It has always been the case that college admissions officials downplayed the use of SATs (and ACTs). Some reasons were entirely legitimate: many colleges publish their SAT ranges – 25-75% – which means that 24% score lower than that range And some are not: college admissions officials are also recruiters for the college. The number of applicants is a measure that correlates with recruitment success. It is simply not in their interest to minimize applications.
Regarding the aforementioned 24%…the likelihood that a suburban kid with no hooks (athletic recruiting, VIP connection, legacy, extraordinary story) will gain admission to a highly competitive school based on top grades and excellent (but not extraordinary) activities is minimal. I cannot emphasize enough how grade inflation has promoted false confidence in parents about their children’s grades in relation to admission at top colleges. Every admissions official I have spoken with has told me that colleges are having an extremely difficult time sorting out the variances between let’s say a 97 average at Old Saybrook High School v. 3.8 average at Stonington High School. As soon as “weighted averages” (bonus points for advanced classes) are included, the analysis becomes nearly impossible to decipher. How does a 102 average at Lyme-Old Lyme contrast with a 4.2 at East Lyme?
As one college admissions official directly told me: the SATs are the only way that we can compare a vast number of our applicants.
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