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School of Dreams: Essay I
buzzed, B&W
Every so often - which is to say, every month - the local SAT prep academies send in full or half-page ads and inserts to my school newspaper, hawking their services with one time-honored advertising strategy: the score testimonial. Airbrushed portraits of smiling students proudly crown astronomically high SAT scores, sometimes complete with sweet, generic quotes about the wonders Academy X can work on your math and verbal skills.

I don't know if the proudly emblazoned "1400 Guarantee" and "1500 Guarantee" slogans are completely watertight, but every time I stuff the neon SAT ads between the inky folds of each newspaper, I find myself buying - if only for a second - into the new American Dream: the high SAT score. Even as SAT I lessens in importance, even as 1600s occur so frequently they don't surprise anyone anymore, the cachet of those fatal digits still remains untarnished. In lieu of villas on the French Riviera or stables of shiny Mercedes-Benzes and Rolls-Royces, students these days show off their brand-new SAT scores with all the awestruck pride of freshly minted millionaires.

And why not? In a world where the hard, cold numbers still count for something, the "right" score means at least a chance at the jackpot.

Interesting perspective from a girl about the SAT, and just what they mean. Gives some nice insight into how much college admissions are valued at Whitney, a school where Harvard, Yale, and Princeton (HYP) are seen as the holy trinity.


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