Throughout my life I have traveled around the world, from my birth in Ecuador, to the Sahara Desert in Africa and the medieval castles in Europe, I have seen much of what the world has to offer. I have learned the Spanish language almost fluently while living in Lima, Peru for three years. I have volunteered to teach English at a barely functioning Peruvian school that could not even afford paper or pencils for its children.
My grades have never fallen below a 3.7 grade point average, and on top of my academics, I have worked for two years at the twenty-fourth leading trauma hospital in the United States, INOVA Fairfax. My athletics closely mirror my academics, as I am the second seeded varsity tennis player at the second most challenging school in the nation, George Mason High. Now completing my much anticipated senior year, I am opening new chapters of my life as I begin my college application process. As my impressive list continues to grow, like that of millions of other young adults, there is one hole in my package that is far too big to cover up--my SAT scores.
Two sets of digits, one representing math, the other verbal, added together produce a number that is so vital to college acceptance that candidates go to extreme measures to reach a precise score. Parents, such as my own, spend anywhere from $900 up to such ridiculous amounts as $20,000 for classes and private SAT tutors. Many books have been published, guaranteeing score increases and complete coverage of all the possible vocabulary that the SAT contains, along with flash cards that review and promise to prepare one for their SAT taking experience.
The SAT is said to be a test that reflects oneís general knowledge in high school. Many people would agree that people like me are well rounded and scholastic but fail to score well, although they would clearly fall in the higher "general knowledge" percentile. The SAT is fond of posting which percentile one would fall under, based on his or her score. I fall under the dreadful 64th percentile with my combined score of a 1070; a number that is widely frowned upon by college admissions committees. Based on one exam, out of the thousands that I have taken throughout my academic career, the fact that I donít know such words as "despotic" on the SAT can be enough for me to receive a rejection letter.
In the early months of my senior year, I went to several guidance college planning appointments where my counselor sifted through my academic package and critiqued what she saw, my 1070 SAT score. I had planned to do an early-admission application to a university in Virginia; however, after meeting with this college specialist, my plans changed. I became gently enlightened of the news that my chances of being accepted early were very slim, despite my shining GPA and activities list, merely because of my SAT score. The SAT dented my college application as though it were a new car, now unqualified to be sold at full price to the critical buyers.
Time has passed, and my application waits for the day I will mail it out. My SAT scores have yet to improve, despite a class and three more testing experiences. The rich years that have been molded so carefully by the vast influences in my life are hardly positive when I am represented not by what I have truly learned, seen, and experienced, but by a number.
For all the younger generations that
will soon face my battle with the SAT, despotic means tyrannical, as in