The SAT is for the rich


Bryanna Portillo

Everyone knows that junior year is the year of SAT. Most students constantly talk about the SAT they’re taking this Saturday or complain about the homework their tutor gave them. In class, many have their nose stuffed in the thick study coursebook, groaning about the one question they’re stuck on. Well, I can’t relate. 

SAT preparation, for me and many other students who can’t spend hundreds of dollars on tutoring and books, is too expensive. The SAT adheres to rich and privileged students who can afford it, and the ones who can’t are left in the shadows. 

The SAT test itself costs about $50 without the essay and $65 with the essay. However, the costs can rise if you end up taking it more than once. $50 or $65 is still costly for some families, and $100, $150, or $200 to retake the test is often not even an option. To some, it might be a small amount, but for others, that’s money coming out of rent, food, and utilities. 

Even if you can take the test, you’ll still need tutoring or a book to get a sufficient amount of preparation to earn a high score. Wilson does offer a SAT prep course yet it’s limited and a semester long, which doesn’t provide a large effort to help all students taking the SAT that year. 

On the other hand, a book is around $20, which is pretty affordable, but some people don’t have access to them. Kids with parents who seek out the resources, because they have the money to do so, know where to find the best books and the best prep materials. But parents whose only focus is going to work to support their families won’t have the experience to find SAT prep for their child. 

Other students are fortunate. They can get a tutor. That was never an option for me. Tutors range $45-100 an hour, the average cost being $70. That hourly cost is the cost of two weeks’ groceries. For many families like my own, food on the table will always take precedence over an hour of practice for her daughter’s SAT. Another option is score gain programs that guarantee to help raise your SAT score but programs like these, such as PrepScholar, cost $400 a year. Although the benefits are appealing, this is far too expensive for most families. 

To combat this, free group hands-on tutoring should be offered weekly, and the College Board should send supplies to each learning center. Learning centers can be set up anywhere, in any location with a community like a church, a school or your local rec center. Additionally, Wilson only offers two free SAT days within Junior and Senior year. They should be offered more, at least three a year, for the students who can’t afford the services and need to retake the test.

It’s not fair that students get poor scores because they never got the resources to ace the SAT. The SAT should provide an equal opportunity to every student and be aware that some student’s families can’t afford the prep necessary to earn a top score. •