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Posted at 1:53 PM ET, 12/14/2010

College Board promotes holiday gift of ... test prep!

By Valerie Strauss

You can stop worrying what to get your teenager for Christmas.

The nonprofit College Board has a suggestion: test prep!

It is running two versions of a radio spot that promotes college planning resources -- which, of course, include prep courses for its college admissions test, the SAT.

According to Peter Kauffmann, the College Board’s vice president for communications, the spot is “along the lines of ‘you’ve gotten your high school student what they want, now get them something they can really use’ and ‘give them a gift of a brighter future – the gift of college readiness’ – something more valuable than gift cards or music downloads, etc.

The organization promotes on its Web site “The Official SAT Online Course” for $69.95, and “The Official SAT Study Guide™: Second Edition” for $21.99. It also offers a free SAT practice test online and some practice questions.

The College Board's online course is, admittedly, far less than the hundreds of dollars an hour some prep companies charge for face-to-face, one-on-one tutoring.

But the promotion is another reminder that the College Board, while a nonprofit, still looks carefully at the bottom line.

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By Valerie Strauss  | December 14, 2010; 1:53 PM ET
Categories:  Standardized Tests  | Tags:  christmas gifts, college board, college board and sat, sat, sat test, sat test prep, test prep, test prep courses  
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Not a bad idea. There are certainly worse investments. As for the face-to-face or one-on-one I'm not sure one is any better than the other. Certainly they will be confronted with cyber classes so at worst it will prep them also for those classes.

Posted by: educ8er | December 14, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

This is emblematic of the win-lose culture that College admissions have become. It's almost extortion, and plays on the worst fears of parents. The threat here is that unless you invest in SAT prep classes or courses your child will not get into a selective school and their future is ruined before it's even started.
Jay Mathews showed years ago in "Harvard-Schmarvard" that where one goes to school is less important than simply going to school at all. But the SAT folks want your money, and they will prey on parents' fears to get it.
Shame. For shame.

Posted by: LoveIB | December 14, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Or...spend the $90 on a couple of new video games. Next December, ask yourself why your son or daughter has a 1.6 GPA first semester of their collegiate freshman year. Part of the conversation will sound like, "Gee, mom and dad, the exams in college are really hard. And the professors expect us to, um, take notes and stuff."

Posted by: professor70 | December 14, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

While I am a proponent of test prep and offer classes and tutoring myself, giving a test prep course to your son or daughter for a Christmas gift is a bit much. I'd say the College Board has crossed the line on that one.

Susie Watts
Denver, Colorado

Posted by: collegedirection | December 14, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

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