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teachers' guide: secrets of the sat


Activity 1: Setting the Standards
This activity will help students and parents develop a deeper understanding of the conflicts facing admissions offices at competitive universities and help them anticipate and develop strategies to overcome potential barriers in their own admissions applications.

Distribute the "Fact Sheet on the SAT, Race, and
College Admissions" before beginning this activity.

Download handouts in MS Word format - 153K

Break up into groups. Ask participants to review the "Fact Sheet," particularly the information on "SAT Test Score Gaps" and "Race and College Admissions." Based on this information and the information from the film, ask each group to set admissions criteria for a hypothetical university using the questions below. This university regularly receives five times as many applications as they have space to fill-a very competitive ratio experienced by only twelve universities in the country.

What criteria would you include for admitting applicants? Would you rate minority applicants any differently? If so, how and why? If not, why not? Is racial diversity important to the education of all students? What would you propose for insuring diversity in the admissions processes? Would you be in favor of a program that automatically admits a fixed percentage of the top students from all high schools in the state to the public university system, such as those in Texas (top 10%) and California (top 4%)?

Bring the group back together. Have each group share what criteria they developed and why. Ask them how they believe their criteria might differ from those of some colleges and universities. Ask them how this discussion on admissions and diversity relates to the student personally.
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