Admissions officer discusses importance of SAT scores

      By Gregory Woods

      CHARLESTON, S. C. (WCIV) -- For many students changes to the SAT exam will create a whole new test-taking experience.{}

      The new test uses more modern day vocabulary, makes the written portion optional and eliminates penalties for wrong answers.

      But does it benefit a student when it comes to getting into college?{}

      At the College of Charleston, administrators said the changes will help when considering prospective students but said it's only one piece of the equation - about 20%.

      "So if we can somehow get the best assessment possible by use of test grades, GPA and leadership. If we can assess motivation and drive and their interest in the school by visiting with us - those are the factors that go into this decision making," said Donald Burkard, associate vice president for enrollment planning at the College of Charleston.

      Burkard said the changes to the exam are a result of the number of students taking the ACT.

      He said last year was the first year the number of students taking the ACT was more than the number taking the SAT.

      "[It's] more concentration on achievement and outcomes rather than aptitude," said Burkard.

      Burkard said 80% of freshman at the College of Charleston continue on to their sophomore year.{}

      He said by looking beyond a test score, the college can recruit students who are motivated to finish school with a degree.

      "We have more assurance that the decision we are making [is] the right one for the college and the students themselves," said Burkard

      The new SAT exam isn't expected to go into effect until 2016.{}