By Tom Weimer, ’18
As a generation of adolescents, we really lack a common topic to stand up for. At this day in age, it seems like conventions of like-minded angry young adults, protests, and marches are being replaced by Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube.
Don’t take me as a bitter old man complaining about this generation- I understand that times change, but I feel like as a generation we’ve given up on being the angsty, anti-authoritative, stick-it-to-the-man types that have lead to tangible and beneficial change in the past.
Junior year is said to be the most difficult year of high school, primarily because of the stress of applying to college. The thing I’ve learned in the past few months of creating a Common App account, taking my first ACT, and starting tutoring sessions is that it’s one big scam.
To be fair, it’s not a conspiracy theory in the same vein as jet fuel and steel beams, but at the very core, the pre-Collegiate standardized testing is rigged and fundamentally corrupt.
Originally, the SAT was designed to indicate the level of readiness for someone going to college. Soon enough, though, the SAT company began to realize that the more people freaked out about their score and tried to take it again, they more money they made.
It’s essentially a pursuit of perfection; people think if they had eaten better, or gotten more sleep, or studied more, they could have gotten the score they feel they deserve. The SAT, and it’s competing company the ACT, both capitalized on this by offering the test during the most stressful times of the year, when the weight of academics is the heaviest, and spaced them every two or so months, to increase the idea that there’s high stakes.
Boiled down, these companies want you to be the most stressed, tired, worn out, and anxious as possible so that they can have you take it again and again. In my opinion, that’s something to get angry about.
I’m not asking people to congregate by the tens of thousands to protest corporate greed, but I feel like spreading awareness about this false sense of urgency that comes with the ACT/SAT would really benefit everyone.
For one, test scores aren’t the biggest things that schools look at, your GPA is. This and the fact that the almost nonexistent probability of having the perfect testing conditions were enough to stop me from losing my mind the week before ACT’s.
Instead of cramming recommended formulas, grammar rules, and other useless information until midnight like most people, I was eating Noodles and Company Mac and Cheese and watching Stranger Things on Netflix.
In the end, I feel strangely that this helped me a lot; on the day of the test, looking around at the countless bags under eyes, coffee mugs, and greasy McDonald’s breakfasts that surrounded me, I felt at peace that I wasn’t being duped.