You are worth more than just a score

“You know, you should really start studying for the SAT,” is the phrase I am starting to hear all the time now.

I am only a sophomore, but if I really want to make all of these APs and extracurriculars count, I had better start studying. If not, I might get stuck going to one of my safety schools, or worse yet, not going anywhere at all. I have to “start doing everything I can to get a top score” if I want to succeed, or so I am told.

We do everything we can, on top of all of our regular school work and extracurriculars, by spending hours upon hours studying for tests like the SAT or ACT. We buy every test prep book and material known to man, sometimes even spending thousands of dollars on private tutors and test prep programs.

But the problem with all of this is that it simply is not fair. It provides colleges with an easier method of narrowing down its candidates, but it is not fair.

Junior Madison Mangine is like any other person her age. She has a job, goes to school, plays a sport and spends a large portion of her time each week studying for the SAT. She goes to SAT classes every Monday and spends hours on end studying books and taking practice tests.

“It frustrates me how much time I spend studying. It doesn’t matter how long, how many nights a week, or how far in advance you study. If you don’t test well then you’re screwed. It doesn’t matter how hard you study or how much effort you put into it; all that matters is your score,” Mangine said.

Mangine raises a lot of questions that others have previously asked. What is the point of all of the hard work you put into your school work if all that is really going to determine if you get into college is whether or not you do well on some test? A test that really better judges your test-taking abilities rather than your actual knowledge. A test that you can really only do well at if you invest inordinate amounts of time and money to do so.

Junior Nick Toffoli shares similar frustrations.

“Me, personally, I wish there was more of a personal factor instead of so much focus on the SAT test or any standardized test – like if the colleges would actually learn your personality [and] what’s behind the grades. If they would see you as more than just your grades or a number, so you would have a personality behind those numbers,” Toffoli said.

And that is the exact thing that many people struggle with, how can they possible make a decision that will essentially determine the rest of my life, when they haven’t even made an effort to get to know me? They take your GPA, your SAT or ACT and combine them all together to determine what kind of person you are. But the fact is that you are so much more than the sum of your different numbers. They are missing part of you that is so much bigger than that. Your personality, who you are you gets lost in translation.

The more colleges focus on your test scores, the less they focus on you. As a person, as an individual, as the amazingly wonderful and talented bright student that you truly are, which simply is not always reflected in just a number. How can we possibly be told to foster our creativity and pursue our passions, when at the same time we take hours and hours away from pursuing our passions and spend them holed up in a class being taught to think like everyone else? We have to abandon our own thoughts to get in the mind of some test taker who thought A was the right answer. I personally thought it was B. But that is the problem. I was thinking like me and not everyone else. I checked the wrong box, so they did too.

We get assigned numbers and fit into neat little boxes. Check A or B. True or False. Accepted or Denied. You have to fit the mold if you want to fit in the box. So, how much of yourself are you willing to reshape; how much of your creativity are you willing to give away? What number will you become to fit in the box?