The SAT’s importance should be reduced


The Daily Campus

Many 16-and up-year olds will tell you, the SAT/ACT takes over your junior year. It is the goal to work towards. It is the benchmark of your college application. It determines your future. Whether you’re a good test taker or not doesn’t matter, you have to do well on your SAT. But, why? One test is not eligible to measure and/or compare the intelligence of all students.

The SAT is the biggest and most well-known standardized test in the nation. It measures the literacy, numeracy, and essay writing skills needed for college, therefore, it hypothesizes how well you are expected to perform at a college level institution. It is used as a way to measure the three basic skills learned in the first 16 or so years of life but is also used as a way to compare the nation’s students. This is troublesome, not only for the mental health of the students but for their futures.

Why is a high SAT score the end all be all of intelligence? Students slave over preparing for the SAT for a solid year, or more, of their childhood life. Aren’t there other ways to show your strengths? There are so many more subjects in the world than math and English. Art schools combat this by asking for a portfolio, but most still place a heavy emphasis on a student’s SAT score.

Some colleges have started changing their outlook on the SAT. Renowned institutions such as Wesleyan, Cornell, and NYU have changed their policies to where submitting your SAT score is completely optional and Hampshire College in Massachusetts has even gone so far as to completely remove the submission of one’s SAT score as an option. They instead focus on a student’s essay, transcripts, and    extracurricular s. This is a wonderful idea, and more universities should follow their lead.

A student’s essay is a direct line into their thoughts. Shouldn’t it be more important to know what kind of person you’re admitting into your school rather than how well they perform on some test? I propose that colleges stop placing so much importance on SAT scores when reviewing applications and deciding who to admit. Unless you’re applying for a math-heavy program, why does it matter how good you are at solving equations? Art schools should focus more on portfolios, and majors such as psychology or European history should focus on AP/IB scores and grades in related classes.

To do away with the SAT completely is highly unlikely, but it shouldn’t matter as much as it does. The SAT isn’t even a true reflection of a student’s intellect because many students get anxiety on timed tests, not to mention, the SAT’s questions represent a limited range of subjects and it doesn’t reflect the format of tests taken in school. While grades are important and should be considered, colleges should make more room on their applications to learn more about their prospective students. Perhaps a section of short-answer questions dealing with hypothetical situations that would allow application reviewers to gauge what kind of person the student is? Or maybe a section to learn more about a student’s life separate from a generic essay question? A student’s thought process and character are more important in determining their fit at a certain college than their ability to answer math and reading questions on a timed test.