn’t about predictive power, or the test prep industry, this is about the College Board trying to stay relevant in an ACT world. The more we talk about test prep and the impact of the changes, the more relevant College Board remains.

What’s happening right now is like Miley Cyrus taking off her clothes at the VMAs: It got everyone talking, and her career went to another level. The College Board is Miley Cyrus, and we’re all willing participants in this game.

--David Thomas and Evan Forster

Also, check out our videos on the subject!

What Does the New SAT Mean for Me?

What does the new SAT 2016 mean for you? Short answer: you should rejoice! Watch to find out why.

Tags: College Admissions Consulting, Leadership

The College Board is Like Miley Cyrus

The new SAT to be launched in 2016 isn't a big deal -- the College Board is just trying to stay relevant. They are just following the Miley Cyrus playbook.

Tags: College Admissions Consulting, Leadership