Why do your SAT scores matter? A common question during senior fall, and yet one that is not easily answered. Though many are going into the college admissions process thinking that their SAT scores will somehow matter less now than in years past, this is unfortunately not the case. Because more and more kids are applying to more and more colleges, more and more admissions offices will frequently use your SAT scores to determine your admissions decision. Alas, it is easy to choose between two seemingly identical candidates when one has a higher SAT score. And because there have been few additions made to the admissions staff at colleges, SATs are now used as tools to make quick and easy cuts to the application pool. Colleges of course, will not admit to this because they love choosing from a large application pool; it makes them look more selective and raises their ranking. One could even argue that test optional schools are only test optional because only students with stellar scores will report them, which in turn raises that college’s rank even higher.

I personally have only experienced utter failure on the SAT. I took it for the first time last May after having studied for months taking practice tests and using the famed Khan Academy. I was sure of my success. After receiving my scores back, hiding in dismay in my room for three hours and questioning whether or not my entire education had been a lie, I decided to be proactive. My mom, dad and I decided to split the cost of hiring two tutors (one for math and one for English) over the summer in between my work hours. I would meet five times for an hour and a half with each tutor and then take two practice tests. Surely, I thought, this would get me the score I deserved.

Of course, life isn’t that simple and after all that work my math score went up 20 points and my English score went down 20 points. My score had stayed the exact same.

Instead of being upset, I have taken some advice from a friend and detached all my emotions. I have decided to stop looking at applying to college as this wonderful adventure that will surely lead me to wonderland. I am going to look at it the way it is: as a business. If my SAT score is what prevails over all my extracurriculars and academics, so be it. If a college wants me, they want me, and if they don’t, they don’t. I realize now that I had done all I could do. It was now up to them to decide, I wasn’t going to waste time agonizing over it, and neither should you. You are more than a number.

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