Attending a lecture on a somewhat unrelated topic (US Presidency), I chanced upon a discussion on the subject of US University Application with a couple of high school juniors equivalent (British international school) just the other day. Although it didn’t come as a surprise to me, it was disturbing just the same as they incessantly dismissed throughout the engagement that the application process to US universities was overly complicated, enough for them to rule out that pathway, wholesale.
To be sure, there is an arduous list of requisites to assemble: academic result, SAT score, application essay, recommendation letters, ECA and CV. But it’s the same everywhere. Besides, there’s the Common App to facilitate things. It allows one to fill out the bulk of the paperwork online one-time and submit a single form to multiple Common App member schools (more than 500) at one go. While some of these schools may require supplements, it’s still a breeze overall and there is no limit to the number of schools applied.
Now, it’s reasonable to speculate that the foremost cause of this xenophobia for the whole process of US University Application is the SAT, notwithstanding that the ACT is an alternative widely accepted standardized college entrance examination in the US. ACT or SAT Penang folks tend to have a misplaced apprehension for this type of assessment and the reason is obvious – they are not at ease with the SAT, or ACT for that matter simply because they don’t know exactly what kind of animals they are.
In effect, our youngsters are deprived of the US college/university option through lack of information. The truth is the SAT is not a monster. In fact, unlike the kind of tests that we are more accustomed to around here, the SAT inherently accommodates multiple sittings – think Score Choice. Furthermore, unconventional as it may be, it’s really friendly once you get the hang of it. From 40,000-feet up, the SAT may seem like a wicked screwball but up close, it really is a low hanging fruit – it is so ace-able.