Admission Criteria Other Than SAT/ACT


Hana Zhang, Contributer

Many high schoolers stress due to the amount of schoolwork they have, but when it comes time for college applications, they stress even more. High schoolers are always busy with their schoolwork, or outside activities. Juniors and seniors especially scramble to get recommendation letters or their high school transcripts ready for common applications. Many worry about their SAT/ACT grades, or school grades not being high enough for the college of their dreams. However, colleges should not only use grades as the main admission criteria to decide if a student is accepted or not. Grades should not be the only factor that defines the student. Colleges should also factor in a student’s extracurriculars, college essays, and progress throughout school more. Extracurriculars can reveal a lot about a student. Service-learning initiatives or volunteering is a major characteristic college should look at. It shows that students are interested in giving back to their communities and helping the general good of people. This will help colleges see the applicant as a person, not just as a number of a grade. Many colleges look at sports when considering applicants because sports teams can portray hard work, teamwork, and leadership. Colleges should also weigh the personal essays more for entrance criteria. Some colleges require personal essays, but I believe all colleges should require personal essays. These essays may tell about what a student’s high school was like, and why they chose to study a certain major. Personal essays can help administrators develop a deeper understanding of the student. Although the administrators have the grades of the student, that is not enough. The exams under-represent the students. Grades do not express the personality traits and characteristics of the applicant, it only portrays their intelligence. For example, it does not say anything about integrity, or service, or any other contributions that the applicant may have on the college. The last admission criteria colleges should look at is the student’s progression through high school. Upwards progression shows growth in learning. If a student starts their high school career poorly but ends up graduating as a top student, then it shows that they became more diligent and studious. They wanted to achieve their goals, so they worked hard for it. Colleges should not base off of the final grade, but instead, look at each grade and see how the student progressed throughout their whole high school career. It is important in life to always try to positively progress and grow not only as a student but as a person too. The SAT/ACT is unfair for many reasons, which is why other admission criteria should be used. They both have many design flaws. One design flaw is that it’s not solely about academic ability. Many high-income families can afford review classes for their children. On the other hand, many lower-income families can not afford the additional review. This portrays an unfair advantage for higher-income students. Many students face the problem of not being a good test taker. If they do poorly on the tests, it heavily decreases their chances of getting into the college of their dreams. The SAT/ACT is unfair and under-represents the applicants because there are many factors not included in the tests. I asked one of the guidance counselors from our school, Mr. Vella, for his opinion on the SAT/ACT. He believes that the SAT should not be as important, but instead the high school transcript should be more heavily looked at. A high school transcript can show the student’s progression throughout high school, and the rigor of the classes they took.