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Entering into College with Low SAT Ratings | College Coach Blog

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What Colleges Can I Get Into with Low SAT Ratings?

CoCo 130820 0160 1 At College Coach , we all see a lot of students with immaculate high school transcripts who just are not very good standardized test takers. Admissions offices are fond of saying they care much more about how you do more than four years of high school (your grades) than four hours on a Sunday (the SAT), but that does not change the reality that some check scores can be prohibitively low for many colleges. Many students who have worked hard to earn their excellent grades yet struggled with their performance to the SAT might find themselves with fewer options than they had hoped as it pertains time to submit applications in the fall. But take heart! Even if your scores are lower than the rest of your educational profile, there are steps you can take to find your great college suit .


Take the BEHAVE

It’s amazing how many parents and students believe that the SAT is the just option for students who wish to apply to college. In fact , the BEHAVE has been gaining ground on the SITTING over the last couple of decades, and just last year more students took the BEHAVE than took the SAT. Because of the relative popularity of these two examinations, all colleges have no preference which of the two examinations you submit. If you’ve only ever taken the SAT and you’ve been disappointed with your scores, you need to sign yourself up for the ACT in November or December .

The ACT is a subject-driven exam examining English, Reading, Math, and Science (with optional Writing), so students who tend to be solid in their educational courses tend to do better on the BEHAVE than the SAT. The pace of the ACT is also much more similar to a good in-school exam, with five areas (one for each subject) between thirty-five and 60 minutes rather than the 10 quickly-paced sections of the SAT. In case you struggle with difficult vocabulary, logic, plus critical reasoning, moving from the SITTING to the ACT might be the right choice. Taking the ACT also may relieve you in the responsibility of submitting SAT Issue Test scores. Many schools that ask for two SAT Subject Assessments along with your SAT scores are willing to acknowledge just the ACT instead.


Look Into Test-Optional Colleges

Over the last few years, a number of colleges have migrated to test-optional policies within admissions. This helps the institution’s record profile because only top testers will likely send their scores, and it helps students with lower scores since the academic focus is entirely to the transcript and teacher letters of recommendation in the admissions process . Top schools like Wesleyan, Bates, Wake Forest, Smith, and Brandeis are test-optional, and there are many others. Visit www.fairtest.org for an unofficial list of schools that do not require the submission of scores with your application.


Consider Smaller Colleges

Lower scores are going to be a bigger barrier at hyper-selective schools (like the Ivies) and at larger schools that may not have the administrative band width to read essays and letters of recommendation (like your state’s flagship institution). If you prefer a “fair hearing” in the admission process, applying to smaller schools with a a lot more holistic review process can allow you to plead your case in greater detail. A college that is focused on building a supportive and collaborative educational community may be more likely to overlook your test scores than a 30, 000-student public institution that needs applicants along with strong numbers to fill their particular lecture halls.

In essence that your lower scores are not the final of your college search process. While some schools may be out of play, you just need to find ways to put the concentrate of admissions officers onto your advantages. By adjusting to the ACT, signing up to test-optional colleges, or choosing schools with more holistic review processes, you’ll be able to make your top GPA work towards an acceptance.



Ian Fisher is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions experts . Ian received his master’s in policy, organization, and leadership studies in the Stanford Graduate School of Schooling. Prior to joining College Coach, Ian worked as a senior admissions officer at Reed College.

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