a year ago
Admissions Advice

SAT + AP Tests

how detrimental will it be if I don't have a test score to submit to an Ivy League colleges for an EA Application? Also, do colleges ever base admissions off of AP scores? Thank you!

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@DebaterMAXa year ago

AP exams have near 0 impact the only thing is a tiebreaker between super competitive applicants essentially EVERYTHING being equal sat gpa extracurriculars essays rigor etc then they look to see if your 4 5s beat thier 4 4s. Hope this helps.

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2 answers

a year ago[edited]

I'm assuming you are talking only about 2 schools, Harvard and Yale because Princeton removed SCREA from their admissions cycle and the other 5 IVYs only have ED.

My answer has two parts, SAT and APS

SAT - Not having an SAT or ACT test score in light of COVID-19 will not by itself negatively impact how your application is read provided that you have excellent grades like 3.90+ UWGPA and you have taken the hardest classes available at your high school like 50%-75% of (10-20 AP classes offered), have taken pre-AP classes/honors classes like Pre-Calc, Honors English, Honor Chemistry, etc or precursors to APs, or are in a rigorous IB program and hope to submit a score of 38+ on your IB exams. Plus these two schools would like to see that you are someone intellectually curious who is self-motivated to study outside of the classroom, whether that is taking dual enrollment classes at your CC, taking actual online college courses, or doing your own research projects or other academic pursuits that support you have an innate love for learning. Both these schools use a similar scorecard where each candidate is evaluated and given a 1 to 5 or 1 to 6 rating where 1 is the best. How a non-submittal of a test score affects your academic rating is whether or not the criterion outside of the SAT or ACT support that you are a 1 or 2 scoring applicant. Since less than 1% of applicants are 1s, you have to really just worry if you are a solid 2 or not. A solid 2 at Harvard is someone that in past years had near-perfect grades, evidenced intellectual curiosity, solid course rigor meaning someone that took the most challenging courses, and an ACT of 33+ or 1500+ on the SAT. If you met all these threshold benchmarks, then you're either a 2 or 2- or 2+. However, if you are weaker in any of these areas, you'd get bumped down to a 3. And very few 3s get into Yale or Harvard unless they are a recruited athlete, development candidate ($$$ donor), legacy, or special consideration from the dean's list like a David Hogg because they did something remarkable that had an impact on the public.

APS- As you can surmise, APs or lack thereof of excelling in your APs affects your Academic Rating at both schools. Again, it's not how many APs you took that matters but rather did you take the most challenging classes at your HS, and did these support your academic narrative. So for instance, if 10 APs were offered, and you took AP Lang, AP Lit, AP Chem, AP Calc BC but couldn't take AP Physics because it wasn't offered, that's okay. But just taking them and getting an A in them is not the same thing to colleges as taking the actual AP Tests and getting 4s and 5s in them and submitting your AP report as part of your academic record. The later supports that you took your AP classes seriously beyond the grade. And if you wanted to show that you wanted to support your interest in STEM even though AP classes were not available, perhaps you would self enroll in a college course say PHYSIC 201/202 at your community college that covered the same material as AP Physics, parts A, B, and C, and you took the AP test as well and got a 5, that would further demonstrate that you are intellectually curious. So if you did all these things but didn't have an SAT or ACT score, you still would most likely be seen as a 2- minus for showing evidence of some test scores and outside learning.

Now if you did not submit an SAT/ACT score and didn't submit any APs either, well you are out of luck at these schools, unless you are a recruited athlete, development, legacy, or dean's list candidate.

I hope you value the time and effort I put into this answer and the background research that was done on both these schools because it is the most accurate way to answer your question without sugar-coating it. Perhaps you will weigh what I wrote against your opportunity to still sign up for a test score and submit one for regular decision. There is no rush to apply early if you are not the strongest candidates in the application pool.

Good luck with your college application journey.

a year ago

Good AP Scores will pretty much never tip your admissions. They can help, but AP Tests are more a way of getting college credit, rather than displaying academic prowess to colleges. Not having a SAT/ACT score for Ivy Leagues is going to affect your application. Most applicants have one, putting you at a disadvantage.


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