Face Off Friday: The SATs

Liam Eifert and Charles Mong

Liam Eifert – SATs are still very important

Given the massive grade inflation of the past decade (according to Compass.com, in 2021, sixty percent of the graduating class had above a 4.0), without test scores many students don’t have any good data to know what institutions are right for them. Applications to selective institutions have gone way up and admission rates have gone way down. Students don’t have enough reliable ways to know what schools they can get into and what their reach schools are. Admissions departments suffer from a similar problem. Without objective measures for student achievement, they are forced to make decisions on shakier ground.

That might all sound a little elitist coming from a University of Chicago commit, but I’ve seen firsthand how much colleges value SAT scores regardless of the test optional language. And there might be some sense to it, too. MIT claims that high performance on the SAT (particularly the math section) shows the ability to excel in their math based courses.

Part of the test-optional appeal is for greater diversity in highly selective schools, but it’s worth taking a moment to ask if this is really the best way to achieve it. If the only way to open the doors to the most elite institutions is to dull them to student success, then we would be admitting that the most basic principles of meritocracy are not only deeply flawed, but impossible. This does not excuse the appalling issues of inequality in this country. Test scores remain reflective of the divisions in wealth and class, but perhaps this should implicate ourselves rather than the test itself. Maybe the SAT is not just a benchmark for Ivy League hopefuls, but also for a whole nation of equality-hopefuls. Let us not throw out the mirror for hate of what it shows.


Chase Mong – SATs not the end-all be-all

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It’s that time of the year again when many Juniors (myself included) stress about taking the SAT. When do scores come out? Are my friends smarter than me? What’s the best score to get for [insert any school]? It turns out that whether you do good or bad on the SAT may not be all that important if you want to pursue a certain career.

I want to begin by saying that many schools do not require SAT or ACT scores when going through the admissions process. Some major schools such as NYU and Cornell University do not have SAT or ACT prerequisites. Even the University of Chicago, which my dear friend Mr. Liam Eifert is attending, doesn’t require SAT scores. I sure hope that test wasn’t for nothing.

There are also plenty of jobs that do not necessarily mandate a college degree. Trade schools can offer a more hands-on way of learning at a more affordable price. Due to the demand for labor jobs, graduates of trade schools can earn a considerable amount of money when they enter the workforce compared to a person with a standard bachelor’s degree.

Although the SAT is an important test that I recommend everybody take, it is not the end-all and be-all when it comes to your future.