How SAT scores can get you where you want to be

“Sather Gate” by John Loo is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Post By Abby Regan

When I got my acceptance letter from UC Berkeley, I couldn’t believe it. My eyes swelled with tears of disbelief. My mom, who was driving the two of us to the airport at the time, looked over with concern. She thought my tears were unhappy ones, but before she could begin to console me I interrupted her.

“I got in.” my voice cracked. She paused. “I got into Berkeley.”

She was even more excited than I was. After the initial excitement, she turned to me and said, “You need to write a big thank-you letter to Ray Dass.”

She was right. I owed most of my college acceptance to my SAT score.

When I first started high school, I was one of those students that was okay with partial effort and mediocre grades. If it weren’t for my SAT score and my essays, admissions officers wouldn’t take a second look at my application. I had limited leadership experience—most of my extracurricular time had been dedicated to doing theatre— so while I had been involved on campus, I wasn’t necessarily doing more than any other student at my high school.

The Standards Are High, But Our Ambition Is Higher.

When application pools get larger and larger, college admissions standards only get higher and higher. As a student trying to fight for a place at the top, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with pressures to be the top teen mathematician in the nation or cure malaria.

Of course, these accolades and accomplishments help, but at the core of the application are standardized test scores. Standardized tests help colleges compare the abilities of students who are coming from all corners of the globe. The stronger your score, the more confidence admissions officers have that you will succeed at their university. It’s more than just a foot in the door— it’s proof that your accomplishments, your mind, and your talent is comparable to the best in the country.

In the end, colleges want to see that you can grow, learn, and take opportunities as they come. The SAT and ACT are your opportunities to shine. Don’t let them slip away, your mom will thank you.