The Scholastic Aptitude Test has become the ultimate gatekeeper lying between teens and their academic future. Despite numerous studies proving that the test does not, in fact, accurately gauge a student’s aptitude for success in college, it is used by the vast majority of post-secondary institutions to dictate acceptance.

There has, however, been a surge in test-optional admissions processes. The evidence clearly shows that those schools that ditch the tests end up with a vastly more diverse student body. A coincidence? The data prove not.

The SAT, often seen as a playing field-leveling equalizer, is actually economically and racially biased. As it turns out, the richer and whiter you are, the better you score. A poor student of color from an underfunded school district will score lower than a white wealthy prep school-goer. This is clearly demonstrated in Maine. Portland, the most diverse city, has a significantly lower average SAT score. Maine should lead the charge toward racial equity by eliminating the SAT in our state.

As a young adult about to begin my college years, I have visited and researched a multitude of schools. One thing they all promise: diversity. It might be the most used word in college information sessions, but as long as these schools require the SAT, they cannot boast true diversity.

Education is a right, not a privilege. Every single student should be afforded the opportunity to continue their studies as long as they care to. The use of arbitrary tests to determine which students deserve to learn is archaic, inequitable and should be prohibited. Disassociating our higher education system from the racist test it was founded on is the first step to creating a more equitable society.

Elinor Hilton