College Confidential: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

For those who don’t know, College Confidential is the most popular SAT forum on the internet. It is a great resource for students and parents alike on topics ranging from standardized testing to admissions concerns. Nevertheless, there are some down sides to the site and I recently had a bad experience dealing with a site moderator so this post will explore the good, the bad, and the ugly of College Confidential.

The Good
Overall, College Confidential is a great resource. Many people studying for the SAT and ACT post questions and responses on there and many experts (as well as some “posers”) often answer questions or provide advice as well. Generally speaking the people who post are either hard working and high scoring students who have pretty good insights about the tests or experts who really know the tests and how to study for them. There are even parents and admissions officers from schools around the country who post on the forums. And like any good forum, the community is very supportive (generally speaking) and it is a great place to air questions, anxieties, etc. I would regard College Confidential as the best forum for information regarding the SAT and ACT and really anything related to college admissions.

The Bad
Maybe the word “bad” is a little strong here, but one of the biggest drawbacks of the College Confidential forums, especially for students using the site to get information and support, is that  the students who post tend to be extremely high achievers and it can be very, very discouraging to surf around through the forums. For example, you will often (very often) see people posting asking if they should retake the SAT because they are not happy with the 740CR, 780W, 710M score that they currently have. And even the amount of work and dedication that most of the posters put in to preparing for the SAT and ACT is not normal (in the sense that most would-be test-takers study far, far less). So it can be a little discouraging for people who are not super motivated and who are not scoring at the top end of the spectrum. I have had students complain that browsing the site was a very discouraging experience, so be forewarned.

The Ugly
Like all forums, College Confidential has moderators and it is never a good thing when moderators come to have an inflated sense of their own power and importance. It is especially bad when the site administrators don’t appreciate the posters who make the site so valuable and without whom the site would cease to exist. I recently had an unfortunate experience with 2 separate moderators who basically bullied me and threatened to ban me from the site. It was a ridiculous incident, but at one point one of the moderators threatened that if I even messaged him back he would ban me. What did I do? Obviously I messaged him back. This particular moderator (fallenchemist) and the other one who contacted me previously were just down-right nasty to me from there very first communication and for no good reason. When I pointed out that posters like me who contributed valuable information to the community were part of what made the site so valuable and that it was inappropriate to be nasty and threatening, he banned me. I pointed out that I was posting for the benefit of the readers and posters and that banning me for no other reason than that I was not going to simply sit there and take his abuse without defending myself was just a going to be a detriment to the community. It didn’t matter – when I messaged him back I was banned.  Shame on you fallenchemist.  So needless to say I will not be offering my advice or answering questions on College Confidential anymore (unless I choose to create a new anonymous identity). This is the ugly side of College Confidential.

That said, College Confidential is still a very good site and a valuable source of information. Just be careful not to cross a power-intoxicated moderator on the site!!!


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