Students are more than their SAT scores


By Elizabeth Lowe


In early September, I set foot in Calvert Hall College High School for the first time in nearly nine years.

I was at the school to interview Denny Grace, a Calvert Hall senior and student athlete who runs cross country and track, and plays basketball.

It was my first trip to the Towson school since early on the morning of All Saints Day in 2003, when I made the short drive from home to take my SATs. I was a senior at Dulaney High School.

The memory of that cloudy and cool fall morning is seared into my brain.

I remember feeling anxious about taking the test (who isn’t?), a rite of passage which can have quite a bit of bearing on your future. Arriving early, I walked into the building with sharpened pencils and my TI-83 graphing calculator in hand.

I was as ready as I would ever be. I had taken practice tests, had a good night’s sleep, ate a balanced breakfast and wore comfortable clothes. I was ready to focus for the few grueling hours it took to complete the test.

I remember sitting at a desk in the middle of the classroom, shading in the answers on the Scantron form and making sure not to spend too much time on any one question, as instructed.

I probably scored better on the test because of the practice tests I had taken. I was familiar with how the questions were worded and the format.

As a former high school student and now as an adult, I do not think the SAT is the best way to measure a person’s level of intellect or how successful he or she will be in a college classroom. It is important to look at the whole person. There is more to a person than his or her SAT score.

It’s important to look at high school transcripts and extracurricular activities – athletics, after-school clubs, church involvement or holding a part-time job.

The SAT is a snapshot of someone, but it doesn’t – and shouldn’t – tell the whole story.

My score – among other things, including my extracurricular activities – earned me admittance to the college that was my first choice: a small, liberal arts institution in Virginia where I spent four years learning and growing academically, emotionally and spiritually.

Perhaps one of the reasons I was drawn to this particular college was because it values and looks at the whole person.

The experience and education I received in college was the springboard for where I am today. I spent the majority of my college years involved with the school newspaper, which is where my passion for journalism blossomed.

A native Baltimorean, I have driven past Calvert Hall many times over the years. When I visited in September, Calvert Hall’s main entrance and hallways looked the way I had remembered them from nearly a decade before.

This time, as I walked into the school, I was armed with pens and a reporter’s notepad, ready to take notes frantically during my interview.


Elizabeth Lowe is a staff writer for the Catholic Review.

Copyright Oct. 20, 2012 

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.