My third and youngest child is two months shy of graduating from high school. Last month, he received an acceptance letter from one of the top ten universities in the country. The application process began in October and ended January 1. Over Christmas vacation, he wrote close to forty essays.
But the “real” process began his freshman year of high school. Upon entering high school, my son mapped out a plan and his journey on the pursuit of higher education began. His goal was to make it into a top ten college. He was relentless when it came to creating the perfect “package”. His grades, his extracurricular activities, and his “passion projects” aligned perfectly. One thing was still missing.
As a parent of a high school senior, I’ve been paying close attention to current college admission’s requirements. Because of Covid, most if not all colleges dropped the SAT/ACT requirement. Taking the test and submitting the scores became optional. My son took both tests.
Six months prior to taking the SAT/ACT and three SAT subject tests, my teen started preparing. Each day, he devoted an hour to his upcoming tests. He did not have a pricey tutor, nor did he own an expensive prep course. A $30 book was his only tool. Well, not really. He had something else: a great work ethic and determination. His hard work paid off. He ended up with an almost perfect ACT/SAT score.
Where am I going with this post, you wonder? According to an article in Newsweek, there’s a national movement to remove SAT and ACT scores from college admission requirements. Covid was the push they needed. I predict, it’ll soon be a trend. Washington State University has already ended the requirement permanently. No doubt other colleges will follow.
The general objection to the SAT is nothing new. It’s racist, obviously. As is math, in case you didn’t know. Getting the “right” answer is now racist. If you do well on these tests you’re a white supremacist and you’re showing your white privilege. At least that’s what the woke people at UC Berkley are trying to convince us of. Never mind that Asian students outperform not only black and Hispanic students, but also white students. Therefore, according to Washington State University, their admissions officer will now spend more time focusing on the GPA.
I see a problem with that. Can you truly showcase your hard work simply by earning good grades? What if you don’t attend a fancy prep school that offers tons of challenging AP classes? What if your high school is mediocre? Will your perfect GPA look as good as a perfect GPA from a private, competitive high school? Probably not.
That’s where the SAT comes in. It’s the only objective measure by which a student can demonstrate his or her academic ability. Doing well on the SAT made my son confident that he “wasn’t getting a handout” and that he could do as well as others who had more advantages than he had.
When you think about it, the SAT is the opposite of racist. It provides an incredible opportunity for students who need to improve their circumstances. As is the case with my son, you may not live in an affluent neighborhood, come from a wealthy household, or attend a private school, but you can work your butt off to get a great score on the SAT/ACT.
If you posses a great work ethic and show effort, you have power.
Hard work and effort is all my son and his two older sisters had. Both girls had been successful in college, law school and now in their careers. Nothing was handed to them and everything they’ve accomplished is real.
My children will never apologize for their “privilege”. Their privilege and mine is the hard work we do. My children are privileged because I passed along the value of hard work and education to them.
It’s not a matter of white or black, male or female, but a matter of the legacy we leave, that perpetuates “privilege.” And there’s nothing wrong with that.
My children have checked their privilege and there’s nothing they have to apologize for.
PaulMarch 29, 2021
Hi Sabine, So, where do you think that great work ethic came from? I defer to the obvious details of great parental determination represented herein over a number of years. And you’re right. Abolishing the tests that many of us grew up with, only smacks of simple answers now commonly seen as quick “solutions” to address the great debate of inequality. Yes, Covid continues to be used as an excuse to change anything. I would also suspect, as, with most of our societal woes, that money could be the root of this no-testing evil. Many colleges and universities have fallen on hard times. Enrollment is down. Accepting those who may otherwise be ineligible fills the seats. That’s just conjecture on my part, but I’ve learned to always follow the money for answers. On another note, the fact that your son was accepted on multiple merits, including his test scores, is a testament to the prediction of his overall future successes. Finally, I am so moved to see parents who betray selfishness by allowing or actually promoting the idea of going out of state for a college education. I was told in high school that half of the education in college is being in a new environment and on your own. I am still grateful for that advice. So, you and your son are both to be congratulated! Cheers!
SabineApril 6, 2021
Paul, thank you for taking the time to comment and for your kind words. Actually, college enrollment was up in 2020 , mainly because of optional testing. Harvard alone had around 55,000 applicants, compared to 30,000 the previous year. Yes, this means more money for colleges. The application fee alone for each college is between $70-$95. I agree, Covid is going to be an excuse for many changes.