Why Colleges Should Waive Standardized Testing Requirements

My professor fondly refers to me as an "overachiever". He encourages me to apply to top tier universities that cost more than my annual household income. "You never know," he says, "the scholarship packages might surprise you."

You must understand, dear professor, that it isn't just the cost of attendance that is deterring me from applying to universities like Harvard.

I am a Pakistani citizen, raised in Saudi Arabia, who attended a Canadian high school prior to transferring to an American community college. I, along with most of my other classmates, never wrote the SAT or ACT.

For low-income families, every dollar spent with no immediate gratification is a dollar wasted. Why spend $55 writing the SAT when that money can be used for health insurance?

The international median household income is around $10,000. In fact, if I was a US citizen I would be eligible to receive a Pell Grant. Yet, despite this as an international student I am ineligible to obtain a fee waiver to write the SAT, which is a requirement to apply to most elite American universities.

How can America's top tier universities take pride in being global institutions when the majority of the world's population is ineligible to even apply to them? How can they boast about having a student body comprised of the best students when they were selected from such a homogeneous applicant pool?

Standardized tests are a racist and classist method of selecting students. The College Board's own data proves that wealthy and white students perform better on the SAT than students of other demographics.

The College Board's data reveals that the average household income has a significant impact on a student's score on the SAT.

The College Board's data reveals that white students perform better than students of any other race on average, with Asians being the only ones outperforming them.

When elite universities require students to submit their standardized test scores, they effectively discourage poor students from applying. It is no wonder America's elite schools have very little socioeconomic diversity.

I simply cannot fathom why universities require transfer applicants to submit scores for standardized tests meant to be taken by high school students. What purpose do they serve?

My transcript, resume, essay, and recommendation letters are proof of my work ethic and academic achievements. I performed as well as I could in the institution I attended with the resources I had access to. To give another applicant preference over me based on standardized test scores is penalizing me for being an economically disadvantaged foreign student.

If America's elite institutions seek a more diverse student body, they must waive their standardized testing requirements as they discriminate against underprivileged prospective students.

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