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The Contender
Con (against)
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Malala Yousafzai Should Have to take the SAT/ACT Before Applying to Stanford

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/13/2015 Category: News
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 854 times Debate No: 79687
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (15)
Votes (1)




Saw this in the news:

R1: Acceptance
R2: Opening Arguments (no rebuttals)
R3: Rebuttals
R4: Defense & Conclusion (no new arguments)

Also for the debate, Con cannot argue that Stanford should completely change their admission requirements, but that they should make an exception for Yousafzai.


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


Sorry this is so short, I became unexpectedly busy tonight.

Role Model to Other International Students:

Without a doubt Malala Yousafzai’s a role model to many people around the world. Especially when it comes to fighting for the right to an education and Stanford (and the US as whole) is one of the best places in the world to get an education. (1) So naturally, if internationals around the world see Yousafzai taking the SAT or ACT to receive such a great higher education, more of them may be encouraged to take the American entrance exams, so they can receive education at a US school. With top quality education, more internationals would be gaining opportunities they never once even may have thought of. However, if these internationals see such a great role model like Yousafzai getting into Stanford without having to take the SAT/ACT, it may hurt their confidence thinking, “if Yousafzai got in without taking the SAT, what chance do I have taking it?”


Every applicant to Stanford is required to take either the SAT or the ACT. (2) This include[d/s] future professional athletes, presidents, famous actors, self-made billionaires, hard working high school students, some of whom are international. (3) Why should this case be any different? It shouldn’t, there are kids throughout the world applying to Stanford who spent months and sometimes years preparing for the SAT/ACT just because they wanted to go to Stanford. There are also kids who aced every official test administrated in their country who were still required to take the SAT or ACT. Unless Yousafzai gets an absolutely terrible score, assuming she takes the SAT/ACT, she’ll be admitted. This is not an issue for her, but her bypassing it is problematic for the thousands of students applying to Stanford who have put a lot of time and effort into taking these tests.

Not Preferred:

It’s not in Stanford’s interest to break their requirements for someone. Why? For one, it shows their requirements aren’t absolute and are open to be broken. It also shows they don’t value the SAT or ACT as being an absolutely required benchmark to attend Stanford. This hurts the credibility of the school, since they are showing they’re willing to make exceptions to something they clearly value (shown by having and keeping it as a requirement). It will also lead to many others requesting exceptions and they’ll have fuel to

This could also hurt Yousafzai’s credibility. Many (especially Stanford students or past and present hopefuls), may think she did not deserve admission because she didn’t follow the minimum requirements. They may think she was simply given a free ride because she has the Peace Prize and/or because she was shot. This is really bad, because it undermines everything Yousafzai fights for (notably equality in education), which I’m sure Con agrees are very important messages. It may even have some see her struggle as not as great as it really was. This wouldn’t be a unique incident.







Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist known mainly for her human rights advocacy, particularly for education and for women in her native Swat Valley in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had banned girls from attending school. Malala's advocacy has since grown into an international movement, where she stands at the forefront of movements to provide access to education and for women's human rights. Without a doubt, Malala is one of the most important people alive right now. Her story is inspirational to anyone looking to make the world a better place.

Her advocacy started when she was 11. At the time, Malala started writing a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban occupation. Malala quickly rose in prominence, giving interviews in print and television. At the age of 12, she was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize by South African activist Desmond Tutu. Throughout her teenage years, she advocated for women's education, completely changing the landscape of women's education in Taliban-controlled areas in Pakistan.

The Taliban voiced a specific intent to kill her because of her advocacy. And in 2012, a gunman boarded her school bus, asked for Malala by name, pointed a pistol at her, and fired three shots. Malala survived, and the assassination attempt thrust Malala further into the international spotlight, helping spread her influence and advocacy for education. Indeed, in January 2013, Deutsche Welle Malala was "the most famous teenager in the world." United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown launched a UN petition in Malala's name, demanding that all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2015; it helped lead to the ratification of Pakistan's first Right to Education Bill. In 2013, Time magazine featured Malala as one of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World." She won Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize, as well as the 2013 Sakharov Prize.

Since 2013, Malala has spoken numerous times at the headquarters of the United Nations to call for worldwide access to education. Canada has conferred Honorary Canadian citizenship upon Malala. In February 2014, she was nominated for the World Children's Prize in Sweden. In May 2014, Malala was granted an honorary doctorate by the University of King's College in Halifax. Later in 2014, Malala was announced as the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education. Aged 17 at the time, Malala became the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate.


Malala has been the voice of millions who have been silenced. She fights for women's education, has opened up her own school, has stood up to the Taliban, and has survived an assassination attempt on her. Why should someone like Malala need to take the SAT/ACT? What will taking the SAT/ACT prove? In her 18 years of life, she's accomplished more than most graduates of Stanford ever will. In fact, she's accomplished more than many of the professors at Stanford. The idea that Malala should take the SAT to go to Stanford is absurd.

Let's first take a look at what Malala will contribute to Stanford. She'll add more to in-class discussions than any other student at Stanford. Imagine taking a class on philosophy 101 with someone like Malala sitting next to you, offering her perspective on the world's greatest thinkers; not only would the students learn more but so will professors. Malala will also add her voice to Stanford's campus. If her history is any indication, she'll be involved in student organizations, help other brilliant minds get involved in human rights advocacy, help create a community where other students are able to get involved in politics and changing the world. In fact, having Malala as a student will attract brilliant students to Stanford. The game-changers will want to go to Stanford because they'll have the opportunity to take classes with Malala, to meet Malala, to know her as a colleague. So, that's what Malala adds to Stanford. She improves Stanford's learning environment significantly.

What would happen if Malala wanted to teach college classes on human rights advocacy? Every single university in the country would hire her as an adjunct professor, including Stanford. In fact, most universities would kill to have Malala teach a class on human rights advocacy - because Malala is the kind of person universities pay lots of money to so that they come to the university and give a talk - she's the kind of person who could fill an auditorium with Stanford students inspired by her voice. I don't know how else I can make the absurdity of making Malala take the SAT clearer: what sense is there in hiring Malala as a professor without the SAT but requiring the SAT if she wants to take classes at Stanford?

Malala should be welcomed into any university with open arms. She is one of the most impressive individuals who has lived in the 21st century. To say that one of the most important women in the entire world needs to take the SAT to gain entrance to Stanford is simply absurd.


Let's go back to the purpose of the SAT. It's a standardized test. It's purpose is measuring students coming from different high schools across the country against each other. One student might have a 3.5 GPA at a high school where everyone is brilliant and classes are curved; that student scores a perfect score on the SAT, so it helps evaluate the student against other students who have a similar or higher GPA. That's why you can have a 4.0 but not get admitted to top schools - you also need to show other strengths.

The purpose is comparison. Malala is beyond comparison. She's won more important awards, including a nobel peace prize, than most of Stanford's professors, and certainly more than any of the other students applying to Stanford. Using the SAT to compare Malala with other prospective students is absurd; Malala would be admitted regardless of what she scores on the SAT.

This brings me to my next point: no school has SAT or GPA cutoffs. In other words, they look at the complete package. They weigh the SAT against other factors, including your accomplishments outside of an academic context. This is what would happen to Malala. Her SAT is irrelevant to her admission. She could get every question wrong on the SAT and still get admitted to Stanford because she's simply one of the most impressive individuals currently alive.

To sum up: Stanford would benefit immensely from admitting Malala, Stanford would admit Malala regardless of what she scores on the SAT, and forcing Malala to take the SAT runs against the very purpose of the SAT, which is to compare prospective students against other prospective students. Malala is beyond comparison with these other prospective students. It's like saying Obama would need to take the SAT if he wanted to go back to school and study at Stanford. The entire proposition is absurd.
Debate Round No. 2


My rebuttals to Con’s claims are basically my opening arguments, but I’ll still address the premise of Con’s argument.

Con argument especially boils down to the fact that Yousafzai is so far ahead to every other applicant that she should be able to bypass the SAT since it exits for comparison.

One thing Con refers to is that Yousafzai would be invaluable in class discussions (in philosophy for example). However, that automatically assumes just because of her experience she will have wiser or more detailed things to say than others. As one of the world’s best universities Stanford has some of the brightest minds in the world coming into its school, who may be just as if not more capable of providing enlighten discussions, just with perhaps less experience to draw back on. Pro assumes she’s one of the world’s greatest thinkers because of her experiences, but that greatly underestimates the other great thinkers Stanford has coming in, who also had to take the SAT or the ACT.

Con also mentions how she would help grow student clubs. Once again, many Stanford students who take the SAT/ACT do that and they may have a huge history of doing so in their high schools. It doesn’t allow them to bypass simple admission requirements.

It would perhaps be more appropriate for Stanford to honour her an honorary degree or invite her in as a guest speaker. That way she could help Stanford’s campus while not having to be a student and follow the basic criteria for becoming one.

However, Con’s main point is that since the SAT is used as an equalizer she shouldn’t have to take it since she’s so far ahead already. However, she’s not ahead of the basic need to be compared to others in an academic sense. Without a doubt, she’ll probably have the strongest personal profile statement and probably have a lot of leeway, but if she scores horrible on the SAT she may not be currently suited for the classes at such a prestigious school at Stanford. Her academic accomplishments have yet to been weighed by Stanford’s and all of the US’s standard, the SAT/ACT. It would be in Stanford and even Yousafzai’s interests to have her take the SAT and see where she stands academically relative to the rest of the top Stanford applicants. She may ace it and continue to do great things at Stanford, but she would need to prove she is at least on some level close to what Stanford accepts.



FourTrouble forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Seeing as Con missed his chance for rebuttals all my arguments stand and there is no need to defend my arguments.


Pro admits the following points:

(1) The purpose of the SAT is comparison. It helps universities compare students from different high schools with different grading criteria.

(2) Malala deserves an honorary degree from Stanford.

(3) Stanford should invite Malala as a guest speaker.

Pro also drops the following points:

(1) Malala won the Nobel Peace Prize.

(2) Malala has completely changed the landscape of women's education in Taliban-controlled areas in Pakistan.

(3) Malala has spoken numerous times at the UN and other international organizations.

(4) Malala writes an influential blog published by the BBC.

(5) Malala has an honorary doctorate from multiple universities.

(6) Malala has been the voice of millions who have been silenced.

(7) Malala opened her own school in Pakistan.

(8) Every university in the United States, including Stanford, would hire Malala as a professor to teach classes on human rights advocacy.

(9) Malala is one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

(10) Malala

The only argument Pro makes in R3 is that Malala is "not ahead of the basic need to be compared to others in an academic sense." That's Pro's only argument.

The argument is nonsense. Malala has accomplished more than most people will in their entire lives. She already won the Nobel Peace Prize. She writes a blog for the BBC. She regularly speaks at the UN and at prestigious universities like Harvard, Stanford, and Yale. She has published multiple books.

The idea that Malala needs to be compared with applicants to Stanford is absurd. Malala's accomplishments have already been compared against the entire world, including every applicant to Stanford, and the world has spoken: she won the Nobel Peace Prize. According to Wikipedia, she's won the following awards:

"2011: International Children's Peace Prize (nominee)[40]
2011: National Youth Peace Prize[26]
Anne Frank Award for Moral Courage, January 2012[134][135]
Sitara-e-Shujaat, Pakistan's third-highest civilian bravery award, October 2012[136]
Foreign Policy magazine top 100 global thinker, November 2012[137]
2012: Time magazine Person of the Year shortlist[138]
Mother Teresa Awards for Social Justice, November 2012[139][a][141]
Rome Prize for Peace and Humanitarian Action, December 2012[142]
2012: Top Name in Annual Survey of Global English, January 2013[143]
Simone de Beauvoir Prize, January 2013[144]
Memminger Freiheitspreis 1525, March 2013[145] (conferred on 7 December 2013 in Oxford[146])
Doughty Street Advocacy award of Index on Censorship, March 2013[147]
Fred and Anne Jarvis Award of the UK National Union of Teachers, March 2013[148]
Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards, Global Trailblazer, April 2013[149]
One of TimeR05;R02;'R03;s "100 Most Influential People In The World", April 2013[150]
Premi Internacional Catalunya Award of Catalonia, May 2013[151]
Annual Award for Development of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), June 2013[152]
International Campaigner of the Year, 2013 Observer Ethical Awards, June 2013[153]
2012: Tipperary International Peace Award, Ireland Tipperary Peace Convention, August 2013[154]
International Children's Peace Prize, KidsRights, 2013[155]
Portrait of Yousafzai by Jonathan Yeo displayed at National Portrait Gallery, London (2013)[156]
Ambassador of Conscience Award from Amnesty International[157]
2013: Clinton Global Citizen Awards from Clinton Foundation[158]
Harvard Foundation's Peter Gomes Humanitarian Award from Harvard University[159]
2013: Anna Politkovskaya Award " Reach All Women In War
2013: Reflections of Hope Award " Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum[160]
2013: Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought " awarded by the European Parliament
2013: Honorary Master of Arts degree awarded by the University of Edinburgh[161]
2013: Pride of Britain (October)[162]
2013: Glamour magazine Woman of the Year[163]
2013: GG2 Hammer Award at GG2 Leadership Awards (November)[164]
2013: International Prize for Equality and Non-Discrimination[165]
2014: Nominee for World Children's Prize also known as Children's Nobel Prize[166]
2014: Awarded Honorary Life Membership by the PSEU (Ireland) [167]
2014: Skoll Global Treasure Award[168]
2014: Honorary Doctor of Civil Law, University of King's College, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada[12]
2014: Nobel Peace Prize, shared with Kailash Satyarthi[15]
2014: Philadelphia Liberty Medal[169]
2014: One of Time Magazine "The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014"[170]
2014: Honorary Canadian citizenship
2015: Grammy Award for Best Children's Album[171]
2015: Asteroid 316201 Malala named in her honour. "

Malala's been compared with others on an international scale. She's demonstrated her ability as a human rights activist. Her writing speaks to millions and millions of people. Her advocacy has changed the opinion of millions. Her thinking has changed the world. And she did all this before she was 18.

I want readers to marvel at the absurdity of Pro's argument:

(1) According to Pro, Malala has proven herself enough to teach at Stanford but not enough to study at Stanford.

(2) According to Pro, Malala deserves an honorary degree from Stanford but she isn't yet qualified to study at Stanford.

(3) According to Pro, Malala isn't qualified to study at Stanford unless she scores well on the SAT (e.g. Pro says "if she scores horrible on the SAT she may not be currently suited for the classes at such a prestigious school as Stanford.") This is particularly absurd because Pro's telling you that she's not suited to study at Stanford but she's suited to teach at Stanford.

This debate turns on the following question: will Stanford accept Malala regardless of what she scores on the SAT? Pro says Stanford won't accept Malala if she scores horribly. I argue that Stanford will accept Malala regardless of her SAT score.

I offer as evidence Malala's accomplishments, which surpass that of any current applicants to Stanford. Malala is the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. She's only 18 but she's accomplished more in the arena of human rights than most human rights activists ever do. She writes for millions who have been silenced. She speaks for these people. And she makes herself heard. This is an extraordinary woman.

I bet that professors at Stanford (and other prestigious universities) are currently teaching Malala to their students. I bet that professors across American routinely assign Malala's blog posts as reading assignments. I bet professors assign Malala's book as a reading assignment. You can't teach a human rights class without talking about Malala.

The absurdity of Pro's argument is even further on display when Pro suggests that Malala won't contribute to her classes at Stanford. This is nonsense. Malala brings a perspective to class discussions that nobody else brings; she's won a Nobel Peace Prize! She's spoken at the UN. She's gotten UN petitions passed. She's opened a school. She's spoken with President Obama at the White House. She was the victim of a Taliban assassination attempt. She gives talks at prestigious universities about her experiences. She gives talks about human rights advocacy. She gives talks about women's rights, the right to education, the situation in Pakistan, and so on.

If Malala sat next to me in a class, and if I had the chance to hear her thoughts on philosophy, I don't care what she scored on the SAT, I'm gonna listen. And if I disagree with her, that's fine. The value comes from hearing her unique perspective. Malala brings a perspective to discussions that nobody else brings. That's why she's so famous. That's why people at the UN want her around when they discuss international policy-making. That's why President Obama invites her to the White House. That's why Harvard invites her to give talks. The idea that Malala won't contribute profoundly to Stanford's learning environment is absurd.

Pro says I'm assuming she's one of the world's greatest thinkers. I'm not assuming anything. I'm pointing at the plethora of evidence saying she's one of the world's greatest thinkers. I'm pointing at the Nobel Peace Prize she won before the age of 18. I'm pointing at the fact that she's convinced numerous politicians to pursue her policies. There's a UN petition named after Malala. President Obama seeks her advice on humans rights issues in Pakistan. I'm not assuming anything. I'm letting the evidence speak for itself.

And this is the most important point: even if Malala scores terribly on the SAT, that won't take anything away from her accomplishments. Nobody is suddenly going to say Malala didn't deserve the Nobel Peace Prize because she scored badly on the SAT. Nobody cares what you score on the SAT after you get into college. The only purpose of the SAT is comparing you against other applicants. And as I've shown conclusively in this debate, Malala is beyond comparison. Even if she scored badly on the SAT, Stanford (and every other prestitgious university) will still accept her.

For all these reasons, and because Pro admits that Stanford will hire Malala to teach classes, vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by FourTrouble 4 months ago
lol thanks Tej, you give me too much credit sometimes but thanks.
Posted by tejretics 4 months ago
FT's arguments here are just extraordinarily persuasive.
Posted by famousdebater 11 months ago
You would have got conduct but your R1 arguments weren't as good in comparison to Con. I understand that you were tight on time though.
Posted by The_Commander 1 year ago
@famousdebater I agree. I didn't put enough effort into this one to realistically have won it or had a chance of winning it. I just got lucky no one voted.
Posted by famousdebater 1 year ago
Con won this from my viewpoint.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Yeah RFD is required
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
I'll check
Posted by FourTrouble 1 year ago
Is RFD required for this debate? If it's not, you can totally vote on that basis.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
I wanted to see him freak out
Posted by FourTrouble 1 year ago
lmao @ Wylted
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Wylted 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:00 
Reasons for voting decision: Just kidding