SAT’s: An academic hindrance to the developing youth


Photo by: Brittany Coates

So here’s a nice picture. You’ve just started your Junior or Senior year of high school. You’re getting good grades, do whatever you’re being told, apply for as many great colleges as you can and work your butt off just to meet the expectations of the administration. You assume you’re all set for life, but you’d be wrong. For some reason, your entire future life is dependent on the upcoming SAT tests, and one low score could ruin your chances of getting financial aid or scholarships for a great college, regardless of your grades, your overall abilities, and whether the path to success beaten into your skull for the past fifteen years is really what you want to do with your life.

For those unaware, the SAT’s are a standardized testing program that is supposed to test you on the core skills with the hopes of being accepted into a good college,having financial support and preparing readiness for that big leap. What they don’t want to tell you is the unneeded stress and rigidness it creates for Juniors and Seniors, who already have it rough with academic achievement and college applications.

We as students have to take a certain amount of core classes and got a high GPA in order to get considered for a college. We spend hours studying and stressing over exams and papers and everything that we thought was necessary for moving on with life. But apparently, that is not good enough for the colleges. Now we have to be tested in a standardized format on all of those core skills that, let’s face it, won’t be used in our lives beyond a basic level.

Besides, knowing basic Math, English, History, and Science is essential for a student on some level, but unless you want to be a Biologist, knowing every single part of a Glucose cell probably isn’t something worth testing me on. The SAT’s are more concerned about getting people ready for college than for real life, the one thing that’s actually going to matter once college starts. The core skills are only going to get you so far. What about teaching them the basics of living? Paying for taxes or investing in good real estate? Don’t you think SAT’s would be better if we put a greater emphasis on that than knowing how to do calculus?  

Now colleges are going to look down upon those students who don’t do well on tests. People with learning disabilities or who break under the pressure of testing will greatly suffer under this SAT system. You’d think we’d be a little bit understanding and give them a bit of a chance, but apparently, everybody’s the same when slumped into a student category. Sorry people with dyslexia, no support for you.

Plus, If they actually cared about the students future, they would probably test the students on stuff that mattered to them. If they want to be a doctor, prioritize science and give them questions relating to that field. Give them further preparation for their career so that they know how to improve and see if they’re ready for their giant step into the real world. But again, the people behind SAT is more concerned about numbers and not character. They could care less about your dreams and ambitions and more about the number of useless information crammed into your brain. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but knowing what “The Green Light” symbolizes in The Great Gatsby is going to help me pay off my student loans. I’m guessing that’s just something I have to figure out on my own.

Let’s not forget that there are students who probably don’t want to go to college, making the SAT useless for that small percentage that don’t pursue a scholarship. Why not accommodate for the students that have different goals? Perhaps this is showing how rigid the mindset of the SAT tests is. They reinforce an already flawed method of teaching while also assuming that college is the one thing that matters after high school. It creates the mentality that all students are equal in thoughts, sharing the same goals and ambitions. There’s no room for flexibility or support with standardized testing. If you don’t meet the high expectations or meet the school’s incredibly closed minded goals, you don’t matter and are a failure. At least, that’s what I learned from taking the SAT’s.

This isn’t to say that the SAT’s aren’t an inherently terrible decision. There is always ways to make this system, and standardized testing in general, beneficial to all students. But they feel misguided in their intentions. They don’t consider any of the student’s interests or goals, slumping everybody into a rigid category where we all have same goals and same interests. They reinforce a flawed education system that beyond college won’t mean a single thing beyond a simplistic level. There is no thought for the students as it only favors a select few, alienating those who venture beyond the path of glory instituted by our education system.