Mailbag: SAT is only part of the admissions' criteria

Re: "Apodaca: New SAT? How about 'Game of Thrones' style" (May 19):

As an application evaluator for UC Irvine, I share many of Patrice Apodaca's concerns over the SAT.

She didn't even mention the proliferation of SAT-prep courses that give students, who can afford them, an unfair advantage over those who can't. Those of us in the admissions business understand the weakness of the SAT (and the ACT) and use these scores as only one of the criteria for admissions. More useful to admissions officers are grades in demanding classes and scores on Advanced Placement (AP) exams.

My suggestions to high school students and their parents are as follows:

1.) Work with your high school counselor to take a demanding, yet not overwhelming, academic schedule. No one is impressed if you get straight "As" but never challenged yourself. Only your therapist is impressed if you take five AP classes in your junior or senior year and end up in a hospital.

2.) Take the SAT/ACT in fall of your senior year and forget about it. It is what it is.

3.) Focus on two outside activities, such as sports, leadership, Boy/Girl Scouts, or community service. Sustained activity (multiple year involvement) is an indication students will work cooperatively with others when they get to college.

4.) Put time and thought into your admission essay. As an employee of a state-supported university, I owe a responsibility to the taxpayers of California to search for students who are problem solvers and have ideas for making California a better place. Show us, by examples, that you are this person.

Mike Buettell

Reader/Application Evaluator, UCI Admissions Department

Newport Beach


Abortion ban

Re. "Suspicious of Hoag abortion ban," (Mailbag, May 9):

I think Rob Macfarlane is right that Hoag's refusal to continue elective abortions at the hospital is a political and religious decision. However, it could also be a financial decision.

Hoag pointed to its earlier decision to stop children's admissions as well. Young women, children and their families often are underinsured or uninsured. So, removing medical services from this vulnerable group could be financially advantageous, if bankrupt morally.

Katharine Young

Newport Beach


Charter debate

The Costa Mesa City Council has decided to offer voters the opportunity to consider a "new and improved" city charter proposal. Supposedly learning a humbling lesson after the failure of Measure V last November, our city leaders are trying to exude the impression they are rightfully leaving the charter proposal preparation to the community it theoretically may be designed to govern.

At this juncture, what is sorely in question is sincerity as perceived; considering the organizational composition and method council is considering to pursue (by following council's solicited staff recommendations). Of questionable credibility, these recommendations are blatantly geared toward retaining council (and staff) step-by-step and ultimate control over the entire process, and end-result.

James Bridges

Costa Mesa

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