By: Henry Berger
All across America, high school seniors are gearing up for the next step of their lives. For many, this next step involves continuing their education at a collegiate level.
In many cases, these colleges are competitive and applicants must do everything they can to make themselves stand out amongst their competition.
However, many students are wasting so much of their precious time and money on the wrong aspect of their college application- the SAT.
For anyone unfamiliar, the SAT is a standardized test that claims to assess your knowledge in reading, writing, and math. The exam takes around three hours, not counting the minimal breaks given in between the four sections.
For a while, this test played a major role in the college admissions process and carried a great weight within one’s application.
“We don’t use SAT scores in our evaluation of a student,” said JMU admissions officer, and Henrico native Chris Gothard.
However, in the past decade and especially since the pandemic, we have seen a major decline in the popularity, requirement, and legitimacy of the SAT.
The number of SAT tests taken has declined drastically. According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, “Fewer students in the Class of 2021 took the SAT or ACT than any other class in nearly 15 years.”
This trend has continued steadily for the class of 2022 and 2023.
The SAT is also no longer a requirement for many colleges. For example, 80% of four year colleges were test-optional in the 2022 application cycles. There aren’t any signs of colleges changing this either. “Test optional is here to stay,” added Gothard.
According to the Head of Counseling at Godwin High School, Nicole Scalea, “It is also important to remember there are other ways to improve an overall application, like a personal statement, especially if one feels they are not great test-takers.”
This massive switch to the optionality of the SAT has contributed to the rethinking of how a student should be assessed when their application is being viewed.
Colleges all across America are adopting a more “holistic” approach to the applications. This new view of the application consists of looking at the student as a whole, and judges the person’s experiences, essays, and leadership roles instead of just numbers.
“For us, SAT scores were not particularly that indicator of showing preparedness for JMU” said Gothard, when referring to the impact the SAT has on a students application.
The SAT is also losing its legitimacy of a test. Now that the SAT is optional, many students are submitting only if the score is above the average threshold for applicants into that certain college.
The big issue with this is that students are only submitting very high scores, making this threshold even harder to achieve.
Scalea goes on to say, “We tend to recommend that students submit scores if they are within or above the range of scores for previously admitted students into that college.”
This means that only the highest scores are being submitted. So a below average score, according to college data, is actually misleading.
The colleges only have data on the scores that are actually sent. Therefore, it is not an accurate measure of whether your intelligence is acceptable in that certain college.
Just because a student doesn’t have a 1350 SAT score that a college is looking for doesn’t mean you aren’t a worthy candidate.
Godwin High School student, Haldar Kolluri, when asked if the SAT was worth it, said “No”. She took the test two times and will still not be submitting her scores. She said “It did not reflect my intelligence.”
Godwin High School Counselor Ros Runner explains that there are multiple forms of intelligence which the SAT doesn’t assess at all, “kinesthetic intelligence, musical intelligence, interpersonal intelligence and intrapersonal intelligence.”
“In summary, we are all intelligent in different ways and that’s exciting because if we were all intelligent in the same ways, the world would be a much more boring place,” said Runner.
The way our world is heading, the SAT has become somewhat of a joke. The company, College Board, doesn’t actually care about getting students into college, they just want to take your money. That’s what businesses do. My advice to all students is to know your worth on a college application. Acknowledge your skills and show them in a way that allows you to put your best foot forward.
You are more than just an SAT score.