College Board’s Adversity Score is Now “Landscape”

College Board President David Coleman Adversity Score
College Board President David Coleman talks about the change from the “Adversity Score” to “Landscape”

You may have heard last spring that the College Board – the owner of the SAT, PSAT, AP system and general 800-lb gorilla in the college admissions world, was rolling out what they called the “Environmental Context Dashboard,” which others immediately termed the “Adversity Score.”  This measure was intended to level the playing field by giving colleges contextual information about each student’s neighborhood and school that may have detracted from their ability to perform at the level of students in more privileged areas.

About 50 colleges had been using data from this program over the past three years, and College Board intended to release this “Dashboard” of information to an additional 100 this fall.  One of the loudest complaints was that students weren’t able to actually see their score, and the College Board was opaque in providing details of the information it was gathering to put into the 1-100 scaled “score.”

You may have heard today that the College Board has scrapped this plan.  That’s not exactly true.

Instead, the College Board is revamping and rebranding the information they’ll provide to colleges.  They will no longer assign a score to each student based on data from their school and home neighborhood, but they will provide some contextual information to colleges.  The new tool is called “Landscape,” and you can read more about it on the College Board’s website, here.

How will this impact you and your college applicant?  It may or it may not.  As with everything in life, all we can do is present our own case effectively.  We can’t control what other applicants submit, nor how admission offices evaluate them.  You should aim to submit an application that optimizes what YOU’VE done for the last 3+years, and reflects on the perspective you will bring to your college community.  There are some things about the college admission process that we can’t control – and we know that’s frustrating.  If you’d like some help with all of this, that’s what we do.  Feel free to get in touch.


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