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Ryan Hall

Shae Long-Kish
Multi-Source Essay
19 April 2016
Should Colleges Use Admissions Criteria Other Than SAT Scores and Grades?
The world is a remarkable place with a multifarious population, a short walk down any
street will show that. A myriad of divergent beings thrives about, flaunting their differences
without a thought. The man across the street strumming his guitar to a song he has never heard
before with ease, the woman explaining to her friend how the ice cream shop they visited could
have been more efficient with no extra cost, and the boy who illustrates how a car turning a
corner at a constant speed is infact accelerating, all have one thing in common. They are not the
same, and they do not think the same. When it comes time for them to apply to college, why will
their worth all be measured in the same way? Maybe these people didn't do well throughout high
school and all they need is a chance to prove their worth. The man with the guitar may have been
a great production sound mixer, the woman at the ice cream shop could have been an engineer,
and the boy could have been an exceptional physicist. It is a shame, because a few letters and
numbers decided that they weren't worthy of such greatness, and we lost what could have been
three world changing individuals. We sacrifice the true worth of a person by categorizing them
by only numbers and letters, which leads to their actual worth (that may be measured in a
different way) to be overlooked. With that said, this is why colleges should use admissions
criteria other than SAT scores and grades.
The current admissions criteria overshadows students of a less advantaged background,
states Frank Bruni, in his article “Rethinking College Admissions”. Bruni suggests that the lack

of AP programs in poor schools leaves their students at an unfair disadvantage, whereas rich
schools have plenty of AP classes to cater to admissions criteria. This is accurate, as my current
school has fewer than my previously attended school in southern michigan. In poor schools, it is
more likely - even if they do offer advanced placement classes - that the teacher was ill prepared
to teach the class, therefore making it useless anyways. Bruni describes how AP classes are not
actually an accurate way to measure academic knowledge or hunger, he commented, “Just
making people jump through hoops because we can — we don’t want to do that,’ he told me,
especially when some hoops are so arbitrary that ‘we might as well be admitting these people on
the basis of their height or the size of their neck” (Bruni, 1). Although this is only part of the
problem, its significance cannot be denied. If it obstructs students from an equal opportunity
education in any way, it is definitely a flaw that must be resolved. More schools need to realize
that social mobility is paramount in closing the gap between the rich and poor in the educational
system. This is why colleges should use other criteria for admissions other than SAT scores and
grades, including AP classes.
Lisa Heffernan and Jennifer Wallace, have also brought forth a great perspective in their
article, “To get into college, Harvard report advocates for kindness instead of overachieving”.
They express how the present admissions criteria calls for several different objectives, making it
an almost super-human task. Heffernan and Wallace feel that this shines a spotlight on personal
achievement rather than good citizenship. Although classroom performance is important, many
colleges are beginning to realize the importance of authentic intellectual engagement and the
natural concern for others as well. As a result of the ongoing movement, Yale has decided to add
a new essay question that will help measure the kindness and care that they hope to incorporate
more of in their school. The new question asks, “to reflect on engagement with and contribution

to their family, community and/or the public good”, as quoted by Jeremiah Quinlan, the dean of
undergraduate admissions at Yale. However, further efforts must be made by other colleges to
modify their applications in alignment with these findings, which in turn would diversify the
criteria for admittance.
Kelsey Page is an opinion columnist for “The Stanford Daily”, and is also the author of a
short article entitled “I am more than a number: The case against SAT scores in college
admissions”. Her article analyzes how SAT scores do not establish a proportionate playing field
for all test takers, and how it is a mere reflection of socioeconomic status (SES). This claim has
been analytically proven by the National Center for Fair and Open Testing research. This
indicates that advantaged people yet again have the upper hand over disadvantaged people. Page
claims, “Money buys expensive SAT practice test books, test prep classes, private college
counselors, etc” (Page, 1). Not only that, but the test itself will cost fifty dollars just to sign up.
With that said, if an individual is impoverished, it puts them in an impaired situation before they
even write their name on the test. This means that the SAT is biased, therefore it should be
removed from the college admissions process once and for all. Without it, colleges would need to
sanction new admissions criteria. This is why colleges should use admissions criteria other than
the SAT scores and grades.
The article entitled “The Banking Concept of Education” by Paulo Freire offers yet
another perspective on the unfair criteria used to admit students to colleges everywhere in the
United States. He claims that knowledge is deposited into the minds of students in a hollow
format that is remembered but not understood. He theorizes, “His task is to ‘fill’ the students
with the contents of his narration—contents which are detached from reality, disconnected from
the totality that engendered them and could give them significance”. This information supports

the claim that the SAT scores and grades do not really measure true knowledge, but reflect a
hollow understanding of what is actually being reciprocated by the students. This is why colleges
should use other admissions criteria other than SAT scores and grades, because they reflect only
the mere ability to reiterate facts that were deposited in their mind by the teachers, while lacking
a true understanding what they really mean.
In conclusion, time has show the use of current admissions criteria is ineffective and
should be replaced or added to. There are several problems; The lack of AP classes in less
fortunate schools puts them at a disadvantage, while more fortunate schools have these classes
and the advantage in college applications. Schools expect superhuman things from ordinary
people, which causes schools to focus more on personal achievement rather than authentic
intellectual engagement and the natural concern for others. The fact that SAT scores do not
establish a proportionate playing field for all test takers, and how it is a mere reflection of
socioeconomic status instead of true intellectual power. Lastly, how knowledge is deposited into
the minds of students in a hollow format that is remembered but not understood. Therefore the
system is flawed, and the evidence reflects these findings. Colleges need to begin boarding this
figurative train headed toward a more fair tomorrow for college applicants. Add some new
criteria, change it up, make it an equal opportunity for everyone to take. With that said, this is
why colleges should use admissions criteria other than SAT scores and grades.


Bruni, Frank. "Rethinking College Admissions." The New York Times. The New York
Times, 2016. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.

Freire, Paulo. "The Banking Concept of Education." Web. 27 Apr. 2016.

Heffernan, Lisa, and Jennifer Wallace. "To Get into College, Harvard Report Advocates
for Kindness Instead of Overachieving." Washington Post. The Washington Post. Web. 18 Apr.

Page, Kelsey. "I Am More than a Number: The Case against SAT Scores in College Admissions."
Stanford Daily. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.