Question: I didn’t learn English until I was 9, and my family doesn’t speak it at home. My Verbal SAT I score is in the 600s–lower than I’d hoped. Will admission committees be sympathetic because English isn’t my first language?
Admission officials will be understanding when it comes to recognizing that English is not your first language, though it’s up to you to make sure that this is clear on your application. However, it’s important for you to realize that you will still be “competing” with many other applicants whose first language is not English and who score extremely well on the VSAT nonetheless. This is particularly true at the most selective colleges where admission officials repeatedly see candidates who only learned English within the past couple years but are still topping 700 with their verbal scores.
While I, personally, am very impressed by any student who manages to score in the 600s while not a native speaker of English, the fact is that, at elite colleges, most admission officials are not as easily wowed as I am.