College entrance testing has long been the bane of existence for young people, as their ability to achieve a competitive score has held the key to college acceptance. Hit a good number—at or above the posted average for an institution—and you’ve got a good chance of getting in. Or so the perception goes. Fall short, and you need to hope that other factors on your application will carry the day.
For years, tests like the SAT and the ACT have cast long shadows on the rest of the credentialing process. The shame of it all is that these tests are grossly misused. By their current design, they are diagnostic tests whose purpose is to give admission officers a better handle on whether a student can do the academic work in the first year of college. Period.