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05/05/2018

Colleges no longer base their acceptance on test scores…

For years, ACT and SAT scores have made high school students all over the country shake in their boots. There’s pressure, lots of studying, and a ton of stress involved, because colleges based their admissions largely on those test scores.

So where does that leave the kids who hate testing or just aren’t good at it? You know the ones… those students who do amazingly in the classroom but poorly on tests. Sometimes it’s because of pressure, sometimes its nerves, and other times it’s just testing anxiety. They know they could do well, but when that timer starts and the test booklet and Scantron sheet gets put in front of them, they freeze. Deer in headlights! Except in this case, the deer is the student’s brain and the headlights are the empty bubbles waiting to be filled in.

This can be a very dangerous thing for the students, both in the testing process and for the effect it could have on their futures. For this and other varying reasons, many colleges have decided that test scores are no longer the deciding factor in a student’s acceptance into their institutions. Instead, they’ve begun basing their acceptance on the applications and the students’ performance in the classroom.

This is good news! High school students can now rest easy and stop stressing out about their test scores.

This seems to be a growing trend, especially since colleges like Stanford and Harvard have also switched to something called common applications. This secure online application lets high school students submit applications to colleges and universities without having to necessarily do amazingly on the admittance tests. You’re more than just a test score, just like Zinch’s web site says! This is a beautiful thing and allows for more students to have a chance at getting degrees, especially if they’re underprivileged.

When it comes right down to it, students are so diverse that a sit-down test can’t possibly give the best idea of someone’s potential and skill set. Many colleges have now decided to focus more on the students’ ability to function and thrive in the classroom. According to Education Portal, “Most institutions found that, after making the tests optional, the qualified number of applicants went up significantly in many formerly underrepresented groups, including first-generation, minority and low-income students.”

So what’s the moral of the story? Test scores aren’t everything! High school students can now celebrate the fact that more institutions are realizing this, and let’s hope that we make further strides in improving the education system and process for everyone. There are a ton of students who need a chance, and that’s it… if they never have the opportunity to further their education, then through no fault of their own they’re robbed of experience and education.

I love the fact that this is happening for the simple reason that my kids will have a better chance of getting into a college based on their skills and knowledge, not their ability to stay calm during a test or perform well in a high-pressure situation. After all, this isn’t the TV show Chuck and most students don’t go to college to learn how to become a CIA agent. Most students just want to be able to follow their interests and get good jobs, so college is a good way to help make that happen.

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