Who Needs the SAT?
Published: Friday, April 21, 2006
Updated: Monday, May 23, 2011 16:05
Attention high-school seniors-put away your study guides and drop your Kaplan courses. Who needs the SAT? Furman will let you in anyway!
That could be the case if a proposed admission plan is soon enacted. The administration's reasoning is that the SAT is not an accurate indicator of college performance and could be skewed, aiding students from higher income households. However, we believe that this plan would be detrimental to Furman and should not be enacted.
Admission to Furman should-and, to the best of our knowledge, has in the past-use a variety of information on which to base admissions decisions. Yes, a student could have a low SAT score, but stellar involvement in extracurricular activities could make up that gap. However, getting rid of this requirement is not the answer.
Although the SAT may not be the most accurate indication of performance in college, neither is the LSAT for law school or the MCAT for medical school. Yet, these too are required. Are we to expect graduate schools to waive the GRE for Furman students because they never had to take the SAT?
While we're at it, we should get rid of finals, too. Some students just don't test well, so that shouldn't penalize the rest of the work they have done in that class. Come to think of it, are grades really necessary? Shouldn't we just go to class for the love of learning?
The motive behind the SAT move is yet another in a string by the administration to make Furman more competitive with similar colleges. Rhetoric aside, instead of coming up with innovative ideas, their plan is to copy other universities and hope that Furman will somehow become the best university in the nation. "This plan worked at other universities, so why not ours?" they muse. But the colleges that have done away with the SAT are not similar to Furman in size, academics or any other measure of the student body. There is no conclusive evidence to tell us that erasing an SAT requirement would help a student choose Furman over Davidson, Washington and Lee or Vanderbilt. All those schools require the SAT, and if the student got a good score, shouldn't that be a plus that is considered in the application portfolio?
Dean Kazee's suggestion that the inability of lower socioeconomic students to pay for SAT tutoring and classes could hamper their ability to score well is ludicrous. With ever ballooning tuition, how are these people going to afford $38,000 a year? The root of the problem is trying to control tuition inflation and help provide more financial aid and scholarships for such students. This plan does neither. More problems will be created rather than addressing the problem at hand.
The SAT is not perfect. Scoring inequities have plagued the test, especially this year. However, it is the one standard-measurement, along with the less-popular ACT, that colleges can use to compare high school students across the board. All high-school GPAs are not created equal. A 4.0 at one school is not equal to a 3.5 at another. While scores should not be the deciding factor in admissions by any means, they are, nonetheless, a way of applying equal measurement to students across the board.
The adoption of an admissions policy that does not recognize SAT scores is one of the most detrimental policies Furman could implement. We strongly urge the administration to reconsider their position and come up with original ideas to make Furman a more appealing university instead of copying ineffective plans by other schools. One idea - instead of abolishing the SAT requirement, require applicants to disclose whether they have received any paid, out-of-school tutoring and adjust their application accordingly. We at Furman can come up with our own ideas instead of just borrowing those of others.