My D and S will both be applying to Duke's Pratt Engineering next fall. They each have scored a 34 on the ACT, and will submit this as part of their application. I realize that Duke does not require SAT Subject Tests if the ACT is submitted, but they took them anyway in May for applying to Ivies.
My question is whether you believe their scores are high enough to help their application, or if we should simply not submit them. Their scores are:
Math II 640/650
US Hist 620/650
Also, if I am allowed a second question in a single post: Would there be value in trying to take another round of Subject Tests mid-year and hoping for improvement?
To be frank, I would not submit them. Those aren't considered strong scores for Duke's standards, particularly a 640 on Math II for Pratt. A 740 on Math II would be considered weak honestly. A large portion of Duke engineers get 800s on the Math section of the SAT/SAT II. I think something like 15% of all test takers get a perfect 800 on Math IIC and Duke wants top students.
The biology score is borderline helpful, but it seems silly to have just one score. I would generally consider 700+ acceptable to send and 750+ good to send. For Math II to Pratt, one should score 750+ or else it's probably going to be a struggle in Pratt courses to be honest...Yes, I do think there would be value in trying to re-take the tests. These are certainly things that can be studied since it's all factual information and can be improved upon. Although you certainly wouldn't need to do so for Duke since the ACT alone is sufficient, but perhaps if your children are applying to the Ivies, that would be beneficial. These scores will not help their candidacy. It's pretty funny that they took the exact same three subject tests and scored that close to each other on each one. And scored the exact same on the ACT.
On the other hand, a 34 on the ACT is a very strong score, so congrats on that! That definitely makes them seem like better candidates than scores in the 600s on the SAT II subject tests. Seems pretty surprising to me actually that there's such a discrepancy.
Thanks for the input - I was thinking along these lines as well. We will probably not submit these SAT II scores.
They have each taken the ACT twice and scored (S) 34 and 34 and (D) 34 and 33. I was surprised as well that the Subject scores all came back lower than expected. However, as any parent of twins will attest, at least BOTH kids' scores were lower than expected. My S likes to antagonize his sister by pointing to her 33 on the second test.
Their preparation was light since they were taking AP Exams (Biology, Calculus and US History) within a couple weeks and assumed that the material would be consistent. Hopefully this does not presage disappointment with those scores as well.
They are not excited about the prospect of taking another round of tests, but it might be necessary. Would their applications be considered "lacking" without SAT II scores, even if the official policy indicates that it is optional?
They will not be "lacking" at all by submitting just the ACT with writing. However, in the world of highly competitive college admissions, any chance you have to provide additional information that presents you as a strong applicant should be considered. So, I would say that it's not "necessary", but if you are able to submit 750+ SATII's, it can only serve to build a stronger application
I doubt the application would be lacking without SATII scores, especially if you can provide supplemental AP scores that show good performance. The important thing is that those SATII scores may actually hurt the application which is something you want to avoid at all costs.
I submitted my ACT with two subject test scores (both over 700), but obviously it is not necessary. That said, I would retake them (maybe in Oct) and with courses that you can easily self study for (like Math I and II). The biology score might be sendable (I'd probably send the 710 if I had one more 700+), but I wouldn't send the others.
Congrats on the 34s though, that definitely puts them in a great position.
Personally, I don't think anything below a 750 is good for a top 10, or even top 15-20 school. Especially for Math II, which really should be an easy 800 -- especially, as others have pointed out, for engineering majors. Definitely retake the ones your kids think they can do well on; most other schools will require subject tests.
They will be applying RD. Duke is not necessarily their first choice and I don't think we can afford to take the Financial Aid gamble.
Since their applications won't be considered until January, we will probably have them take the Subject Tests again this fall. Hopefully a more disciplined preparation approach will be reflected in higher scores. If the scores don't improve, they will simply apply using only their ACT scores.
Has anyone else had high Math subscores on the ACT (34 and 36), but scored so low on the SAT II? They have not taken the SAT I since their ACT is high enough, but shouldn't the SAT and ACT be comparable?
as far as SAT and ACT being comparable, I know plenty of kids who take the SAT and get around an1800 but take the ACT and get a 31+ and vice versa. So, not always, but maybe. It most likely depends on the individual.
Duke's Pratt doesn't require a physics or chem sat subject test? Most schools with engineering-specific sections require one of those sciences (basically excludes sat bio) and math (ii usually preferred).
straight from the Duke website. "Applicants to the Pratt School of Engineering should take one SAT Subject Test in mathematics (level 1 or 2)." however, since Calculus is a prerequisite for Pratt, they most likely want math 2. However I did not see anything regarding science, although they strongly recommend, aka want, you to take at least 4 years.