The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Score Choice Is Unnecessary

Just when you thought you had college applications figured out, the CollegeBoard has introduced something new: It now allows students to choose which SAT scores they send to colleges.

Offered at no additional cost beginning spring 2009, the idea behind the Score Choice option is to make the SAT experience less stressful. By giving students control over which scores schools can see, the CollegeBoard hopes to alleviate some test-taking anxiety.
But just because students have this option does not mean they should use it. In fact, Score Choice proves to be more unnecessary than beneficial.

The idea of Score Choice seems great at first—students can make sure schools see only their best SAT score (by test date for the SAT I and by individual test for individual SAT II Subject Tests) when evaluating their applications.

“It will just boost your application and your chances of getting in,” junior Nina Venuti said. “Why not take that advantage?”

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But Score Choice can add unnecessary stress and confusion to a student’s college search.
Having this option causes many students to take the test multiple times in pursuit of a perfect score. Doing so is not only tedious but also pointless; according to the CollegeBoard website, there is no evidence that taking the SAT more than two times increases a student’s score significantly.

Also, colleges will only consider a student’s best score, even if all are sent. For example, according to University of Pennsylvania Assistant Director of Admissions L. Wayles Wilson, Penn only looks at an applicant’s highest individual SAT score.

Furthermore, some of the most selective schools do not allow Score Choice. Stanford, Rice, Georgetown and Yale require applicants to send all of their scores. When they do this, colleges are not seeking to penalize applicants, only to learn more about them. Most experts agree that colleges prefer to see an applicant’s entire test history because it shows the applicant’s consistency, improvement and relative strengths.

“There is never any negative connotation to sending multiple scores where some may be lower,” College/Career Center Coordinator Kristin Joseph said.

“[Colleges] want to make that choice.”

After all, students’ college applications are not completely defined by their SAT score.
“Scores are only one portion of what colleges are looking at,” Joseph said. “You don’t need to stress so much over that one area.”

Furthermore, Score Choice is complicated to use. On the CollegeBoard website is a link to the “SAT Score Use Practices” chart, which is a 52-page long list of which institutions require which scores to be sent. When using the Score Choice option, students must scour this list to see if their college of choice will allow them to send only selected scores or if it requests all scores for review. Since colleges use different procedures when they look at scores, navigating the Score Choice process can be complicated and counterproductive.

Getting into college may seem more competitive than ever now that students can choose only their top scores for admissions officers to see. Despite this, students are not at a disadvantage if they do not use Score Choice. In fact, they will probably come out more sane for not having taken enough tests to make them bubble in scantrons in their dreams.

If students want to be successful and reduce stress during the college application process, they should worry less about the scores colleges see and stay relaxed enough to represent themselves well during the process.

All in all, Score Choice is just one more choice to make when students should be simplifying the process of college applications, not complicating it.

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