Opinions: High schools must do more to prepare students for the SAT


The SAT is a notorious test that millions of high school students across the country unwillingly take each year. It is a test that proves what students learn in high school. It is a test that colleges view as almost an ultimate measure of intelligence. It is a test that directly compares me to the next student. It is a test that public high schools across the country refuse to teach. Why wouldn’t high schools offer students a class on the SAT, a test that matters so much on an application? High schools offer everything but SAT prep. A public high school like Guilderland provides students with the opportunity to perform and excel in all academic and non-academic criteria that colleges look for in applications. The lack of test preparation in schools burdens busy students by forcing them to independently study. Preparation for such an immensely important test should be offered by high schools.

Guilderland High School offers everything to its students but SAT prep–AP classes, clubs, sports, teacher recommendations. Everything but SAT prep. Here at Guilderland, students participate in clubs ranging from French to Harry Potter, take AP classes ranging from European History to Calculus, and play sports ranging from golf to basketball. All of this reflects the way high school is designed to prepare us for college. Since all these characteristics do indeed matter when applying to college, it’s wrong for a high school to not offer SAT prep–an equally important aspect on applications. By not offering any prep, it almost seems that high schools don’t care how students perform, that they seemingly don’t care about the future of their students. It is incredibly wrong that we are prepared in every aspect of high school, but are neglected an increasingly important part of college applications.

By not offering SAT prep in school, students have no choice but to prepare independently while admirably attempting to balance a full schedule. By studying outside of school we have less time for extracurriculars, jobs, and other outside activities that would admissions officers would deem impressive. In order to excel on the SAT, we remove ourselves from these outside activities and events in our lives that also matter. We remove ourselves from sports practice, club fundraisers, even family gatherings. All of this sacrifice, just to prepare enough for the SAT so we won’t have to take it–and prepare for it–a second time. This is not the responsibility of us students, but of the high school. High schools act as hypocrites by not offering SAT prep because it does not align with what high schools should offer its students. If a high school sets a standard to prepare students for college–offering aforementioned AP classes and extracurriculars–then not preparing us for the SAT is an absolute disgrace. They are ignorantly disregarding the fact that the SAT is a tremendously important test that we take for college.

The SAT is a brutal four hour exam that is viewed as a punishing and insuperable obstacle for students with aspirations of attending a competitive university. The SAT forces us to physically remove ourselves from outside activities we’d far rather do. The SAT forces us to study for long nights and endless days just to get a score back we won’t be satisfied with. The SAT forces stress upon sufficiently busy lives. Why do high schools refuse to help stop this harassment of students? Any other form of harassment would be stomped on and crushed in a heartbeat. Yet when it comes to a test that high schools could readily prepare students for, there is no assistance against, no prevention of, and no protection from this harassment. Without proper guidance, students are left to deal with an enormous task alone, leading to unconditional sacrifice, unfair work, and unwarranted stress.

The fact that high schools do absolutely nothing to help their students for this exam is utterly shameful. A school could offer a half-year SAT course that prepares students for the test either midway or at the end of the year. The prep could help develop strategies, understand the test in-depth, and learn the types of questions, eventually culminating in a much higher score. It is indisputable that high schools are wrong in not preparing students for the SAT despite possessing the power to do so.