What is the SAT ‘Disadvantage Score’? Everything You Need to Know

Growing up as a student in high school comes with many challenges, especially when it comes to planning ahead for the future and how to secure its reasonability. For those that wish to continue their education in a university, they will often to go through many applications and continuously update their resumes for a chance to succeed.

One of the most well-known factors that colleges are known for is looking at students with exceptionally positive SAT scores.

However, having high scores and making those high scores are two different tasks, and some may find that succeeding is harder to do because of aspects that go beyond the control of students. That is where this new score system comes into play.

What is the Disadvantage Score?

Pen to paper symbolizes the other score.


To put it simply. This scoring system will allow students who have had more difficult backgrounds and lower advantages to education compared to those who have been more well off.

This system was put in place by The College Board from the chief executive officer David Coleman. His idea beyond this new placement was put under the mindset that students who found themselves more resourceful and were able to accomplish more with what little they had should not be ignored nor should they be looked down upon.

The Acceptance of the Plan

A scantron to symbolize the SAT.


The added placement will allow students who have grown up in a lower financial state to be more likely recognized by colleges and have a much higher chance of being noticed even with possible lower scores. Even so, they would still have a bit more of the advantage as opposed to a student who might have had the same poor scores, yet had no disadvantage to standing out.

If this new move becomes successful in granting more students into universities, it’s possible that the ACT may follow in the same footsteps. By gaining a focus on the student’s background and social living, and relying a little less on mental capacity alone. This could lead the way in a better education by creating a more personal feel to the student’s abilities and can possibly factor into the solution for better learning.

The Plans Critics

Student raising his hand up, in the same way one would oppose.


There mainly exists no plan, no matter how noble without its skeptics. For example, Robert Schaeffer, the director of the NCFOT (National Center for Fair and Open Testing), is an opposer of the idea. He believes that this plan could showcase his theory that SAT scores shouldn’t be a deciding factor in college admissions.

By creating an element to the scores that allow universities to overlook actual SAT scores in exchange for the disadvantage score, it creates an unfair balance that overlooks not just the principal SAT scores for the disadvantaged student in question but runs the risk of forgetting students with much better scores with no other scores required.

Furthermore, this plan could also create issues on a race-related perspective even with the factor race being left out in the score, as it could still allow those from any creed that is statistically found to be less privileged on an economic standpoint. Resulting in unintentional, but likely discrimination.



As the idea is still relatively in its infancy by only being accepted in a handful of schools, there is no way to accurately predict the final outcome given once it passes nationwide. Until then all they can do is simply continue searching for what they believe is right, and perhaps find ways to update the plan, so that it can become pleasing to students and educators everywhere.

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