Many of my friends are pretty rabid Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans and I finally decided to see what all the fuss is about. So thanks to the rather eclectic collection of DVD's available in the Olin Library all 7 seasons of "Buffy" were at my fingertips... and I watched them all over the course of about 2 months this spring. Although Firefly is my favorite Joss Whedon creation thus far, Buffy was such a great metaphor for what we all think at one time or another: high school is hell. And it seems like that statement is especially true when it comes to applying for college. But my how things have changed over the last 10 years!
Case #1 - "Buffy" Season 3
Buffy is a less-than-stellar student + has an epic Slayer battle the night before her SAT = she is convinced she's bombed the test and holds no hope of going to college. Fast forward, and we see Buffy getting her SAT scores... holy Toledo, she's earned some outrageously high score - yes, folks, a 1430 was considered quite good* a decade ago! Suddenly (cue the singing angels) she CAN go to college, leave her Slayer days in the past and have a "first rate educational experience" (meaning she could attend a well-known and prestigious school).
Sidenote: Some folks look down on Buffy's decision to stay local and attend college in little ol' Sunnydale but, alas, we'll save that rant...er, topic, for for another day.
*My eyes never saw a 1430 in high school, and yet I still managed to become a productive human being.
Case #2 - Coffee and college criticism
Not too long ago I was on the T (Red line, headed inbound toward Park) and I overheard two teenagers lamenting the college admission process and especially standardized testing. I just about choked on my coffee when I heard the young woman say, "I did [insert descriptive expletive here] on my SAT... I only got a 2250." No, no - my ears have heard far worse in the 'foul language' department. It's the fact that she considered such a high score to be a handicap on her college application that continues to astound me. Yes, I realize we live in a competitive culture and that things have become far more test-driven. But still... that's just crazy talk!
Common theme in my two examples? Test scores are everything. Funny, the college admission landscape has changed quite a bit since I entered the profession, but that myth has remained. Look, I'm not going to lie - standardized tests do matter... just not as much as you think they do, particularly at highly colleges and universities! Olin is one of those schools and I can assure you that testing is not everything. It is, in fact, just one piece of the puzzle in which...
your entire academic record in high school
your passion for learning and experiencing new things
your love of juggling or ballet or baking or making the world a better place
that certain je ne sais quoi that makes you, well, you
...mean far more to us than a couple of Saturdays spent sweating over the SAT or ACT. In Sunnydale circa 1999, "good" SAT scores were apparently the sole means to college admission. In Boston circa 2008, "good" SAT scores are no longer good enough and are apparently the death knell for one's chances of admission.
Both of the above statements are absurd in their own way - remember that as you navigate the uncertain, yet by no means unchartered, waters of the college application process.
OK - I'll climb down off my soapbox for today! Best of luck to all of you, dear readers.
Take care and stay sane!