Can SAT Scores Impact Your Ability to Get a Job After College?

SAT Scores
SAT & ACT scores can directly impact the job opportunities available to you after college.

The SAT is one of the most important factors in the college admission process, accounting for upwards of 40% or more of most admission decisions; now, it turns out, the SAT’s impact may extend far beyond college admissions.

Melissa Korn of The Wall Street Journal recently published an article titled, Job Hunting? Dig Up Those SAT Scores suggesting the SAT and ACT may affect the job opportunities students have access to after college graduation

To quote directly from the article:

“Proving the adage that all of life is like high school, plenty of employers still care about a job candidate’s SAT score. Consulting firms such as Bain & Co. and McKinsey & Co. and banks like Goldman Sachs Group Inc. ask new college recruits for their scores, while other companies request them even for senior sales and management hires, eliciting scores from job candidates in their 40s and 50s.”

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The basic premise at play here is that many companies rely on the SAT to provide them with a standardized set of data, which in turn allows them to compare job applicants from a wide range of backgrounds. Korn puts it quite nicely in her article: “SATs and other academic artifacts remain relevant in part because they are easy—if imperfect—metrics for hiring managers to understand.” Many hiring managers believe that exams like the SAT and ACT are helpful when determining “whether someone has the raw brainpower required for the job,” and that there is a direct link between a good score and an individual’s “critical thinking, problem-solving skills and quantitative abilities.”

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While not all companies continue to rely on old scores, Korn cites Google’s recent shift toward emphasizing past complex problem solving experience rather than pedigree for new hires (pedigree in this case specifically referring to “job candidates’ grade-point averages, test scores and alma mater”).

Korn also points out that while many older employees are being asked for their scores, having an impressive score is most important and useful to recent college graduates, who typically tend to lack professional experience and other distinguishing characteristics or resume line items straight out of college. These candidates’ more limited track records perhaps adds weight and emphasis to individual performances such as test scores, while candidates’ with a longer history may be able to make up for what they lack in standardized test scores by demonstrating strong professional experience.

Regardless, Korn’s article gives test-takers an extra reason to prepare well for the test; it’s more than a one-time occurrence that affects you during a limited (albeit important) application process that can have a significant if impermanent part on your life. Your test scores can indeed follow you. Seem onerous? All the more reason to get studying.

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