It's easy to shudder at the memory of the SAT, the dreaded test that's supposed to determine the future of a nervous, impressionable high school student. The much-anticipated test has no place in our society anymore, though. The SAT is a terrible, overstressed measurement for college admission and it is totally ineffective in actually analyzing the students themselves. Here are some reasons why we should scrap it from the college admission process.
1. Studies show that test-taking abilities don’t properly gauge a student’s ability to perform
One study found that average SAT scores increase with every $20,000 in additional family income — quite the measure of intelligence or accessibility? And if you think about it, if you were able to take any kind of preparatory class or tutoring session, it also proves how coachable of the test is.
Sure the SAT requires most of us to develop a work ethic to actually study for the exam, but studying for the SAT completely translatable into the method you would take to write a college essay. Now I know I’m going to get some “challenge-accepted” comment for this, but for the most part you probably shouldn’t be writing any college essays in the time it you have for the SAT essay.
Also, let’s talk stress. Yes, the SAT is stressful (especially if you have the misconception/perception that your scores will make or break your admission in your top choice), but it’s not like college. You never have just one shot for something in a college class. And even if you do poorly on a major assignment, many professors are nice enough help you find a way to still do all right in the class if you ask.
2. SAT vocabulary words are hated by college professors
Seriously, my whole freshmen year of college (well not quite because I did learn my lesson eventually) all my professors would give me back paper primarily tell me to stop using big words and instead focus more on getting my point across in a succinct, understandable way. Also, most professors just assume that you are trying too hard to convey a sense of knowledge or that you used a thesaurus. Also, I’m pretty sure if you use a word they don’t know offhand that it doesn’t help your grade because you made them pull out a dictionary.
3. Your high school grades are going to matter more
I may be about to start my senior year of college, but I’m pretty sure that they still don’t give you any math credit for scoring high on your SAT, let alone allow your reading scores to get you out of that awful freshmen year English class.
If you are apply to the engineering school some school, let’s say Rose Hulman, they are going to want to see how you did in physics and any upper-level/advanced science class a lot more than your aptitude at the SAT math section.
In fact where is the real measurement of your love for history or any other humanity in the SAT? How can you show your ability to do chemistry or biology from a test that doesn’t cover that at all?
Also, your GPA is a better predictor of not just performance in college, but your graduation.
4. If you want to take tests, take AP or IB
Now AP tests have problems themselves (pg. 25-26 in the link), but they do show your ability to master a subject and many AP/IB classes (depending on how they were taught to you in high school) are more representative of the material you’ll cover in college. With the exception of potentially taking the SAT at a college campus and hating the fact that you are taking such a long exam, the SAT is not representative of anything you’ll express in a college classroom.
5. Many colleges admit that the most important thing in your application is your essay
The personal essay, whether you hated it or loved it is a better indication of who you are than your ability fill in bubbles over a 4-hour time period. Writing shows your personality, your ability to express yourself, what you care about, and ideally what makes you said out from the other thousands of applicants.
Just to give examples, I had friends get into college with essays revolving around crayons and ladybugs.
5 Solutions (some can and probably should be combined):
1. Abolish the SAT (probably the ACT while you’re at it) and have college admissions focus on the other aspects of the college application, the essays, grades, interviews, and recommendations
2. Focus on the other aspects of the college application and remove taking the SAT/ACT as an application requirement
3. Add another essay to the college application to prompt more individual insight and creativity
4. Promote and focus on more worthwhile college test indicators, the AP and IB tests or even the SAT subject tests
5. Remake the SAT test around the SAT subject test and perhaps keep the writing section of the original exam