College Board Announces Improved Admissions Resource

New York – College Board today announced updates and improvements to Landscape™, previously called the Environmental Context Dashboard. The resource will no longer display a single “score” combining high school and neighborhood information.

College Board is also sharing new details on how Landscape works, including a comprehensive description of the data, methodology, and appropriate usage guidelines that participating colleges must follow. Beginning next year, schools, students, and families will be able to see the same information about high schools and neighborhoods that colleges see.

These changes come in response to feedback from educators and families over the past few months. The revised resource offers greater consistency in the admissions process, providing admissions professionals with organized information on schools and neighborhoods.

"We listened to thoughtful criticism and made Landscape better and more transparent," said David Coleman, CEO of College Board. "Landscape provides admissions officers more consistent background information so they can fairly consider every student, no matter where they live and learn."

Colleges have long considered context about students’ high schools and neighborhoods when making admissions decisions. But with more applications coming from more places, getting consistent information about every high school and neighborhood is challenging. Admissions officers using Landscape estimate they lack high school information for about 25% of all applications. Landscape presents consistent high school and neighborhood information so admissions officers can fairly consider each student.

"UCLA and other UC campuses have considered applicants' context for many years. We are excited about the research and additional information Landscape will provide us as we continue our efforts to better understand the full range of academic and personal achievements of all students applying for admission,"" said Youlonda Copeland-Morgan, Vice Provost, Enrollment Management, at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Landscape does not alter or replace any information that students provide in their applications. Landscape:

  • Does not replace the individual information included in an application, such as GPA, personal essay, or high school transcript
  • Does not alter a student's SAT® score in any way
  • Does show how an applicant’s SAT or ACT® score compares to those of others at the same high school
  • Does provide consistent information about an applicant's neighborhood and high school

"Landscape is evidence of two things: College Board's intentional commitment to access and the organization's willingness to incorporate feedback from school counselors and member institutions," said Steve Frappier, Director of College Counseling, The Westminster Schools (Atlanta, GA). "In admissions, any gaps in essential information inhibit understanding, which in turn can inhibit a committee's ability to advocate. Applicants tell their own stories based on required materials, which often include transcript, essays, the listing of activities, and test scores. When consulted, Landscape stands to increase an admissions officer's understanding of all applicants, especially those applying from unfamiliar neighborhoods."