Scoring high: test results continue to shape future


Art by Valeria Velasquez

Emily Oba

Individuals are responsible for their own lives and can choose to do what they want with them. Whether that means taking school seriously or going with the flow, the decision is one’s own, personal choice.
Nevertheless, students who decide they want to go to a very selective college or get much needed scholarships, grades and standardized tests such as the American College Test (ACT)/Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) matter.
Unfortunately students have to focus and obsess over grades and test scores, but the hard work to obtain high scores is not for nothing.
The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) stated the top factors for the Fall 2016 admission cycle decisions were grades in college prep classes, high school grade point average (GPA), admission test scores and strength of curriculum.
Without high grades in honors, Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes, potential students will not be impressive enough to selective colleges for acceptance. Both grades and ACT/SAT scores can keep students out of the automatic “no” pile in college admissions. The site states standardized test scores have become increased in prominence in college acceptance.
In the 2018 U.S. News’ ranking algorithm, standardized test scores accounted for eight percent of the algorithm, which was more than other factors, such as the amount in the top 10 percent of the high school class. More than 82 percent of colleges consider ACT/SAT scores important in their admissions decisions.
It makes sense that these tests are a factor in admissions because colleges receive hundreds of thousands of applications, and scores seem to be the easiest way to narrow the pool of students wanting to get in.
Additionally, ACT/SAT scores can determine which and how many scholarships one can get. The difference of one point on a standardized test can sometimes be thousands of dollars of scholarship money.
The pressure to have perfect grades and high test scores is even more prevalent today as highly selective colleges are having a harder time differentiating which students to accept and decline.
In the past 15 years, the two main deciding factors for admission have become more difficult to assess, according to The Atlantic.
The SAT has been redesigned twice in that time, and half of all high schoolers have an A average; therefore, because it has become harder for admissions to pick students, keeping grades up and getting high ACT/SAT test scores are even more important.
Although grades and test scores should not take control of a student’s life, they shouldn’t be dismissed as something that isn’t important. While it is unfortunate that colleges have to decide admissions this way, don’t believe that high school students are becoming crazier by increasing their obsession over grades and standardized test scores. For some individuals, the right college, program or scholarship can set their whole path for the future.
What are some of your frustrations with maintaining a competitive academic profile for college? Let us know in the comments below.