Private schools look at SAT scores as an objective assessment tool that eliminates students who do not test well. Some students get great grades in school, but this is not enough to get into the top private schools. As the following article states, SAT test prep with a private tutor is the best way to prepare your child for success.
If you’re planning to take a standardized test, you’ve probably devoted some thought to how you’ll prepare. Standardized tests exist because test scores are considered the only numerical component of an application that is common to every applicant. Test scores are basically a common yardstick by which all applicants can be measured consistently. The only other number that can be found in all applications is the GPA, but the GPA isn’t really very reliable, since different students have access to different teachers for different subjects in different years. So the role of the test is to provide some kind of meaningful numerical indicator that can help the admissions committee begin to make reliable comparisons among applicants. It lets us begin to understand why standardized test scores are so important: For one thing, they’re literally the only objective indicator that’s common to all applicants.
It also shows us that test scores are more important to the admissions process than schools would like to admit. If you’re thinking that a competitive school will look past your scores in the 50th percentile because your intangibles are strong, you might want to reconsider. While it does happen that people sometimes get into to tough schools with only average scores, it’s very rare. On top of that, every sub-standard score that gets in means more high scores are necessary to bring up the average.