By Steven Roy Goodman, Educational Consultant, Co-Author, College Admissions Together
May 27, 2008
Almost everyone agrees that top colleges ought to examine grades, rigor of a student’s academic course load, intellectual drive, application essays and personal statements, extracurricular activities, summer experiences, employment history, athletic prowess, compelling or unusual life experiences, information from interviews, aptitude, and ambition. But university double-speak about the SAT and ACT makes it difficult to focus on the crucial question in admissions that directly affects students everywhere. Which factors should be the most important in a zero-sum admissions process and how aggressively should colleges be allowed to dip in order to enroll students who don’t excel equally in these key areas?
The current admissions process was designed by and for colleges that want to examine all these factors and then build a freshman class that reflects the values of their particular educational institutions. As an educational adviser, my job is to help my students read between the lines of this process and then help them to present themselves to various admissions committees. To my students and families, the SAT is a side-show. The real focus is on identifying and being admitted to colleges and universities that are right for them. I will continue advising my students to focus on personal factors that put them in the most favorable light possible – with or without the SAT.