Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Ivy leagues require SAT scores again

Mohitha Ravikumar

The United States of America prides itself on being the land of the free but frequently forgets to mention that it was founded on the backs of millions of enslaved people. One would think that hundreds of years later, the U.S. would have long since freed itself from its white supremacist ways and instead embraced a far more equitable code of conduct, but that is not quite the case. The U.S. has come a long way regarding its treatment of minorities today. However, it has some racist habits that it cannot seem to shake. 

Take the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) for example. The SAT was created by Carl Brigham, a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant psychologist and well-known eugenist. He wrote an entire book about his eugenist ideology titled “A Study of American Intelligence” that claimed “African-Americans were on the low end of the racial, ethnic, and/or cultural spectrum.” Brigham was among the many White Americans at the time who feared the increased influx of immigrants impeded the American gene pool. 

And so, he created the SAT to identify people of color who would have detrimental impacts on American intelligence. After implementation, Brigham would examine the test results and remove the questions that Black students outperformed White students on. 

Today, disparities exist in the scores of Black students and White students. A key factor in that disparity now is how wealthier students have an unfair advantage due to increased access to test-prep material and the ability to afford to retake the test to get the scores they desire. In some public school districts, a student’s first attempt at the SAT may be free, but the student must pay for any after that. The SAT can cost between $52 and $68 per exam; wealthy students can easily afford this expense, but underprivileged ones cannot. Meanwhile, the College Board — the entity that administers the SAT and other exams — made $1.2 billion in profits in 2020 from these tests. 

The SAT has been used, regardless of its racist origins, for university admissions for decades. Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Undergraduate enrollment dropped dramatically because of it, so many institutions, including some of the Ivy Leagues, suspended their SAT score requirements for admission. While the University of California system has opted to permanently suspend its test score requirements, some of the Ivy Leagues, like Harvard, Yale and MIT, are already lifting their score suspensions. 

Josef Durand, an admissions consultant at Quad Education Group, states that SAT scores are poor predictors of a student’s potential in college and that using GPA as a metric is at least five times better. He is not alone in his opposition to the reliance on SAT scores; college students cite how a single test is not reflective of a student’s personal and academic achievement throughout their high school career. 

Additionally, many students experience test anxiety and perform dramatically worse on tests than their typical coursework. The unfamiliar test-taking environment and time constraints add undue pressure onto high school students when taking their SAT for the first time, which often harms their SAT scores. 

If colleges could admit students without their SAT scores, then they simply are not as mandatory as some of these institutions make them out to be. They give certain demographics an unfair advantage over others, which leads to a less equitable admissions process. Alternative metrics such as overall GPA, extracurricular activities, admission essays and letters of recommendation are all viable substitutes for SAT scores for colleges to base their admissions standards on. Colleges did it during the pandemic, so they can continue doing it now.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Mohitha Ravikumar
Mohitha Ravikumar, Graphic Artist
Mohitha Ravikumar (she/her) is a sophomore pursuing a Computer Engineering degree at UTSA. Outside Paisano you can find her drawing, painting and creating new artworks.

Comments (0)

The Paisano intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Paisano does not allow anonymous comments, and The Paisano requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Paisano Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *