Monday, September 21, 2009

Is Your SAT or ACT Score Good Enough?

When it comes to standardized test scores, “good” and “bad” are relative terms, depending on where you’re applying. Remember, the SAT is broken down into three parts; each with a maximum score of 800, amounting to a total possible score of 2400. The ACT is broken down into four core sections, plus a writing section. Colleges are most concerned about the ACT composite score. ACT score range is 1-36. When you are considering whether or not to take the SAT or ACT an additional time, you need to consider a variety of factors. You can see the SAT norms for all the schools on your current roster at the College View website, under the “Admissions” tab. There, you will find test score ranges (the mid 50 percent) and you can see if your 630 math score (example) falls within that range. For instance, if you look up “TCU,” you’ll find their middle range for math is 520-640. Therefore, your 630 would be considered a “very good” score there. On the other hand, if you look up Duke University, their median range is 680 – 790 for math. Therefore, your 630 in math is not considered a “good” score by Duke’s standards. It is ultimately up to you whether or not you take the SAT or ACT another time.

FREE TIP from Lone Star Ed Consulting ( Most colleges put more weight on test scores than their admission officials are willing to admit. However, don’t assess your admission chances strictly by the numbers. If your test results are below a college median, ask yourself if you have other traits that will be attractive to that school (e.g., Are you a recruited athlete? An underrepresented minority? Are you a 1st generation college applicant or have a very unusual background? Do you have any unique talents?) If you answered “No” to these questions with test results at the low end of the range as well, then your admission odds may not be that great. (Therefore, it is even more essential to have excellent essays and have them reviewed by an expert.) However, if you responded affirmatively, you may still be in the running, even when your SAT scores aren’t especially “good.”

If you're a senior, it is not too late to get crucial college admission guidance. If you are a junior, it is time to move forward with the college planning process. Contact Lone Star Ed Consulting at 512-294-6608 to speak with our lead educational consultant, Lauren Kahn. Ms. Kahn received her B.A. from Emory University (‘98) and her M.A. in Education and Human Development from George Washington University (’04). She is a member of both NACAC and IECA. She has guided dozens of students through the college application process and has students enrolled at Rice University, U of Texas (Austin), Middlebury College, Georgia Tech, and many other top 50 ranked public and private universities. 

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Thank you for your comment. Your input is greatly appreciated. - College News from Texas - Lauren Kahn, M.A.

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