The SAT… After College

We all know that SAT scores are an important part of the admissions process at most colleges.  For this reason, many hours and dollars are often spent preparing teenagers for these exams.  What many of us do not know, and what I found out a year ago, is that many employers ask students to report their SAT scores on job applications after they have graduated from college.  The SAT has, sadly, grown even more in its importance for a successful career and a competitive advantage.  It now no longer only directly affects students through admittance to college and thus indirectly through getting a better job, but now often directly impacts a person’s chances of securing employment after school.

When I graduated from the University of Chicago in 2010, like many graduates, Iinterview still had almost no idea what I wanted to do.  I applied to a host of employers, ranging from investment banking and the CIA to advertising agencies and managerial positions.  While these employers are all very different, they had in common that over 50% of them asked me to report my SAT or ACT scores.  I was shocked.  Luckily, six years previously, I had prepared and done very well on these exams.  (Hindsight is, of course, 20/20; I am glad that my parents had their crystal ball glasses on when they provided me with the resources to effectively prepare.)

In a positive twist of fate, this personal lesson has turned into a lesson that I tell all of my students: although unfair, the SAT and ACT are a current reality, that can and do affect you more than you would like.  Though preparing for the SAT can be a dismal task, students that have prepared have the satisfaction of seeing their improvement, getting into a better college, (the secret enjoyment of doing better than their peers), and, whether they recognize it yet or not, being better equipped to compete in an increasingly competitive world.  In such a challenging academic and employment environment, children are lucky to have great parents that do not need to wait for hindsight, but act to prepare their children for the challenges and successes that lie ahead.

Photo by  Susanne13.

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