9 months ago
Admissions Advice

Sat/ACT tests

Is it worth spending time doing another round of SAT/ACT test if already have 1520 and 34. Had signed up for it earlier only.


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1 answer

9 months ago

It depends on what schools you are planning to submit those scores to and what you think the average admit score is for someone with similar demographics. One quick test you can do is change your chancing profile to 1550 and 35 and see if makes any difference to the list of schools.

Everyone has a different opinion so I'm not here to tell you mine is better. This cycle CV told everyone that since all colleges adopted a test-blind or test-optional policy that have had an SAT within 60 pts or an ACT within 3 pts of the lower bound 50% percentile score was acceptable and should be the waterline mark for deciding to submit or not. But even though many at CV are experts, they are not sitting in the college admissions offices of the top colleges, so I think it was an educated guess.

None of them would have guessed that MIT would get 62% more applications, Harvard 57% more, Columbia 49% more, Yale 38% more, and even Colgate 102% more applications. None of them would have predicted how the high percentage of Class of 24' gap year deferred admits would factor in record low ED and EA admission rates either. With mounting pressure from more applicants and fewer spots to fill, the competition is significantly more complicated and fierce than any previous cycle.

If I listened to my CV advisors, I should have applied to Columbia with 1440/31 and MIT with 1460/32 but I submitted my 35 to Columbia and crossed my fingers because I knew that it was going to be brutal. I personally feel lucky to have gotten in and there is no way I would have had any confidence to apply with 1440/31 on the other hand. Plus I'm part Asian so I knew that my demographic means higher standardized test scores. Now if I were Hispanic or Black first-gen, maybe I would have felt differently.

So take what I say with a grain of salt. My advice is that if you are planning to apply to Ivys or Elites (Duke, Rice, UChicago, JHU, Vandy, Stanford) or Elite LACs like Williams, Pomona, Amherst Swathmore, err on the side of caution and take one or the other over again and aim for 1550 or a 35. I can't tell from your handle if you are East Asian but if you are, consider it. I wouldn't do both tests over, just the 1 you feel you have the best chances of improving your score.

Last bit of advice, don't minimize how important grades, course rigor, Essays, ECs, leadership and community service, and recommendations are. If you were very productive with your time during this pandemic you will be rewarded for taking the initiative rather than coasting by.


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