Erika Torres • Staff Writer
You’re back in high school. For four years, you’ve been working hard to get the best scores on the SAT. You’ve studied many hours to get a high enough score for their dream school, practiced twice an hour, and scarified your sanity.
Only to be told by your dream college that your scores are not what the school wants. It doesn’t make sense. You have one of the highest scores throughout all the sections except for one.
The adversity scores.
While most don’t know about it, the adversity score has been apart of the SAT scores for the past 120 years. It was one of the three scores that could allow you entrance to any college. However, this score has nothing to do with education or what was accomplished. Instead it focuses on the background of students.
Ranging from family income to high school background, the adversity score measures each student’s background and gives that a score from one to 31. The higher the score, the more likely someone is able to get in.
“A score of 50 is an average level of disadvantage; higher scores mean a student has faced more adversity.” New York Times journalist Dana Goldstein said in her own article about this topic.
In other words, the more trouble you have growing up, the higher chance you have at entering.
However, as of 2019, the adversity score has been replaced with Landscape, a tool that looks into high school backgrounds and neighborhood environment instead of the student’s background. College Board had done this move to help more students to get into college by focusing on the education rates instead of disadvantages.
This has caused a split between students and colleges.
“The tool does not shift our current process … we consider academic and non-academic achievements in the context of opportunities an applicant has had, and how fully the applicant has taken advantage of those opportunities,” UC Berkeley spokesperson Janet Gilmore said in an email to The Daily Californian.
“Implementing Landscape also doesn’t change the fact that the SAT … rewards wealthy, well-connected students who benefit from expensive tutoring and test prep services. I’d much rather that we made the SAT optional for undergraduate admissions,” ASUC External Affairs Vice President Varsha Sarveshwar said in an email to The Daily Californian.
To some, this maybe a good thing. This allows students a better chance of getting into college and achieving goals they would have given up on. But to some, this could be seen as a pity vote. Ignoring the high SAT scores some work so hard to get for someone who was part of a better high school. That can get someone quite mad.
In the end, is this score really important to be included in college admissions?
Not everyone will agree but shouldn’t we be judged by our own achievements and not where we come from?