On January 19th, the College Board announced that SAT Subject Tests are now being eliminated on college applications. Originally, the exams were one of the major requirements that students had to satisfy on college applications. However, now that the Subject Tests are eliminated, this sudden change both stroke confusion and relief on many high school students. As a freshman who has not taken subject tests before, I was interested to learn more about the controversial issue on the subject tests becoming eliminated. I was intent on whether this modification would provide an increased possibility for better college alternatives for students. To do this, I interviewed a student counselor at Seoul Scholars International, Ms. Linda, to examine a professional's opinion on eradicating subject tests on college applications.
The student counselor asserted that SAT Subject Tests cancellation indeed has more pros than cons because the cancellation gave extra time on students. Since there is no need for students to spend time preparing for SAT Subject Tests, students are now given spare time to participate in other extracurricular activities and focus on schoolwork. Another advantage that this change possesses is that the college admissions competition among applicants has become financially justified since the students from destitute conditions in disadvantaged families do not have to be concerned in paying expensive fees to take the tests.
Although the counselor showed a positive attitude towards this change, she also showed concerns about the disadvantage of the change. As colleges now have less information regarding applicants’ standardized testing scores, this eventually causes the admissions committee to make biased decisions over most applicants.
The counselor additionally inferred that this change would be more convenient and easier for most students. Since the SAT Subject Tests were held in December or June, which coincides with Final Exams for most schools, she mentioned that the elimination would put less pressure on students to study for both exams. She also added that students could worry less about their AP exams in May because they have more time to study for them with the elimination of multiple SAT Subject Tests.
As I was confused about colleges’ rationale in the removal of SAT Subject Tests, I lastly raised a question regarding their intention. The student counselor estimated that the purpose was for its irrelevance, especially with the AP Exams. She thought the AP Exams have more subject choices and finer evaluation skills not only on the students' knowledge on the subject matter but also their ability to reason and communicate clearly through writing.
|[Screenshots of exchanged email interviews. Photo Credit: Minjung Kwon]|
I further interviewed Yuna Cho, a freshman at Seoul Scholars International, over her (a student’s) opinion on the cancellation of SAT Subject Tests. Since students previously had to spend their entire summer breaks studying for SAT Subject Tests, she also thought that the cancellation meant a less burden on students, providing “more time.” She emphasized that SAT Subjects Tests are a bit redundant in that of AP/IB tests which already show a student’s standardized test score in a subject. However, she did raise concerns of all students' necessity to score better on other exams as they are given one less area being evaluated upon.
|[A screenshot of exchanged Kakaotalk interviews.
Photo Credit: Minjung Kwon]
Given the two sides between the elimination and sustenance, the counselor and the student believe that the latter is slightly more effective. Many high school students were under pressure from the burden, schoolwork, and capabilities set of expectations. However, the elimination of SAT Subject Tests on college applications perhaps decreased the burden thrust upon the students. The change primarily has lent students to spend more time focusing on schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and a reduced burden of pressure. While so many advantages are available for students, disadvantages still exist. The college admissions officers are now prone to make prejudiced views on students’ college applications. Colleges now have less information on students’ academic merits. However, overall, it has helped students get a bit more of a light-hearted feeling going through their high school life.
Given a new admissions curriculum, I hope the students cope with this change wisely. The students should apply this risk of transformation into a chance for them to boast more about their intellectual abilities to college admissions officers.
Seoul Scholars International
Minjung Kwon firstname.lastname@example.org