If you live in West Michigan, you may have heard our President, Terry Rummelt Jr., on Wood Radio last week discussing the College Board’s latest tool, Landscape.

Similar to the recently scrapped Adversity Score, Landscape is meant to provide colleges with information about an applicant’s neighborhood and high school, helping them consider context in the review process.

According to the College Board, this year, colleges will receive more than 10,000,000 applications from students attending nearly 30,000 high schools. Some high schools and neighborhoods admissions counselors will know very well, others they’ll know less about, and some will be places they don’t know at all. Enter Landscape.

Think of it this way: let’s say you attend a high school with very few resources—limited AP classes, not enough funding for certain programs, etc. At first glance, a student who had access to more opportunities could appear to be the stronger applicant, but Landscape allows colleges to put your situation into perspective. It helps them consider you within the context of your school, not necessarily comparing “apples to oranges”, pitting you against a student who perhaps had more resources at hand.

Some information presented in Landscape includes basic high school data (locale/high school setting, senior class size, average SAT scores at colleges attended, AP participation and performance, and amount of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch) test score comparison (your scores compared to others from your high school), and high school and neighborhood indicators (median family income, household structure, housing stability, education levels, and crime).

When a college is reviewing your application, they’re considering what you had access to and which of those things you chose to take advantage of. If there were copious AP classes available to you, did you choose to enroll in many of them? Or did you opt for an easier schedule? Was your SAT score lower than the average admitted student at a particular college, but one of the highest in your high school class? Landscape allows colleges to review this information and consider it when they’re processing your application.

Landscape is still new, and it has only been rolled out to a select batch of colleges for this year’s pilot program. But if all goes well, and the response is better to this than it was for the controversial Adversity Score, more colleges across the country may begin using it to help evaluate students.

For more information, visit pages.collegeboard.org/landscape, and feel free to reach out to our team if you have any questions!

Until Next Time,

Molly Monet, College Dream Builder Consultant

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