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The SAT: Is There a Better Way?

Beginning its reign over college applications in 1972, recent challenges to the efficacy of the SAT have caused many institutions to grant optional score submissions to applying students. Although most colleges aren't showing signs of eliminating the SAT all together, a significant portion of top schools are foregoing the requirement of the scores in applications. There are almost 900 schools that currently stand by the idea that students are more than just numbers. The trend of foregoing SAT score submissions appears to be here to stay. However, with one large portion of the application missing, how are admissions officials expected to make proper decisions on accepting and rejecting students?

In some instances, colleges ask for additional writing samples as alternatives to an SAT score submission. But for colleges that don't offer this option, an application submitted without standardized test scores can seem incomplete. Perhaps if schools allowed more alternatives to submitting SAT scores, rather than just leaving them out, it would be easier for more institutions to transition to SAT-optional submissions.

These days, modern technology has allowed us to connect with one another in ways that we have never been able to before no matter the distance. With such advances, students can be evaluated on a more personalized basis. Some universities invite applicants to send in self-made YouTube videos explaining why they should be accepted into the university. Those invites are met with an outpouring of responses, with hundreds of students submitting everything from card tricks to musical performances and "math dances."

By utilizing videos, college admission officials would be able to meet the person behind the number and get a better idea of the contributions they could make to an academic environment. In addition to the popular video submission option, students could also submit online projects, such as completed website designs, app development, digital animation projects and so on. College admissions officials could conduct more face to face interviews with students through mediums like Skype to better determine eligibility for the institution.

Not only are traditional colleges expanding their definitions of an academically capable student, but online degree programs are also giving students the opportunity to approach their education in an unconventional manner. Unlike traditional colleges, online institutions give students with busy professional and personal lives the opportunity to earn their degree while still being attentive to other responsibilities. Students can work at a more flexible pace according to their own schedules to earn their degrees.

Taking a non-traditional approach to higher learning is one of the best ways to make education accessible to a wider range of bright and hard-working students. By de-emphasizing the importance of SAT scores, colleges are giving students the opportunity to sell their best attributes and address how these contribute to a stimulating academic environment. With these new opportunities, students no longer have to be defined as just a number.

This guest post was written by Jesse M. Langley, he is a contributor for EdTech Digest and Technected. Feedback to: jessemlangley@gmail.com

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