Northeastern snobbery alert…
We live in a “smart” state.
College admissions are national.
The SAT is a national test.
Why would students in a state that is normally in the top 5 in every educational measure – with our leafy Connecticut suburbs being dragged down by our underperforming cities – not want a national test? It makes no sense.
Let me start with the obvious: most Connecticut suburban high schools are really strong compared to most schools in the nation. Those in the top 10% of schools such a Guilford High School, Daniel Hand High, Lyme-Old Lyme High School, East Lyme High School, Old Saybrook High School, Valley Regional High School (Essex-Deep River) and a whole host of other public schools in Southeastern, CT have battled competition far stronger than most students throughout the country in order to land in the top 10%. Our private schools – Xavier, Mercy, Williams, The Hopkins School, St. Bernards – are also incredibly strong.
You might think that colleges have a fail proof system to account for these scholastic differences. Not true! Most larger universities feed numbers into an academic index with almost no adjustment for strength of school. Smaller liberal arts colleges have a better sense as to the strength of the school. But here I have to report to that most everyone outside of Connecticut does not know how to differentiate the strength of a town’s high school. Madison, CT might mean something around here but not necessarily to those who are reviewing applications for Haverford or Swarthmore or Pomona or any other none New England liberal arts powerhouse.
As for activities, having sat on admissions panels in different settings, I can assure you that it is very difficult to give significant admissions edges to those who are in the “above average to very good range” in activities. Who gets higher marks – the all state trumpet player or the all state soccer player? The Vice-President of Student Council or the kid who started a cool community service project? The lead actress in the school play or the captain of the robotics team?
It will be helpful to have the SATs as an area of strength.