Are SATs Enough For Colleges To Decide Upon?

The SAT is a dreaded moment for many teens nationwide. Four hours of pencil tapping and nervous perspiration. Can a four-hour test really describe one’s intelligence? And for that sake, what makes a person intelligent?

Many schools such as Sarah Lawrence College believe that SAT scores do not fully display a person’s intelligence and future success in college. In 2004, Sarah Lawrence College eradicated the requirement for SAT scores stating, “SAT scores added little to our ability to predict how a student would do at our college.” (Michele Tolela Myers, The Washington Post) And since then, many colleges have decided to either have optional SAT scores, or none at all. Colleges following in this optional trend include mostly private colleges like, Pitzer College of the selective Claremont College consortium and Goucher College in Maryland.

In a passage from “The Art of Fiction”, Henry James stated:

“…. when the mind is imaginative–much more when it happens to be that of a man of genius– it takes to itself the faintest hints of life, it converts the very pulses of the air into revelations….The power to guess the unseen from the seen, to trace the implication of things, to judge the whole piece by the pattern…this cluster of gifts may…occur in country and in town, and in the most differing stages of education.”

When a college makes a student a number, the college looses the brain and imagination behind the book smarts. And sadly, imagination and drive are two missing factors of the SATs. If we merely described intelligence as the ability to state facts, then the people that millions consider genius would be unknown, people that pushed the envelope like Jim Morrison, George Lucas, and Walt Disney. These people changed our culture dramatically over the past century, and are divinely intelligent. Do colleges not want minds saturated in imagination as well as intelligence? Should this four-hour test be ever high schoolers’ be all and end all?