Defending the SAT

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"An Admissions Dean's Tips for Getting In" [usnews.com], an interview with Peter Van Buskirk, a former admissions dean at Franklin & Marshall College about college admissions, provided information on a variety of admissions topics, including high school course selection, résumé building, essay writing and financial aid.

However, when it comes to standardized tests, Van Buskirk reinforced a myth - that the SAT is "designed to trick" test takers while the ACT is a "subject test." The SAT, like the ACT, tests what students learn in high school - reading, writing and math. The SAT also tests crucial critical thinking skills, which are necessary for success in college and beyond. College admissions officers want to know more than whether students have retained what was taught in the classroom; they also want to know how students think and solve problems. Also, the College Board offers the SAT Subject Tests, which enable students to demonstrate mastery in additional areas such as foreign languages and scientific disciplines. Colleges and universities require students to submit test standardized test scores because they want students to succeed in college. The SAT in combination with high school grades is the best single predictor of success in college.


Laurence Bunin
Se nior Vice President, Operations
and General Manager, SAT
The College Board
New York