Increase in SAT Requirements Causes Stress for Students

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Ashley Grant, Staff Writer

When the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship was established 25 years ago, the SAT score required to earn the 75 percent scholarship was 960. Half of students admitted to the University of Florida had a SAT score of 1140.  Today, the required score for 75 percent Bright Futures  is 1210 and half of students admitted to UF score 1470.

Florida schools and scholarships continue to increase their SAT requirement, putting pressure on students to score higher.  Yet Florida curriculum provides almost no help or guidance on how to achieve these scores, leaving students to bear the stress alone. Recommendations for how to study for the SAT range from signing up for Khan Academy to hiring a private tutor, which costs hundreds of dollars, but all the methods have one thing in common: students must do them on their own time.

With only 24 hours in a day, it can be stressful for students to fit everything they need to do, with school until 3:30 p.m. and after-school activities taking up another two hours.  Students do not arrive home until 5:30 p.m., still having to eat dinner and spend one to four hours on homework before going to bed according to Principal Rick Fleming. 

At some point, something has to give. With no short-term deadline on SAT prep, that responsibility gets pushed aside to another day. This can cause students to quickly fall behind in SAT prep without even noticing until they receive their score and realize all their hard work in classes, clubs, and sports might not be enough to get them into their preferred colleges.

Florida has never offered SAT prep within schools, which might have been OK in the past, but as required scores continue to increase, students need more avenues to prepare to take the test. One solution would be to create a course for juniors that is dedicated to SAT prep. 

First semester could focus on math  and second could review language arts skills.

This could also be done by providing students with a virtual lab period to complete a prep course. Although schools provide Virtual Lab periods, they only allow students to take courses provided by FLVS and BPS, neither of which include an SAT prep course.

Either a course in school or a virtual lab period would provide students with time in school for SAT prep instead of ending up in classes that may not benefit their future specifically. For example, due to limited elective options at West Shore, students end up in electives they do not have passion for; a student may be placed in theater for multiple years, even though they do not plan to pursue theater in college. This time could be better spent in preparing for the SAT.

Florida schools provide help studying for midterms and finals. Why do they not provide assistance in studying for the ultimate final? SAT scores hold a lot of weight and can greatly affect students’ futures.