SAT Scores of Celebrities: Our Kids Can't Compare


taking testDo you remember the day the College Board released SAT scores, and your high school erupted in a contest of who did better? Even if you tried to remain tight-lipped about your score, it didn't matter. It got out, and you were either slapped on the back or picked on. And if you did extremely well, people were nice to your face and then talked about you behind your back.

And that was all before the Internet! Today's kids have not just their peers to compare themselves to, but an entire world's worth of celebrities whose SAT scores can be brought up with a few keystrokes on Google. Bill Gates got a 1590 (on the old "1600" system)! Ben Stein got a 1573! And so today, as the College Board once again releases the big numbers, parents need to keep their kids off the 'net. It's no good for their psyches.

I've never been crazy about the SATs for this reason. They become a comparison tool, a means for kids to one-up another, when they mean so little in the long run.

I was that kid who tried to remain tight-lipped about her score. I had a decent showing (decent enough that whenever I did something stupid, my dad used to give me a look and say, "X number on your SATs, huh?" like he couldn't believe I was being such a dolt. It sounds worse than it was -- he was just goofing around). But I was an over-achiever raised in a family where there was emphasis put on test scores and grades.

Raised in the old "1600" system, it sat in the back of my mind in my high school days that my cousin had achieved a near perfect score in her days. I wasn't striving to get into college when I sat down in a classroom at a neighboring high school with my No. 2 pencil. I was striving to kick A.'s ass. I didn't, by the way. About the only thing I did beat her on was giving birth first (her daughter came 11 days later!).

There was no celebrity SAT score list on Google to pull up, but A. was my celebrity, the one I emulated and vowed to beat. And it's only with hindsight that I can recognize I was the only horse in the race. A. had long since graduated from high school and moved on to college. Her life wasn't defined by her SAT score. Even if it played a small role in getting her into college, there was a lot more to her than that 15-whatever. 

I remember my SAT score because it was a family joke, but today it says absolutely nothing about my life. It didn't buy my house, land me my job, make my husband fall in love with me, or help me get through labor. A. and I are now, for all intents and purposes, equal. We're just two moms doing the best we can for our kids, two moms who have created the next generation of geniuses for our family tree.

The celebrity SAT scores being pulled up on Google today don't represent the people who scored them. So Courteney Cox got an 1150 -- it didn't get her a role on Friends. So George W. Bush got a 1206 -- it didn't get him votes. Congratulate your kids on their accomplishments today, but please remind them it's not a competition.

Do your kids look at the SATs as a competition?


Image via Casey Serin/Flickr

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My son is too young for this, but I hope that he just does his best, because in the end that is what matters to me. 

nonmember avatar Anon

My kids are 4, but this may be interesting in about 12 years. My daughters have widely different interests and abilities. When I was about 16 and my brother 18, we both took the ACT on the same day and our overall score was a half-point different. The scores in each subject were much more diverse, but "luckily" the averages worked out. They did announce the top 3 scores in the school when they came out - we were 1 and 3 - but I was absent that day. I never took the SAT.

ArmyW... ArmyWifeAshlie

I took the SAT the year before the new score system

And got 1470/1600.

Ashly... Ashlynnsmommy07

I remember it got pretty competitive in school!

sodapple sodapple

i never knew the scores where online, wow! i do not like the sat's with the new score was not very high but i would take it again just for the heck of it.

hotic... hoticedcoffee

Uh, OK - go ahead and tell your kids it's not a competition.  You'll make it a lot easier for the kids with the honest parents, like mine, to get into the schools of their choice.  I'm totally on board with your plan.  Eyeroll.

qrex912 qrex912

@hoticed. I agree. It sort of is a competition. I don't plan on hiding the fact that competition exists to my children. That would be a lie, and put them at a disadvantage against kids whose parents were honest with them.

tazdvl tazdvl

I knew that high scores could get you in the school of your choice but I never thought of the SAT as a competition.

nonmember avatar Anon

In my day, I felt prepping for the ACT, SAT, etc. was unethical and I did not do it at all. I still got a pretty high score. I didn't feel like I was competing as much as just proving my competence. Then again, I was not trying to get into a competitive school - didn't have any money, and student loans would only cover the state university anyway. I was too young to qualify for a scholarship.

nonmember avatar Anon

BTW, GWBush comes out ahead of Gore, Kerry and Clinton, LOL. But I'm sure that won't stop people from calling him stupid.

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