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Harvard, Here I Come!

Harvard Here I Come!

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Harvard, Here I Come!

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https://goo.gl/images/njJxSH

https://goo.gl/images/njJxSH

Aron Bishop, Staff Writer

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Consider the following following top colleges and universities:

George Washington University, Bryn Mawr, New York University, University of Chicago, Bowdoin College. Smith College, Wake Forest University, Goucher College, American University, Temple University.

What do they all have in common? Is it the stellar curriculum, the tuition, the job opportunities? No. What they all have in common is that they all are placing less emphasis on SAT scores. Yes, at the above listed colleges and universities, the SAT or ACT is optional.  However, this puts pressure on other areas of academic and personal assessment. Students feel that all they must do is keep their grades up, run on the varsity cross country team, and volunteer at the local food bank and then they’ll get into Harvard.  Well, maybe not Harvard, but at the very least Princeton.

Why the switch? Educational researchers are citing the best predictor for success at the collegiate level is students’ performance on college level courses in high school and not their performance (or lack thereof) on a national standardized test. Let’s face it, some students are good at taking standardized tests, while others are not. Then there is the amount of time and preparation that goes into preparing for the SAT or ACT.  The SAT is particularly challenging because there is still a debate as to whether the test accurately measures the material one studies while in high school. For years, or more precisely, for decades, educators and student advocators have raised the ‘flag of skepticism’ when it comes to using the SAT as one of the means for evaluating or measuring the potential for student success at the collegiate level.  Some researchers cite gender, race or ethnicity, and socioeconomic level as biases inherent in the SAT and ACT. These advocates note that the key factors for a high school student college achievement should be: high school grades in college preparatory classes, interviews, and recommendations as a better measurement for success.

Most proponents of standardized tests note that meticulous efforts are made to ensure each question on the exam has been vetted for fairness across the board without bias towards class, race or gender. But ACT and SAT still contain questions that are European oriented with very little question or reading from other cultures. Generally, minorities perform less stellar then their European counterparts. To increase diversity, and college applications from minorities, colleges and universities need to ditch standardized tests for more flexible and open process, not based solely on one test.

 

Sources:

https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/04/26/604875394/study-colleges-that-ditch-the-sat-and-act-can-enhance-diversity

https://www.chronicle.com/article/An-Ultra-Selective-University/243678

https://www.brookings.edu/articles/the-black-white-test-score-gap-why-it-persists-and-what-can-be-done/

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/02/19/study-finds-little-difference-academic-success-students-who-do-and-dont-submit-sat

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About the Writer
Aron Bishop, Staff Writer

Hello, my name is Aron Bishop. Currently I am Junior attending Sandy Spring Friend School.  My favorite sports are Basketball, & Track & Field....

3 Comments

3 Responses to “Harvard, Here I Come!”

  1. Scout Crooke on November 28th, 2018 12:05 pm

    I really like this article because it is very informational and being a junior, I am interested in learning more about different aspects of the college application process. Also, I have taken the PSAT twice and wonder how they decide to use different questions to make them fair for all students taking the test. I am happy to know that colleges have become SAT or ACT optional in case the scores are not as good as they could be and there are better alternatives to showcase how good of a student someone is. Also, I have heard and noticed that the SAT board is trying to make the test taking environment less stressful. For example, this year students at SSFS took the PSAT in classrooms instead of the large Yarnall Gym to make the test taking environment less stressful. I think that this was a good choice because I believe that classrooms are much more peaceful and quiet than a large loud room where as soon as you walk in you become stressed and dread taking the test.

  2. Shirley Li on December 19th, 2018 4:14 pm

    Cultural differences are definitely one of the important factors in this situation. I totally agree with the opinion of SAT and ACT contains European oriented with very little question or reading from other cultures. This problem absolutely influenced the outcomes of the scores. On the order hand, I don’t think colleges and universities should completely ditch the standardized test. Although there is an unbalanced standardized testing ability among the population, I believe colleges and universities should make the test optional. So students don’t have to submit the score. They still have a chance to show their excellent score.

  3. Lara Conway on January 16th, 2019 9:48 am

    I agree that the SAT and ACT should not be considered as much as the students overall academic career as well as out of school activities. Some students cannot preform as well on test and they can in class. If a College is considering the testing they should also consider the students acedemics equally to the test. Some student also cant focus in the environment of the test. The ACT/SAT is taken in a huge room with hundreds of people an this is very distracting. I think colleges should consider the personal life and academics of a student over their testing scores.

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Harvard, Here I Come!