2 years ago
Admissions Advice

Should I Retake the SAT?

I received a 1480 on the SAT and most of the schools I'm applying to (Duke, Vanderbilt, Emory, Yale, UPenn, JHU, Brown, WashU) all have SAT ranges above 1500. I'm also middle to upper-middle class and that 1480 may be too low. However, I am Black and Muslim, and my academic index may be reduced for my race, but not for my family income. I do have all As but couldn't take a lot of rigorous courses in junior year because of schedule conflicts and religious study. Most of my extracurriculars are tier 3 and only 2 can be mildly tier 2 activities. And even though I'm applying to be a public health major ( a major that focuses more on reading/analysis than math), my math SAT is 720, below 740. So, in all this madness, should I truly retake the SAT where I should focus on my college application, essays, and my own school and social life, or is it really worth it to retake it to get at least a 1500 or 1510? And if I shouldn't retake it, should I submit the score with a not so amazing GPA (even though my senior year is filled with APs and took a lot of online courses on Courseran to supplement my inability to take rigorous courses in my junior year)?.

@Aleecarboni2 years ago

Don't forget about super-scoring the SAT. With limited time left - if you are going to take the SAT again - concentrate on your math, where you have more room/opportunity and then you won't get stretched thin on studying for all three subjects. As others said, I'd also make sure to have a few safeties and targets on your list. You can great a great education at so many institutions - I know it's hard not feel the pressure to go for a brand name, but they are usually $ too!

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago[edited]

Hi @Farfee24

Thanks for your question. It's a good one because I think a lot of seniors are in similar positions where they are on the cusp of a solid application narrative but not quite in a comfortable zone. Rather a slightly uncomfortable one.

I wouldn't worry about a ding in your academic index because that's just a threshold criteria factor. I don't believe your application will not be fully read because of your SAT score.

I do think that on a holistic level your application will read weaker than other underrepresented minorities applying to Ivys and Elites.

What is not tracking for you right now is that you don't have a lot of AP grades on your transcript, not a lot of AP test scores, and no AP honors resulting from that. Also, as you said, your ECs are on the average versus the strong or excellent side. While taking Coursera courses shows some intellectual vitality, those courses will never make up for your lack of APs, college courses, or DE courses. It's a mild bump.

Since you can't compete head-to-head with others who have 8-12 APs, high AP test scores, and Tier 1 and 2 ECs nor can you fixe those weaker parts of your application before applying to college, I would fix what I could with the limited time on the clock.

Getting a higher score won't make up for your lack of course rigor, ECs, and honors. Nevertheless, a 1530+ plus can only help you (I wouldn't retake if you thought that 1500 is the max you can get, there's virtually no difference between a 1480 and 1500). If you survey a lot of admits to the schools you have listed, regardless of the majors they declared most of them have a solid math background, lots of APs, and excellent ECs.

Otherwise, I would suggest that you focus on adjusting your colleges to include more targets that you'd be happy to attend.

All the best.

2 years ago

If you think you're up for it, and you're willing and able, there's no harm in taking the SAT again. If your GPA is lower than you want it to be, a better SAT score can help supplement that (and getting at least a 1500 on the SAT might make the lower GPA seem not so significant.)

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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