SAT I: Putting it to the Test

The three most dreaded letters in a high school student’s vocabulary might finally come to an end and I, for one, although no longer a part of the high school crowd, could not be more ecstatic. The Scholastic Aptitude Test, commonly known as the SAT, has recently been questioned by the president of the University of California, Richard Atkinson. Among other highly debatable arguments, Atkinson proposed that students need a more “”holistic”” approach to admisions and that eliminating the SAT I from the admission process would be a way to “”get more people in,”” as well as be a benefit to minorities and other students.

Dropping the SAT I in the admission process is an action that is long overdue. Being both unfair and unjust, this highly controversial test contains more than one problem that needs to be resolved. It is also time to get rid of those No. 2 pencils and the endless hours of bubbling in answers to unnecessary questions.

For years, students have had to prove their academic ability through this aptitude test, which contains only verbal and math categories. Students are not tested in other skills, such as history or science, and are only given three opportunities to take the test before they turn in applications for colleges. This alone proves how unnecessary and unjust the test it. Another evident point lies in the fact that some students, including me, do not have the test-taking skills that others do. It is for this reason that some tend to do so poorly and do not get into colleges, while others, who might have slacked of all their high school lives, receive a perfect score and get into Yale.

Yet another problem lies in the fact that the SAT I has essentially tortured students, some of who begin to study and prepare for it starting in junior high school. Since the SAT has historically been such a big part of college admission process, along with GPA, essays and extracurricular activities, students have felt the pressure to start early in preparing, which includes paying hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars to take preparatory classes. This tremendous amount of pressure is somewhat of a cruel punishment to these students who essentially compete with each other to get higher scores.

Determining admissions through GPA, essay and activities alone would be a tremendous benefit to a great number of students. For instance, getting rid of the SAT I would be a likely factor in increasing minority enrollment, something that the UC system desperately needs. Ever since the passage of Proposition 209 in 1995, which outlawed affirmative action in all California public universities, minority admissions have decreased overall.

According to “”Newsweek”” magazine, income level and race has greatly varied — specifically decreased — when it has come down to scores on the SAT. While Asian-Americans had a higher average compared to African-Americans, Latinos and whites, Latinos had the lowest averages both in verbal and math. This evidence has proven the fact that the SAT I is an unfair way to determine how capable a student is academically when entering a university. By eliminating the SAT I in the admission process, not only will minorities have the opportunity to have a better chance of getting in, but the rest of the students who are not the best test-takers will also have a higher chance of getting accepted.

Eliminating the SAT I for UC admissions affects us college folks here at UCSD, who have, of course, already had the pleasure of taking the test. With the SAT I gone, there will be an increase in minority students on campus, something the UC has been striving to do ever since Prop. 209 went into effect.

This can be taken to be a bad sign, but having more people would mean more professors, a bigger campus and, well, more friends to go all around. With more and more students applying to UCSD every year, acceptance rates will go up, as will UCSD’s reputation.

With all of this controversy, all of us are probably asking the question, “”Why didn’t they have the idea to get rid of the SAT I when we were in high school?”” It is true that we all had to go through the painful and nerve-racking SAT I before, but that should be just one of the many other reasons why the SAT I should not be a big part of the admissions process now or in the future. All in all, one test should not be the deciding factor for one’s future. As Atkinson so perfectly stated when arguing his case, “”Something must be done.””