The Politics of Sharing Your Scores, and Not Losing Friends
One of the most difficult things about the SAT has nothing to do with the test. It’s talking about SAT scores with your friends. By design, the SAT separates people by score ranges for colleges to use, but the unfortunate side effect is that it can separate people socially. Because it’s such a concrete measure of culturally defined “success”, SAT scores hold a disproportionate amount of power in conversation when people instinctively compare themselves to you.
I Scored Higher Than All My Friends, What Do I Do?
Obviously you don’t want to seem like you’re bragging about how smart you are, but it can also be awkward not to tell your friends if you got high scores. The first thing to consider when you talk them is what you did to earn those scores. If you studied hard on your own, you should be proud to say that it was a result of your dedication. If it was because you took an SAT prep course you should still be proud of your accomplishment, but be cognizant of the fact that others might not be able to afford that luxury. If you did well with no studying, and don’t have to take it again—remember that you are lucky to be in such a position. For many people preparing for, and getting scores from the SAT is an anxiety-ridden experience that sincerely affects their college prospects; so be considerate when you talk about the test.
You might also have friends that ask for advice on how to improve their scores. In these situations it’s best just to be as honest as possible about how you studied, and try to stay humble. A general rule of thumb is to only make suggestions to others if they ask for it, or if they really seem like they’re struggling and you know a technique (or website!) that could sincerely help them.
I Scored Lower Than All My Friends, and I Don’t Want Them to Think I’m Dumb…
First and foremost, everyone should understand that while the SAT tries to quantify intelligence, it will never be a true measure of your brilliance. If you scored lower than your friends, you have nothing to be ashamed of.
That being said, its very possible that you will encounter people who treat SAT scores as an indicator of intelligence, and who will judge others on the basis of their score. In my experience those people are few and far between, but if someone does treat you differently after you tell them your score, you might ask yourself if you really want to associate with that person. To the people who truly care about you, your SAT score is just another number that may or may not reflect how much you are capable of, so you shouldn’t be afraid to share that information with them. Your real friends won’t care what you scored.
Try not to let your score take an important role in how you compare yourself to others. Be as honest as possible, but know that you don’t have to tell people your score if it sincerely makes you uncomfortable. You’re all in this crazy, chaotic journey to college together, and everyone’s path is different. Not everyone’s begins with a super high SAT score. So don’t let a single score drive a wedge between you, and the people you care about.