Letter to the College Board

Phoebe Smolin:

It’s over. My long-running battle with you and the numbers you seek to define me by is finished. As my final act of surrender, I seek to prove, once and for all, that your tests say nothing about me or any creative student who submits to them.
First of all, to assuage my terrible relationship with math, every day for one month last year I went to my math teacher at six o’clock in the morning to mend it. I go to one of the top and most intense magnet schools in Los Angeles, take challenging classes, and am in the top 10% of my class. I read because I love to read, not because I’m forced to. I respect my teachers and I am absolutely addicted to learning. I am in multiple clubs and hold several leadership positions. I voluntarily wake up early and stay out late on Saturdays to protest for equal rights. I do community service around my city and around the world. I’m highly curious about everything. I play three instruments and write my own music. I have amazing friends from multitudes of cultural backgrounds and I am simply and enthusiastically passionate about living — qualities that don’t amount to a College Board number.
High school trains us to find our own voices, to figure out in our own innovative ways how to make a difference. Colleges advertise themselves as wanting to accept individuals willing to challenge themselves and be involved in their communities. How, then, does it make sense to judge us each by the same exact test?