(The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Al-Fanar Media).
At the American University of Beirut (AUB), our admissions team have long looked at SAT scores as a key indicator of students’ academic performance and readiness. For more than 15 years, the college admissions test has played an integral role in our holistic admissions process and proven to be a valid, fair, and reliable tool to predict students’ success.
The introduction of the new digital SAT is a game changer, and I strongly encourage every student to take it. With the availability of test fee waivers and scholarships provided by AUB, as well as online test-prep resources, I believe the shorter, simpler, and more secure exam has the potential to open doors to greater opportunities for students everywhere.
Since the digital SAT launched in March, more than 100,000 students in 179 countries have taken the test, and the consensus is that it’s less stressful, more relevant and a more positive experience. In fact, more than 80 percent of students who had previously taken the written SAT reported having a better experience with the digital SAT.
“I believe the shorter, simpler, and more secure exam has the potential to open doors to greater opportunities for students everywhere.”Antoine Sabbagh, director of admissions and financial aid at the American University of Beirut
At AUB, we use two key metrics to gauge student quality: cumulative high school grade-point average and the composite score on the SAT. This approach allows applicants to put their best foot forward and demonstrate through the SAT skills and strengths beyond what their high school grades may show. Year after year, we’ve seen AUB students with competitive SAT scores excel and succeed in more academically rigorous programs.
The SAT provides a clear, consistent and international standard of quality that allows AUB, and other universities, to put applicants from various backgrounds with different academic and grading systems on a level playing field. It also creates an easier and more equitable way to evaluate students whose grades and transcripts may hold different weights in different places.
SAT scores can give students with inflated or deflated high school GPAs the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of core concepts expected at AUB, including university-level English comprehension. Unlike a single-subject test, the SAT covers a broad range of topics and provides students enrolled in subject-driven baccalaureate programs the chance to showcase additional critical thinking skills and strengths.
Taking the exam can also grant students who may have experienced academic setbacks due to economic, social and/or health factors a second chance to strengthen their application portfolio. And because the SAT is administered seven times a year, students have additional opportunities to study for and improve their scores. Strong scores can also open the door for postsecondary and scholarship opportunities, including English-language based study-abroad programmes, down the line.
“The new digital SAT is more applicable to today’s student and fits in with how they are, and will be, receiving instructions. It is considerably shorter, reflects a broader range of topics, and incorporates new features.”Antoine Sabbagh
The new digital SAT in particular is more applicable to today’s student and fits in with how they are, and will be, receiving instructions. It is considerably shorter, reflects a broader range of topics, and incorporates new features, like a built-in timer and calculator, to help ease student stress and fatigue.
The digital SAT’s adaptive methodology also produces a more accurate result, enabling admissions officials to get a clearer view of a student’s academic potential while maximizing fairness and accuracy. The new exam has improved test time, quality and security. Every student is given a unique test based on their individual performance, making it practically impossible for students to cheat, resulting in fewer test leaks, score delays and canceled scores.
For AUB, the SAT—and now the digital SAT—has and will continue to play a vital role in our university admissions process. I strongly encourage all students to take the exam and maximize the abundance of free test resources available online to prepare for it.
Antoine Sabbagh is director of admissions and financial aid at the American University of Beirut.
- Arab University Admissions System Is Unfair and Needs Updating, Academics Say
- Students’ Backgrounds Affect How They Learn, Omani Researchers Find
- Scholarships Open Doors. Here’s a Primer on How to Find Them.