Do my SAT test scores automatically disqualify me?
Hi. I'm going to be a senior in the fall and I just got my SAT II scores today. Needless to say, I'm very disappointed. Columbia (and then Harvard and Brown) is my dream school, but I don't see the point in applying if there's a threshold for scores and anything below that is disqualified.
I'm an asian female who lives in California. My sat score was 2360 (first time), but then my sat II scores are:
World history: 720
U.S. History: 760
Math II: 780
Lit: (take two times) 660
I was planning to major in Lit but obviously... that's not happening. For what it's worth, my unweighted academic gpa is 4.0 and my weighted gpa is like 4.6. My AP test scores aren't that great either (mostly 4's with some 5's, I think). I do have good extra-curriculars, but they are focused on the LIT side of me, which will probably hurt me a lot.
Should I even bother applying to Columbia? Should I retake anything? What should I do? I'm lost.
Send in your top three SAT II scores: World History, US History, and Math II. They are all over 700, so what are you freaking out about?????
Why can't you major in literature? That is an odd comment, as your major has nothing to do with your SAT II Subject tests or scores. You would be admitted to the College, not INTO A MAJOR. Once you are admitted, and the SAT IIs are for the purposes of making admissions decisions only, you can major in whatever you want. Your SAT II subejct tests do not determine your "right" to choose a particular college major. Your goal is to gain admittance, therefore you send in your best scores -- which are VERY GOOD. Stop worrying about nothing. You have sufficiently fine scores for both the SAT I and SAT II. You do NOT need to retake your tests. Doing so would be unnecessary and obsessive. They are already excellent scores.
Why is having a list of ECs focused on your "Lit side" going to "hurt [you] a lot"? That makes absolutely no sense! Having excellent history and math SAT II's PLUS good lit ECs makes you appear to be a very well rounded applicant.
The scores are fine. Move on. You should now focus your energy on crafting great applications and great application essays (Common App. and Columbia supplement).
Really, your test scores are fine and you need not worry! Just work on great applications!!!!
@swingtime: First of all, thank you so much for your response. It's really nice to know that someone is listening and cares enough to answer back.
Columbia doesn't practice score choice and so I'll have to send all of those SAT II scores in. From what I've researched, having less than a 780 for SAT II scores will hurt me. That basically means that the other applicants who are applying to Columbia who have higher sat II scores than me (which will be a LOT of them) will have an advantage and be admitted and in other words, I won't be good enough.
And I feel like that it would be an absolute JOKE if I declared my major as literature if I basically failed the sat II literature test. Not to mention that almost all my extracurriculars relate to literature. Won't it look suspicious or hurt me a lot if I did poorly on Literature and then indicate that I'm interested in majoring in lit?
Maybe I've been reading the wrong articles or talking to the wrong people, but I feel like my scores are way below the average for people applying to Columbia. I guess the main reason I'm freaking out is because OTHER PEOPLE HAVE BETTER SCORES THAN ME. They're better and assuming they have the same quality of extracurriculars and gpa, they're going to be the ones who are admitted and I'm going to be the one who's rejected. If that makes any sense.
Hzhao2004: Thank you for answering. I really hope you're right.
@Woahgosh "Maybe I've been reading the wrong articles or talking to the wrong people, but I feel like my scores are way below the average for people applying to Columbia. I guess the main reason I'm freaking out is because OTHER PEOPLE HAVE BETTER SCORES THAN ME."
There are students who have perfect scores on everything that are denied admission, not because Columbia(or any top school) has already filled up their incoming class with all "perfect students," but because Columbia is not looking for robot, test-takers. With enough training a good deal of students who could handle Columbia's workload could probably ace most the standardized tests.
Your scores are fine, perfection won't help your chances. You seem to be too focused on your scores. Start working on personal, passionate, genuine essays and EC's because that's what'll get you an acceptance.
@DowneasterDad: Thank you for your wise and kind words. My GPA atm is: Academic 4.6 and 4.0 and 10-12 is 4.7 and 4.0.
I feel like I'm putting my shot at a dream school that is within my reach (and would be completely free because they give need-based financial aid) in risk. I'd rather be safe than sorry. I'm thinking about retaking SAT IIs but I don't know if that'll just 1) be a waste of time or 2) not even matter or 3) make me seem desperate.
Your SAT IIs won't knock you out but seriously, your inability to keep things in perspective belie a major weakness. You have a 2360 SAT. And a handful of SAT IIs in the 700s. And a 4.0 GPA.
Your "am I good enough" post shows some pretty big lack of analytical ability. Your dream school has a super low admit rate. It is what it is. Most people who apply will get rejected.
Now what? If that sad fact dissuades you from applying then don't.
The admit rate for people who don't apply is zero. Are you viable? Yes. Do you have a good shot? No one who hits the "submit" button has a good shot.
That being said, you'll have MANY great options come next April due to your great accomplishments to date. But please don't post any more "oh woe is me" chatterings. You'll do fine. Maybe not at Columbia but you're better off than 99.999% people your age.
Woahgosh, you have gotten some very sage, thoughtful responses. I do hope you take the comments and advice seriously. Because, truly, you are not understanding how college admissions works. Yes, I had indeed forgotten that Columbia does not have score choice. So what? You have some fantastic scores. And no one in admissions is going to look at your lit-related ECs, then your SAT II lit scores and go, "what an absolute JOKE," how DARE this girl think she can major in lit. That does not hapen.
Full disclosure: my "little one's" top choice school was Columbia and had been for over a year before her admissions season. She is a passionate, dedicated scientist who also spent months really crafting spectacular essays (Common App. and Columbia). She took the positively most rigorous course load possible at her private school. However, some of her scores were lower than yours. She did not believe she had a chance at Columbia, because she erroneously assumed, at first, that test scores were the overarching criteria for admission. The more she researched Columbia, however, and its holistic admissions philosophy, the more she came to believe that her other extraordinary qualities would be weighed highly. She took the risk and applied because SHE LOVES COLUMBIA and felt it would be the perfect fit for her. She was acceptd by Columbia.
The difference between my "little one" and you is precisely this: she knows some of her classmates will have scored higher on tests than she did. That some of them may get higher grades in college than she will. She does not care. Being in competition for grades and scores is not HER. She is so grateful for her extraordinary opportunity that she will arrive this fall prepared and ambitious to get the best education she can for herself. She is beyond "OTHER PEOPLE HAVE BETTER SCORES THAN ME." And you need to get to that point because if you don't, not only will admissions be beyond normally stressful for you, but TRUE SUCCESS in such a college will be impossible for you.
Please go to Columbia's website and read its lengthy discussion of its holistic admissions philosophy. If that does not calm you down, then, don't apply.
In most cases, one low SAT II score does not make or break an application.
As has been said before, you're not admitted to a major, but the College itself. One mediocre showing (a 660 is not by any means failing - that particular test has a harsh curve) when supplemented with other strong examples of interest in the subject, such as high English AP scores, or extracurriculars such as tutoring English, ESL, or being president of a Literature Society, makes you a competitive candidate.
If you don't have many English-related ec's, or are still not sure, there's always the option of applying undecided. That way, your strong academic profile is viewed utterly holistically, without emphasizing that specific SAT score.
Either way, be thoughtful and creative with your application essays. Show your passion for literature and learning in the liberal arts tradition. Remember that there is more to college than your major.
Your SAT IIs aren't abysmal (I sent World/US/Math2 as well!) and your other academic qualifications seem fine. Don't freak out. If you can demonstrate your interest in literature enough on the application to get in, nobody is going to stop you from declaring a literature major come sophomore year. Don't bother retaking the IIs unless you secretly want to go SEAS - save the stress for the rest of the college application process.
Listen woahgosh - speaking from the perspective of a recently admitted student who will attend Columbia this fall, I can candidly say that you have nothing to worry about. I sent in two SAT II scores (790 US Hist. and 750 Lit.), but my SAT I score was a full 70 points lower than yours! And here I am, packing my bags (well, metaphorically speaking) for New York City. I too approached the application with an emphasis on my literary experience, and it proved to be propitious. As swingtime (a far more knowledgeable member) asserted, invest time into portraying the amazing person you are in your application.