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Discus: College Admissions: December 2003 Archive: July 2003 Archive: DO SAT SCORES MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE
By Wjk323 (Wjk323) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 09:49 pm: Edit

ok.. i was wondering..i have a 3.5 GPA and a 1290 SAT I score... my guidance counselor has given me some colleges that i might have a shot.. but i hate the schools that are the list. Lets say that I would raise my scores up to a 1400, and get above 690 on four to five SAT II's.. is there a good chance that i might get into top 15 universities..(not mattering if its liberal)

P.S. my teacher recommendations are great and i think i have good extracurricular activities...
P.S.S please my honest.. if you think im dreaming. please post it up.. anything positive or negative..

By Twinkletoes696 (Twinkletoes696) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 01:13 am: Edit

Yes. I am in the same exact boat and I really believe that it is possible. A 1400 is not impossible... from a 1290 (which I also got!). You might want to boost ur GPA a bit (if possible)... and AP classes are a must. But go for it! If you want it enough I think you could do it... thats my philosophy. LOL. It's not necessarily the brightest who wins out in the end, but the one who is willing to go the extra mile and give 110% of himself to their cause.

By Dromedary (Dromedary) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 10:38 am: Edit

With a 3.5 GPA, 1400, and SAT IIs that are not at about the 750 level, top 15 will be a reach. But go for it; they're a reach for everyone.

By Morgantruce (Morgantruce) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 11:41 am: Edit

Think about this.

When you take an SAT and you get, let's say, 1300...

and then you go nuts studying and paying money for special courses, and you take the test again and score 1420...

Have you become any smarter? Have you become a better student? Has your potential for good work in college actually improved any?

Most importantly: Do you really think that the people who work in admissions offices are that dumb--that they think that the answers to any of the above questions is YES?

Put your energy into things that will help you. Read some interesting books over the summer that might make you a more interesting person in an interview. Make some contacts at the admissions offices of the schools you are interested in. Let them know you are alive now---then you won't have so much convincing to do when you apply.

By Wjk323 (Wjk323) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 11:22 pm: Edit

MORGANTRUCE....valid point.. but problem is that im an international student who unfortunately also needs aid...ergo it is pretty hard for me to get an interview...(think about it...$3000 roundtrip...i dont have that kind of money!!!)

"Let them know you are alive now---then you won't have so much convincing to do when you apply. "

you said this is your postup. and im not quite sure what it means...sorry for my boorishness...

By Morgantruce (Morgantruce) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 08:24 am: Edit

I'm glad you asked. I really need to stop using such phrases!

Write letters to the colleges NOW. Admissions officers are always happy to hear from you! Make sure you tell them which class you will be applying for. "I will be applying for the class beginning in the fall of 2006." Ask specific questions. Ask if they can put you in touch with someone from an academic department you are intereted in. Use those leads to write to OTHER people in that college---always cc: the admissions office on those letters (send copies to Admissions) You want the admissions office to be made aware of every contact with that college!

That way, when you finally send in an application, they will already know a LOT about you. (they know that you are "alive") Your application is then just one small part of a file that describes who you are. They have other letters to look at and see what kind of person you are. Be sure to always reveal as much about YOU as possible in your letters. That is what they are looking for.

They might be a little interested in the school you go to---they are MUCH MORE interested in how YOU fit into that school, and what YOU got from that school.

They might be a little interested in where you live--but they are much more interested in how living there has made you the kind of person you are.

Instead of saying, "Member of the ______ Society, 2002, 2003" say, "My membership in the ________ Society allowed me to understand {this and that} and is the reason I want to study _____________ and possibly work in the ____________field. Etc, etc."

Of course, you will use your OWN phrases--not mine. Using other people's phrases is a HUGE mistake! Colleges can spot that. Everything that you write to a college should sound like it's coming from the same person. That's how they get to know... you!

By Serene (Serene) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 09:31 am: Edit

Are you sure? Morgantruce. I'd think the admission office would be too busy to read things you write to /other/ departments.

By Morgantruce (Morgantruce) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 09:41 am: Edit

Fine. Don't write any such letters.

Let other people write letters and make their impressions.

By Deepak (Deepak) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 09:56 am: Edit

I got a 1290 in April and made a 1470 in June...I am retaking in November though

By Serene (Serene) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 10:02 am: Edit

Morgantruce: I wonder how well you've done in the college-admission-department with your "higher SAT scores don't make you a better student and writing a few letters is better than studying" advices?

Higher SAT scores, in fact, do show that you've the talent -- a greater repertoire of vocabulary, better logical skills etc, and the determination to improve, which is definitely an asset in college. So they can only help you.

By Morgantruce (Morgantruce) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 10:23 am: Edit

Higher SAT score do not MAKE you a better student. Better students get better SAT scores. If colleges see that you took the SAT four times, they begin to think that you are more interested in impressing them with scores than you are in learning.

By Docmom (Docmom) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 11:16 am: Edit

You are completely right that higher SAT scores do not make you a better student. You are completely naive if you believe they don't matter to admissions.

Due to the relatively new rankings game, led by USWNR, adcoms MUST care about test scores. And let's face it, test scores are the only objective standard. GPA and class rank only can tell so much, and much of what they tell is about the *high school* rather than the *student*.

By Tennizpro06 (Tennizpro06) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 12:25 pm: Edit

I heard that the really top schools really look at your SAT scores.. like even if you're in the median range, you'd have to be near the top since many of those in the lower to average median scale are nationally renowed athletes or something

By Morgantruce (Morgantruce) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 01:14 pm: Edit

Pick up the catelog of the college that you want to go to and READ about the type of student they are looking for. If you are that type of student, you have a chance.

The SAT is one of many tools which colleges use. It is THEIR tool---not yours. They administer that tool through the College Board--which is an organization of member colleges.

If you READ what the college says they want in a student, and try to do something about that, you might do some good. Don't be lazy... go and READ their statements!

Worrying about the SAT is a bit like worrying about an x-ray the doctor ordered. That is his diagnostic tool. Don't wiggle around on the table and try to make it look better. Let the doctor decide if he can help you. If he can't you can go to somebody else! No matter how bad that x-ray is, someone is going to be able to help you. (Don't claim a huge victory if you poke a hole in my analogy... all my analogies are lame.)

If you're even reading this you're wasting time that could be better spent, but you'd rather waste time trying to play the system, than you would do the things that will actually help you some. You think that if you trick some college into letting you in, your life will improve. The odds are against both.

Let the colleges do their work of selecting. Then, from the ones that decide to admit you, choose a nice one.

By Apguy (Apguy) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 02:01 pm: Edit

>>You are completely right that higher SAT scores do not make you a better student. You are completely naive if you believe they don't matter to admissions.<<

My thoughts exactly.

By Sac (Sac) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 02:39 pm: Edit

There are some excellent colleges that don't require SAT scores, you know.

By Bahaa (Bahaa) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 06:58 pm: Edit

OK listen to my evaluation , to get into the top 15 college in US News rankings :
if we're shooting at IVY LEVEL :
- 1400+ SAT I .. you said you can get that.
- 4 + GPA certainly ..
- 750+ on 3 SAT II s preferred (writing + math + science)
- 4-8 AP Classes between Junior/Senior Year.
- Being a leader in some ec s.
- Special honors and awards.
- National Honor society is almost a must.
- being wealthy is a +
- knowing important persons is a +
- making a big donation to the college will certainly get u in .
- music talents

MIT/Caltech/Stanford/Carnegie Mellon/ :
YOU HAVE TO SHOW HIGH POTENTIALS IN SCIENCES AND MATH ... 2 800s on SAT I MATH AND SAT IIC MATH , will help alot. AP CALC BC is a +, and being a member in any International Olympiad would certainly get you in ...

By Wjk323 (Wjk323) on Friday, July 11, 2003 - 02:54 am: Edit

ok when did this become.. a battle of "IF SAT SCORES MATTER OR NOT.." please.. i thought this post up was about me...(hopefully not sounding to selfish) but i need more opinions on if i can get into a good college...


By Sirmoreau (Sirmoreau) on Friday, July 11, 2003 - 03:04 am: Edit

80 percent chance, in my unprofessional opinion. However as a gambling man, those are good odds.

By Docmom (Docmom) on Friday, July 11, 2003 - 05:14 am: Edit

I'll be honest because you asked. A 3.5 with a 1400 is probably not enough for top 15, on paper anyway. On the other hand, I'd bet there are some exceptions walking around on those campuses right now.

Apply to individual schools you are interested in, not just the "top 15". And make your essay the best thing you ever wrote, write about something unusual, and don't write the mainstream essay on overcoming some relatively minor hardship, or what you learned from volunteering, etc.

Are you just concerned about top 15 or are there some very specific schools within the top 15 you're shooting for?

By Morgantruce (Morgantruce) on Friday, July 11, 2003 - 10:31 am: Edit

You are playing the game of "what if?" There's nothing particularly wrong with playing that game, as long as you don't play it too long or take it too seriously.

If I could run three times as fast as I do, I could probably make the Olympics. You and I could discuss the possiblities and split hairs for long time. But the fact remains, that I would be better served just running more every day.

Right now you have a 1290 SAT. If you think you can jack it up 100, or 200, or 300 points---and think that it would matter---then go do it.

Otherwise... deal with a 1290 SAT score the way many great colleges will: they will accept you.

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