What exactly are GPA and SAT used for?

<p>GPA and SAT are talked about all the time, but no one has ever posed the question -- what exactly are GPA and SAT used for in college admissions? What are they supposed to measure?</p>

<p>I've heard many opinions about this. Many have said that GPA is just used to see if a student is capable of handling college work and that once a student's GPA and course rigor passes a certain benchmark, adcoms look at all the other parts of the application. Others have said that colleges compare students based on GPA, and will pick the student with the higher GPA regardless of how good/bad the other parts of the application is. For example, colleges would pick a kid with a 4.0 UW/5.0 W and no ECs over a kid with a 3.5 UW/4.0 W who has good ECs. </p>

<p>For the SAT, I've heard a lot that it's used to validate one's GPA and to make sure the student deserved it and didn't just go to an easy school or take easy classes. I've also heard that it's used to measure success in college and determine intellect overall. </p>

<p>So, what do you guys think?</p>

<p>Both tests are mainly designed to see how all students do in the same, controlled, stressful situation. The questions aren't all that hard, it is really just a "societal expectation" that makes it seem like some sort of ordeal that everyone has to take. That, and the fact that it wades out people that can't do simple math problems for example.</p>

<p>High school grades, if used (some schools use class rank exclusively), is used to determine how well a student handles school work, as it is the strongest available predictor of performance in college work.</p>

<p>Standardized tests are used because they are a common measure for students across different high schools which may have wildly different levels of course rigor and grade inflation.</p>

<p>Different colleges have different levels of importance placed on each aspect of the application. Moderately and less selective state universities probably just use grades and test scores, perhaps in a formula. Highly selective schools which attract a lot of "near maximum" grade and test score applicants may have increased importance on other factors to distinguish between these "near maximum" applicants.</p>