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Articles / Applying to College / Should 34-Year-Old College Applicant Retake SAT's?

Should 34-Year-Old College Applicant Retake SAT's?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Sept. 15, 2010

Question: I'm 34 with an AS in Music/Fine Arts. I am looking to apply to top schools for a psychology degree. My AS grades are good, but my ACT and SAT scores are not. Should I retake those tests anyway?

I'm not clear from your message if the ACT and SAT scores you're talking about are your old ones from your high school days or more recent ones. So I'll start by assuming that you're referring to tests from high school. Because of your "advanced years," many colleges will pay only minimal attention to these scores, if you do submit them, putting far more emphasis on your college record. In fact, some colleges with a testing requirement for transfers will waive it for non-traditional students like you. BUT ... if you want to take the tests again to raise your scores, and if you feel fairly confident that you'll do better this time around, then you should give them a shot. Personally, by the time I was 15 years out of high school, I think I would have bombed the math portion of the exam (even though I did pretty well on it at 16) had someone forced me to take it again. So, if you really don't wish to retest, you can ask the transfer admission officer at your target colleges whether you need to submit new test scores and also how much weight will be put on your old ones if you don't. (And if the transfer counselor says you don't need new scores, you can always take the tests anyway and then submit your results only if you're pleased.)

If, however, your SAT's or ACT's are fairly new, and you're unhappy with the results, then you should strongly consider trying them once more.

Good luck to you as you navigate this maze. I tend to feel that college, like youth, can be wasted on the young. Students in their 30's (or above) are often more focused and mature and truly ready to benefit from their education.

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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