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클립 Perfect ACT, SAT scores don’t mean admission to top universities
작성자 | 프린스턴리뷰 첨부 |
작성일 | 2018-04-09 조회수 | 3355

Perfect ACT, SAT scores don’t mean admission to top universities

CUPERTINO — Vishruth Iyer’s parents gathered close as their 15-year-old son opened an
email with the thrilling news: The Monta Vista High sophomore earned the rare distinction
of scoring a perfect 36 on his ACT college entrance exam.

“I almost fell out of my chair,” his father, Anand, said. “It was a big congratulations.
I didn’t even know what to say to him.”

But as much as he and his wife, Sucharita, hope that Vishruth’s success could catapult him
into the college of his choice by the time he’s a senior, they can’t help but be skeptical.
As they are learning — along with many high school seniors now receiving their final
acceptance and rejection letters from some of the top-ranked schools in the country — perfection
doesn’t guarantee a spot at Stanford, Princeton or even Berkeley.

“Not now, no,” said Margaret Routhe, an independent college counselor in famously-competitive
Palo Alto. “If you have a 36 on your ACT and think you’re going to walk into Harvard, it’s not the case.”

As recently as five years ago, Stanford was rejecting about 69 percent of applicants with perfect
SAT scores. And those scores don’t come easily. Only a fraction of 1 percent of students who take
the SAT scored a perfect 1600 or, on the ACT, a composite 36 on the four subject areas.
The College Board that runs the SAT didn’t provide specific numbers on perfect scores but reported
that only 5 percent of test takers score above 1400.

Just ask David Hogg, who survived the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas
High to become one of the most recognizable leaders of the student-led gun control

Despite a 4.2 GPA, the Florida student was rejected by UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, UC
San Diego and UC Irvine. Perhaps TMZ put it best with this headline: “Parkland leader
David Hogg — I’m Changing the World … BUT UC SCHOOLS STILL REJECTED ME.”

Vishruth Iyer, left, 15, and his twin brother Pratyush, do homework in their study room
of their home in Cupertino, Calif., on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area
News Group)
Vishruth Iyer, left, and his brother, Pratyush, both notched impressive scores on the ACT
as sophomores, but they know it’s no guarantee for admission to the school of their dreams.
(Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
College Confidential, the website dedicated to students making college plans, has become a
forum for the forlorn in the past week. Ben Shumaker, an 18-year-old senior from Holland,
Mich., who was denied from every Ivy League school he applied to as well as USC and Case
Western, started a discussion group this week titled, “I’m Baffled At Rejection From Some
Great Schools.”

He earned a 4.43 weighted GPA, he said, a 1550 out of 1600 on his SAT and 34 on his ACT.
He took 22 semesters of Advanced Placement coursework and was ranked No. 1 in his class
of 536 students. He even had what he thought was an unusual, extraordinary achievement:
being the youngest player, by far, on a pro tour of the strategic trading card game “Magic the
Gathering.” He was admitted to the University of Michigan, but it’s not his top choice. As he’s
coming to terms with his rejections, he’s come up with his own explanation, one shared by
many college admissions experts for the top schools.

“I sort of felt like in academics, the courses you take and the grades you earn, there is a level
where it stops mattering,” Shumaker said. “If you get perfect grades and near-perfect scores,
it just puts you in the pool.”

Divining the “secret sauce” of top-tier schools is what sends many parents to hire outside
college counselors, who repeatedly stress to deaf ears that there are hundreds of great
universities to choose from, not just the Top 10 — a list created in the 1980s by U.S.
News and World Report that is considered by many as largely responsible for the crush
of applications to Ivy Leagues and the towering hopes of students and parents.

As an antidote to those expectations, required reading at some high schools has become
Frank Bruni’s “Where You Go is not Who You‘ll Be,” filled with success stories of people
who didn’t go to name-brand universities.

Vishruth Iyer, second from left, 15, and his twin brother Pratyush, far left, talk to the
Mercury News with their parents Anand, second from right, and Sucharita, far right, in
Vishruth and Pratyush's room in their home in Cupertino, Calif., on Wednesday, March 28,
2018. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
The Iyers moved to Cupertino for the top-ranked schools so their twin boys, Pratyush, left,
and Vishruth could get the best education. Their parents Anand, second from right, and
Sucharita, far right, are trying to keep things in perspective but gently push the boys to intensify
their extra-curricular activities so they stand out on college applications. (Nhat V. Meyer/
Bay Area News Group)
For Vishruth Iyer’s immigrant parents, who are now U.S. citizens and earned advanced
degrees at California universities, it’s difficult to lower their expectations for Vishruth and
his twin brother, Pratyush, who is a straight-A student and competitive swimmer.
They moved from San Jose to Cupertino for the quality schools. They sent the boys to
prep classes at $90 a session, and they’re both focusing next on the SAT.

But the first thing the counselor told them was that their sons have three strikes against them,
especially at private universities: They are Indian, they are male and they want to pursue
computer science or engineering.

“It’s a common profile,” Anand Iyer said. “How do you differentiate yourself when my kids are
naturally inclined to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)? I am totally frustrated
with the whole system, basically.”

A trial is expected this summer in a federal civil rights case against Harvard, alleging it
discriminated against Asian Americans by unfairly capping the number it admits, despite their
qualifications. The nonprofit filing the lawsuit cites a 2009 Princeton study showing that Asian
Americans need to score 140 points higher than whites on the SAT to have the same chances to
land a spot at elite colleges.

The Iyer boys will likely have better luck at a UC school — which banned affirmative action in
admissions in the 1990s — than a private Ivy League school, said Barbara Austin, who counsels
Bay Area high school students. She also encourages students to widen their choices.

“There aren’t just 25 schools, there are 400 schools that are marvelous,” said Austin, who is
based in Oakland.

Even with two years to go before applications are due, Vishruth’s parents are anxious — and
exploring options for the sophomore to build his college portfolio by possibly doing research
with a university professor this summer. At the same time, Vishruth is taking a mellower
approach — something teachers and counselors have tried to impose.

“I don’t think it will change my future that much whether I go to a top-tier school or just
under that,” he said. “I’m confident I’ll be fine for the future. But my parents are always saying,
‘Don’t play video games, study for the subject SAT test for math.’ I kind of tell my parents to
relax and mind their own business. I’ve got it covered, you know?”