Tuesday, July 15, 2008

sats suck. so do rankings.

Who here thinks standardized testing rocks? (Please don't let me have a comment from someone whose hobby is ACT testing!) I think it sucks. Horribly. It's time consuming, non constructive, and just spews out another set of numbers for students to feel inferior with.

Why the sudden rant? I had a long conversation last night with one of my friends who's still in high school. He's ready to take his fourth SAT. Eurgh. Cue vomit. His reasons why? He feels that he could really go up another 30 points on his scores. He's already scoring over 2200 on his highest combined scores. *facepalm* That, my friends, is unnecessary overkill. At some point all the testing has to stop, if you can't break a.. 2000 barrier, don't beat yourself up trying to do it. Seriously, numbers aren't everything. These days, I feel that an admissions committee would look at the scores, think "Alright, they can do the work. Next! What makes them special?" And no, I don't think having a perfect GPA and ACT score makes you special.

But really, don't. stress. out!! If you've done your best, you've done your best. Really. Relax, you'll be fine.

Now, why did my friend want to get such a high score? Of course, his parents want him to go to a school ranked in the top 10 of US News and World Report. *cue fit of irritation* Rankings also really, really annoy me. They're so... useless. Do they measure how much the students learn? Do they measure how happy people are at the college? How about how openminded the administration is? How useful the education is, seriously? Nope to all four, yet people go by them as if they're a holy text. They're also really regionalized.

Take UVA for example. Most of you guys probably know that UVA is considered a public Ivy and is one of the top schools in the nation. (Yadda yadda how awesome we are, hehe). What you might not know is that we have a vastly different reputation say in.... Asia. There we're actually known as a safety school, because we're public. Or that we're not a good school at all because we don't have the same prestige as an Ivy League. How different is that? Or let's not even go overseas, let's stay in the continental United States. Those of you on the East Coast. How good do you think California's UC schools are? I've heard some East Coast friends bash it to heck and back, firmly convinced that it's barely a step above high schools. West Coast friends, that's obviously not the case. How about those of you on the West Coast? How good do you think Swarthmore, Wellesley and UMCP are? ..I hope you've heard of them.. Precisely my point.

Nothing irks me more than hearing someone say, "Oh I'm going to be flipping burgers in McDonalds when I'm 30 because I didn't get into Cornell." ..no you won't. Your life will be perfectly fine. Don't pay attention to rankings so much when you're looking at colleges, and don't focus on numbers so much. It's what else is written on the application that really makes the person.

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