Admit it, everyone wants to know their score. During the admission cycle students and families become obsessed with standardized testing scores, in particular the SAT score. “What score do I need to get into Duke?” “My daughter needs a better math score for Chapel Hill.” “I’m freaking out about my SAT score?” These are common questions and comments often heard during the application process.
In most admission offices of selective colleges and universities, the SAT ranks only second to the high school transcript. At selective schools across the united states, the average SAT math and verbal scores are well above 650 respectively. Dartmouth College and Columbia University boast an average verbal SAT score of approximately 730 and an average math score of approximately 735. Test scores are critical for college admission. Yet, colleges are looking beyond the SAT to gather their data for admission. Crisp Consulting + Coaching would like to offer the following test strategies for college admission.
Test Policy. Research the test policy and requirements of your best-fitting schools. Many schools such as MIT and Princeton University will require at least two SAT Subject Tests in addition to the SAT or the ACT. These subject-specific tests which are much broader in scope than the AP exams are indicators of academic progress and potential. A strong score on the SAT Subject Tests of 700 or greater will be a favorable indicator in selective school admission.
Test Alternative. Schools such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Pennsylvania will accept the American College Test (ACT) with Writing in lieu of the SAT and the SAT Subject Tests. Many times our students do well on the ACT with Writing because the test is less aptitude-oriented and shorter than the SAT. Equally, there is no guessing penalty on the ACT. This allows you to complete every answer as opposed to determining which questions should be left blank.
Test Optional. Wake Forest University became the first national research university to adopt a test-optional policy. With over 400 schools participating, students may select wether or not to send the SAT or ACT scores as part of the admission profile. Schools still want strong scores submitted and often additional admission material is required in lieu of the test score. Bennington College will want a writing sample that demonstrates academic prowess and critical writing skills.
In today’s landscape of college admission, the simple fact of desired a SAT score is not valid. Students will need to know the test policies and how to navigate testing policies and calendars to maximize their chances of admission.
Brian D. Crisp is an independent educational consultant with Crisp Consulting + Coaching who works with families in Asheville, Charleston, and Savannah to optimize and realize their unique educational fit and admission success. As a former professor, administrator, and teacher, Brian has the knowledge and skills to counsel families in all aspects of educational planning.