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Nadira Berman

Test Optional Colleges on the Rise


If you just can’t seem to get those SAT scores up, don’t fear! In recent years, many highly-ranked colleges across the country have made the decision not to require standardized testing in their applications. But why? The infamous, nearly four-hour SAT exam has been an integral part of the American college admissions process since the 1940s.

Well, it seems that colleges are finally realizing the truth about the test.


Test scores are related more to financial status than intelligence

A 2012 University of Minnesota study showed that higher income students tended to do better on the SAT. Of course, wealthier parents are more likely to spend money on test prep for their children. But that’s not the only reason why their students tend to get higher scores. The study shows that “educational opportunity, school quality, peer effects and other social factors” also play important roles. The environment a child is raised in can strongly affect their ability to perform well on the test.


The SAT doesn’t predict success in college

Schoolwork requires a very different set of skills from the SAT, which explains why kids with good grades can still get bad scores. The SAT requires more speed and memorization, while schoolwork normally requires more deep critical thinking. Colleges can’t predict if a student will do well in college classes based on a standardized test. The SAT isn’t always indicative of a student’s qualifications.


Personality can matter more than grades and scores

I’ve known several students with perfect GPAs and SAT scores that were rejected or deferred from schools. Their problem? No personality.

Nowadays, very few colleges evaluate just the numbers on the page. They realize that these figures don’t tell the full story. Look at all the emphasis placed on the Common Application essay! Admissions officers want to read about who you really are, not how well your memory held up for 4 hours on some test.


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About Nadira Berman

As a Summer Marketing Intern, Nadira is excited to help high schoolers prepare for the SAT and ACT. As a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, she is considering studying economics. In her free time, she reports for the school newspaper and styles photo shoots for the school's fashion magazine. Besides fashion and journalism, her passions include bagels, smoothies and Netflix.

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