The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

SAT scores do not predict future success

Parker English
Tomas Ronderos, a sophomore, walks from Carlmont High School with textbooks in hand, ready to prepare for the SAT and future successes.

One test determines a student’s future success.

Many want to do well on the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test), but some struggle to understand what the score truly means. While these scores are important, they may not matter as much as one might think.

“In some ways, I would say one’s SAT score does correlate, at least loosely, with grades and test scores in college. I say this because grades in college, especially in STEM fields, are often determined by two or three large tests, which is also how SAT scores are determined: by one big test,” said Megan Wai, a college graduate from UC Davis.

SAT scores mostly relate to college acceptance due to many colleges’ higher acceptance rate of students with a high SAT scores.

“Right now, the main purpose of the SAT is that colleges use it as a measuring stick to rank students who apply. Everyone stresses over how well they will do on the SAT because of the importance it has in regards to college acceptances,” said Ralph Crame, the principal at Carlmont High School.

Whether a certain SAT score is considered acceptable all depends on the college. The popular chain of UCs (University of California campuses) vary in SAT score requirements, but UC Berkeley, one of the most prestigious of the chain, looks for at least 1330, as reported by PrepScholar.

Regardless, the SAT is very important for college acceptance because students’ GPAs cannot be compared across the country. This is because students’ GPAs change dramatically depending on what high school they attend.

Even though one’s GPA is not a reliable factor for colleges to deny or accept students, it does take into account a certain student’s work ethic, attitude towards school, and ability to follow directions of the teacher, which the SAT does not.

One test can be studied for profusely, but one’s experience in high school and their ability to persevere is more similar to college.

“The SAT is based on a student’s performance on a single test on one particular day, while GPA is calculated over the course of the student’s academic career. Since GPAs look at long-term performance over a wider variety of subjects and school projects, I think one’s GPA is a better predictor of a student’s academic performance in college,” Wai said.

This is a prime reason why SAT scores do not always predict success in college and the future.

Wai took the SAT at Carlmont in the 2011-2012 school year and was able to achieve a score of 2050 out of the older 2400 point scale. This score is highly above average.

Wai was later accepted to UC Davis and ended up graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife, Fish & Conservation Biology. She now works as a fish health technician in Washington state.

However, just one example does not prove a guaranteed correlation for everybody.

“I know people who scored well on the SAT but struggled in college, and I also know people with lower SAT scores who did very well in college,” Wai said.

Some famous presidents and political figures have been brilliant in office and may even have gone to prestigious schools but did poorly on the SAT. This is clearly shown from a recent study regarding the SAT scores of famous people who have had an influence in the world.

Bill Clinton, the forty-second president of the United States, received 1032 out of 1600 on his SAT, yet still went on to graduate from Yale Law School and become president. Also, George W. Bush, the forty-third president, received 1020 out of 1600 on his SAT. Similar to Clinton, he had vast amounts of success, including graduating from Yale, and, of course, becoming president.

These examples suggest that SAT scores do not always predict success. These issues are made much more apparent when scenarios regarding race, culture, or income are looked at.

“There are also a lot of racial, cultural, and socioeconomic biases built into the SAT that make it harder for people of certain demographics to score well on the test. I know the College Board has been working on revamping the SAT in order to correct some of these problems, but overall I would still say that the SAT measures students’ test-taking abilities rather than their overall college readiness,” Wai said.

These issues are very real in the SAT process, but the College Board has been working to fix the situation.

David Coleman, the College Board president, said, “We need to get rid of the sense of mystery and dismantle the advantages that people perceive in using costly test preparation.”

These changes to the SAT have been used to counter the difficulties faced by minorities or low-income families, but there is still a distinction between the scores.

SAT preparation courses can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, and the ones who can’t afford the help usually do worse. There is a 400-point gap between the poorest and richest students, which is quite substantial considering the test is only 1600 points, according to The Atlantic.

In addition to preparation courses causing financial issues, occasionally, students are unable to afford the $52.50 for taking the test.

“To get around this price, students can ask their counselor for a College Board Fee Waiver. If they use a fee waiver to take the SAT or ACT, they may also be eligible to receive fee waivers to apply to colleges, too,” said Connie Dominguez, a Carlmont guidance counselor.

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About the Contributor
Parker English
Parker English, Staff Writer
Parker English is a sophomore at Carlmont High School. He likes to play lacrosse at Carlmont and soccer outside of school. His favorite subjects are math and computer science. @ParkerEnglish4

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The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.
SAT scores do not predict future success