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Articles / Applying to College / Is Math 1 Subject Test Acceptable at Certain Competitive Colleges?

Is Math 1 Subject Test Acceptable at Certain Competitive Colleges?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Dec. 16, 2011

Question: Will colleges like BC, Northwestern, Columbia, USC accept the Math 1C for a Subject Test or do they want to see the Math 2C?

Cal Tech and Harvey Mudd are the only colleges I know of off the top of my head that require Math 2. Columbia definitely does not … including for engineering. Even MIT says that either Math 1 or 2 is fine. However, I can't possibly stay current on every college's requirements nor on the requirements of special programs within a university. So applicants really need to read Web sites carefully themselves because policies can change. I don't want to get a student in hot water by giving the wrong advice!

If, however, you are really asking, "Will doing the Level 1 math instead of Level 2 hurt an applicant at a highly selective college?," then the answer is, "No, not at all." But ... if the student is applying for an engineering major or for any program in the sciences, it could hurt if the student has submitted only a Math 1 score and no scores in the sciences, too … especially chem and physics for engineering.

Of course, for many students who are wary of their math skills, it is not necessary to submit any math Subject Test where Subject Tests are required. Unless the student is intending to major a field that clearly will require math skills, then most colleges don’t care at all if math is on the list of tests submitted. In general, I try to encourage students to submit scores from diverse tests … e.g., Biology and World History rather than U.S. History and World History … but even this advice can change from student to student, depending on individual circumstances and goals.

I’ll post this on the CC Web site. Maybe some of our members will weigh in if they know of colleges or specific programs that require Math 2. There are probably some others out there, but I don’t think this list includes any of the places you named.

(posted 12/16/2011)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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