Abolish the SAT requirement from college applications

Throw juniors a bone: get rid of the SAT altogether in light of current events

By Jane Park

Schools all over the nation are closing due to  the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, the SATs and ACTs scheduled for March, April and May are canceled or postponed at local high schools and colleges which serve as testing sites. Spring test dates are vital for current juniors because it gives them more opportunities to retake the test. 

Photo Illustration by Jane Park
The SAT has caused much unnecessary stress and creates an unhealthy mindset.

However, seeing how the state of our country doesn’t seem to be improving, and further disruptions to standardized testing are to be expected, we need to evaluate the effectiveness of this test. Why are we trying to reschedule a test that only measures your ability to take tests, and does not serve as a representative narrative of your college application? 

I got a 1360 out of 1600 on the SAT. Even though the average SAT score of the class of 2019 was 1059, according to College Board, 1360 is barely something to be excited about in Silicon Valley, where the average SAT score for the HHS class of 2019 is 1346. I hear my peers complain all the time about scores as high as 1550, saying that it just isn’t good enough. 

I refused to take the test again, despite opposition from my parents. I was not going to waste more time retaking practice tests, reading tiny texts about a topic I would forget about in a couple of days and drilling useless grammar concepts over and over. I was satisfied with my score — which is actually in the 93rd percentile, according to College Simply. 

Scores, grades and extracurriculars are extremely distorted in the Silicon Valley. There is an emphasis that average is not good enough, and that students need to get good grades, a good SAT score and need to join every single club. 

Personally, I know that I am not the best student. I cannot remember dates of wars or historical events, I fall asleep in any sort of science lecture and I suck at essay writing. 

Compared to my peers with SAT scores like 1590 or even 1600, my SAT score was dismissable. But I try to make up for all my academic shortcomings through constant volunteer work, involvement in the arts and reading whatever I can. And with my extra time, I make music and work with children. 

Instead of letting a score dictate who I am, I choose to let my passions define me instead. My SAT score should not reflect the type of person I am. I have a great work ethic, I am a team player and I want to change the world. But in our school system, and the way colleges admit students is broken and does not suit everyone. 

The emphasis placed on getting into a prestigious college has led to school competition and stress in Silicon Valley. Many of my peers go to sleep at 3 or 4 a.m. in order to finish their school work on time. 

While the SAT means a lot in the process of completing college applications, requiring the test is outdated.

One’s SAT score does not reflect how smart or hardworking a student is. According to the Washington Post, high school grades show a lot more about your potential as a college student. 

I believe that colleges should be looking for good judgement, maturity and defined interests instead of high grades, multiple AP and honor classes and club officer positions, although they provide an additional boost. 

Proponents of the SAT argue that the test is a common point for all applicants and can help rule out individuals unfit to attend a specific school. However, if the SAT is not an accurate representation of one’s morals, character or performance at school, then why is it even required for college applications? 

Why should someone’s future be determined by an irrelevant number from a test that doesn’t measure intelligence, judgement or potential? The SAT should not be so significant when there are so many things that students can include in their college applications that prove them to be a student that the college should admit. 

Our futures should not be dependent on a multiple choice test that doesn’t measure anything about character. I urge colleges to remove the SAT requirement, and focus on the student themselves. While quantitative data does hold some significance, it is qualitative data that defines us. 

Students are not their SAT scores or grades but unique human beings that belong somewhere. All the evidence points to the SAT being a flawed test, and now colleges have the opportunity to remove it as a prerequisite.