Academics / Community

Testing, Privilege, and Keeping College Pressure in Perspective

Let’s focus on the original purpose of standardized testing. Whether you are taking your high school exams or the infamous SAT test, the goal of the test was to allow students to demonstrate knowledge and mastery of skills. But how effective is the SAT in showing how successful and intelligent a student is, or even predicting of any future success at all?

Many high level colleges are shifting away from the SAT and not requiring it any more. Their reasoning is common. The SAT is simply not a fair measure of all the things that makes someone a ideal student. When looking at it closer, the data shows that students with more income will score higher on their SAT’s. Not because they are smarter, however, but because their money and access to the expensive tutors that will help many achieve a higher score on their tests for a price.

This is not to downplay the hard work and studying that some students may be putting into these tests, but rather it is an important reminder that tests like the SAT could potentially keep capable and intelligent students from getting into certain colleges.   

According to colleges’ own websites and statement pages, here are the things that high level colleges say that they are looking for:

  • Hard workers
  • Passionate people
  • Curiosity to learn
  • Perseverance
  • Cooperation
  • Succeeding in school
  • Maturity level

Most colleges actually have you show them:

  • SAT scores
  • Common application
  • Essay
  • Your high school transcript
  • Extracurriculars
  • An interview

So how do you fit all of your positive attributes into those few things that a college sees about you? And doesn’t it become even more challenging when the SATs weigh heavily on their decision? As everyone knows this process starts to cause a lot of pressure on the student. You can’t always “trust the process” when you don’t know what the result will be.

According to a senior who has firsthand gone through the experience, “it helps to not compare what you are doing to what all your friends are doing” and rather focus on yourself for the sake of your own sanity.