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How badly will a lack of SAT/ACT score affect my chances at a UC?
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I’m a rising senior that’s starting college apps this summer. Due to the pandemic, our summer test dates keep getting canceled (which I get is the case for countless other students too). I’ve taken the SAT multiple times prior to my junior year and scored in the 1200s, but was never able to take it on the free test day that our school gave to us because of quarantine (this was going to be my final score).

I’ve taken a bunch of ACT practice tests and I realized that ACT would actually be easier for me, and I’d score much higher on it because of the simpler math portion and the heavy amount of reading, which is my strength. But I haven’t been able to take it at all, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to take it. I don’t want to report my old SAT scores, because I don’t think they accurately reflect my skill/performance now, since the most recent score was sophomore year. But there’s also a possibility that I won’t be able to report an ACT score at all, and I’m planning on applying to UC Berkeley and UCLA. I’m aware that all UCs are test optional now and that the application assessment is holistic, but would I be at a significant disadvantage in comparison to other students if I didn’t report scores at all?

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answered on[edited]
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Accepted answer

Sure, not submitting a score will put you at a tiny disadvantage but honestly since the UCs are all test optional, they’re already seeing a lot of kids who are not submitting scores so this isn’t “unusual” per se. I did some quick googling and found that for UCB the mid 50% SAT range is 1350-1540 and for UCLA (this is a bit old, 2019, but) it’s 1300-1500 for out-of-state residents. i HIGHLY recommend you don’t submit anything that is below those 1300/1350 “minimums” so if you only have a 1200 something SAT score don’t submit it. It will be significantly below average and damage you. You don’t really have a choice at this point, unless if you can retake either exam at some point.

BTW for UCB their mid 50% ACT range is 28-33 and for UCLA it’s 27-34.

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Students without test scores are generally accepted at a lower rate than those who submit scores. This is because if it comes down to 2 students with similar profiles, but 1 has a test score, the one with a score is more likely to be picked. In this unusual year, however, there will be many more students without scores, so the impact of not submitting a score should be smaller. If you can take the SAT/ACT and get a score within the middle 50%, that will certainly help you. But if you can't, just work as hard as you can on your essays and other aspects you can control.

Hope this helps, and best of luck!

answered on
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So depending on the UCs you are interested in a 1200 something sat may be in mid 50% and if so you should submit it. But test optional is standardized tests will be evaluated only if they are submitted. So if I submit a 1600 sat it will be looked at but if I have a 1600 sat it will not be looked at. So in theory and likely practice being test optional will boost you as SATs aren’t required so more weight is given to other stats/facts.

I know at a school I’m interested in they sub the SAT/ACt for an interview. It’s a small school though so likely more weight will be given to rigor and GPA. (I’m not an expert but experts I follow typically are in agreement on this)

Hope this helps and please comment if you need clarification. I’d be happy to help clarify!