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The true meaning of college “acceptance”

Naomi Hoch, Online Editor-in-Chief

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As college acceptance, or rejection, letters arrive in the approaching months, applicants become able to measure the success of their cumulative high school careers. Little do they know that biases will very likely prevent them from attending the college of their dreams, even if they are more than qualified for admission.

Colleges use standardized testing as a way to “unbiasedly” compare students. Although there is validity in this method, colleges fail to recognize that this can be an inaccurate measurement of college preparedness. This is especially apparent when someone who earns excellent grades is rejected simply because they are poor test takers. Additionally, SAT scores are often reflective of socioeconomic class, as students who are able to afford tutors tend to preform significantly better than those who cannot. The National Association for College Admissions Counseling published in their Report of the Commission on the Use of Standardized Test in Undergraduate Commission that standardized tests more closely tied to high school curriculum, such as Advanced Placement tests, better reflect a student’s potential for success in college. This proves that the SATs can serve as inferior indicators of intelligence, and should not be weighed as heavily as other factors.

college admissionsPhoto courtesy of more.com

            Major gaps exist in standardized test scores not only between economic classes, but also racial groups. Statistics released from College Board demonstrate that Caucasians and Asian-Americans tend to score more highly than African Americans and Latin Americans. According to mean SAT scores from 2015, the average score for Caucasians in mathematics was a 534, for Asians-Americans 598, for African Americans 428, and Hispanics 457.  College Board also released information indicating that on the Advanced Placement tests, 72% of Asians, 66% of Caucasians, 50% of Hispanics, and 32% of African Americans earned at least one 3. Many people argue that the SATs favor the privileged, reflecting a lesser likelihood for minorities and those from lower classes to score highly.

As granted by the Supreme Court, African Americans previously had increased chances of college admission to make up for discrimination that denied them educational opportunities. Although this legislation no longer exists, colleges continue to accept people on the basis of race as long as it is for the purpose of promoting “diversity.” Colleges specifically target students of certain ethnicities, particularly those who come from low-income households, granting admission to weaker applicants solely on the basis of being a minority. One study, “No Longer, Separate, Not yet Equal: Race and Class in Elite College Admission,” determined that at many elite schools, race can be equivalent to a boost of 310 SAT points. The role of race in college admission has resulted in acceptance statistics that do not accurately represent the American population. Colleges have assumed the responsibility of closing wealth and racial gaps, which are reflected in standardized test scores, but this has largely been at the expense of better qualified students.

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The student news site of Pikesville High School
The true meaning of college “acceptance”