05 October 2012

SAT: The Ticket to a Great College


When it comes to college admissions, the SAT (or the ACT) is the one factor that can trump everything else. If you have lousy grades, low involvement and a lackluster application essay – but you have a 2300 on your SAT, colleges will still take interest in you.

All colleges claim they “look at students holistically.” Sure, they will look past your SAT, and in some cases they will favor students with lower SAT scores and high involvement/grades over those with higher SATs and lower grades. But, still a 2300 gets you in the door almost anywhere.

That’s just another way of saying that your SAT can make or break your college application. 

Why? Because it makes admissions counselors’ jobs a whole lot easier. You can compare all students across the board on SAT scores, but a 3.8 at one school is not the same as a 3.8 at another, especially as some high schools are notorious for grade inflation. We’re looking at you, schools who give students 5.0 GPAs instead of 4.0. 

What’s a good SAT score: Most colleges set minimum SAT requirements, and if you want to be accepted into the top schools, you’ll need to score in the top 90th percentile.  Your ranges will have to be 620-760 (reading), 630-780 (math) and 620-760 (writing) or a combined 1870-2300, according to about.com.

The average SAT score is around a 500 for each section or a 1500 total – specifically 497 (reading), 514 (math) and 489 (writing). The Writing Section, being the newest section, is still considered by most schools; however, the Math and Critical Reading Sections are weighted a lot more heavily. Writing was added in 2005, and some colleges that focus on engineering or other math-related fields won’t even factor it in.

How many times should I take the SAT: As many times as you can tolerate. It can get expensive, but the benefits of taking the test multiple times can far outweigh the $49 administration fee. First of all, you might not be as anxious the second time you take the test, and you might be a little familiar with the types of questions and structures. You’ll have an idea of what worked and what didn’t. 

Also, a lot of colleges will combine your SAT section scores. So, if you take it one time and score a 650 (math), 750 (reading) and 730 (writing); then you take it again and score 760 (math), 620 (reading) and 700 (writing), some colleges will only consider the 760, 750 and 730. So, why wouldn’t you take the test as many times as you can?

SAT Tips: How to improve SAT score: Practice is the best way to improve your SAT score, but you have to practice the right way. Randomly taking practice tests won’t help much. Instead, you need to sit down and create a legitimate strategy or action plan for your SAT.

 First, take a full practice test to get your brain used to thinking for over 3.5 hours straight – just to find out where you struggle. Then, it’s best to work through your problematic areas with a tutor, as he/she will help you break these complex questions down into simple patterns and structures. And if tutoring prices are a concern, don’t let it worry you. You can always find great tutors that will work with your price range. At this point, focus only on your problematic areas until you improve.
Then, take another full practice test, and repeat the process of focusing on your most difficult questions until you feel confident with these problems. After this, take one more practice test so you can connect everything you learned with everything you already knew. When you take your practice tests, try to mimic the actual test’s scenarios. Take them in a public, but quiet place (like a library or coffee shop) and sit down for the entire 3 hours and 45 minutes. Take the tests in the order they appear on the SAT and only take breaks as the test offers them.

Middle scores for top colleges, according to about.com.

 


SAT Scores

Reading
Math
Writing

25%
75%
25%
75%
25%
75%
620
720
670
780
620
710
660
750
680
790
680
780
640
730
660
740
640
730
620
730
630
730
-
-
630
730
650
760
630
730
670
750
680
770
660
750
650
740
670
760
640
730
650
750
670
780
640
750
650
760
680
780
670
760
660
770
650
760
-
-
650
740
680
760
650
730
680
760
700
780
-
-


This guest post article was written and provided by Marissa Krause who is a stay at home mother and homeschools her children with the help of VarsityTutors.com.

14 comments:

Dissertation Ideas said...

I have read and I can agree with your points mentioned about school admission and SAT scores. But I would like to say one thing that getting admission based on high SAT score with low grades is possible only in a few of such institutions as most of the boards give importance to grades. Even though, if you managed to get higher SAT scores and average grades, that will be fine for even more institutions. I work for an academic essay writing service and as part of my work I engaged in projects to help students with admission essays. Based on my experiences, it's not a good idea to only concentrate in SAT but make sure that you get at least pleasing grades. I have shared just my opinion here, hope you don't think bad about it.

Though, I completely agree with your suggestion to practice and work hard on getting high SAT scores. One who make efforts with dedication can earn much better scores, for sure.

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