7 months ago
Admissions Advice

How do you know if your ACT or SAT score is too low to submit?

Most colleges provide a 25-75 percentile of average scores by students, and if my score is lower than the minimum, how do I know how many points below the minimum is too much? I don't want to hurt my chances, especially since my schools are test optional.

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Accepted Answer
7 months ago

CollegeVine recommends that you submit your SAT score if it's within 60 points of the lower bound 25%Percentile score or submit your ACT score if it's within 3 points of the lower bound 25% Percentile score. For example if you target school has an SAT of 1250-1420 and an ACT of 27 to 32 then for this year it would be perfectly find to submit anything at or above an 1190 composite SAT or 24 ACT score.

Part of the reasoning behind this is the following:

a.) HS applicants have fewer test scores to submit and up to 50% or more have no score to submit. Also those who have a score did not have the opportunity to take it multiple times to get a higher super-score. So if you have a 1200, last year you might have bumped it up to a 1320 if you could study more and take it 2 more times.

b.) There are fewer domestic applicants and international students applying to colleges across the board. The only exception would be the TOP 20 schools out of 4300 because many high achieving HS students feel they have a better chance this year to get admitted into an elite college without a test score, where in the past their 1200 or 1300 would have psyched them out of even applying. One main driver is the safety concerns and inconvenience of online learning. Up to 20% of admits took a gap year at Stanford, Harvard and Yale this year. I imagine the numbers might be similar this year as well.

c.) Yields are going down at many college (yield expressed in percentage = # of students matriculating/# of students admitted) so these schools last cycle were using the wait-list a lot more than any period of time in the last 20 years. So if you get deferred this year, don't fret, you have a very good chance of getting off the wait list this cycle.

I hope I answered your question.


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