Five Students Listening To Lecture

The Continuing Correlation Between SATs and Internships

SATs and ACTs don’t go away. They are a factor in hiring from high school senior summer internships through one’s forties. It just depends on the company to which you’re applying for internships or jobs. Many will “generously” have spaces right on their applications for your Math and Verbal scores. So, if there were ever a reason to study and prepare as intensively as possible for these exams, please take this as a hint. Do it. Don’t get all philosophical about the ridiculousness of one’s future hanging on a standardized test score (you’d be right, but there’s nothing we can do about that yet). Don’t automatically give up and decide that you just can’t do well on standardized tests. Don’t resort to the well-worn high school statement: “You can’t really study for standardized tests.” Don’t buck the system and leave the score request line blank when you’re looking for an internship or job. None of these things will work in your favor for post high school job placement.

This odd extended usage of the SAT is not to say that the score is more important than your college GPA. It is not! But it does tell the recruiters and employers a story about your natural intelligence and ability to learn analytically. So, history majors may not have the transcript full of math classes that finance majors have, but if you have a great GPA in your own major and have great math SATs, what it shows is that you have the capacity to learn whatever it is the company wants to train you to do.

Citing your scores on the resume can also help when you are changing internships from one industry to another—perhaps you nab a summer pre-college position in PR, but want to move to a tech start-up in the summer after your freshman year. Your SAT scores will show the analytical ability you possess that perhaps doesn’t jump off the page for a PR intern.

SATs are assumed to show something about a person’s basic IQ—in other words, of course you can study for the test and become its master, but without the raw analytical skill, it is a rare occurrence for targeted studying to get you to the top of the scoring chart. Therefore, many companies still feel comfortable using the test as an intelligence indicator. After all, just as admission officers invest in your talents and skills, so do your employers.

Bottom Line: If you’re in your teens and early twenties, keep your SATs on the resume. And, when it’s your turn to take those standardized exams…study!

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