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admission: scores important to amherst?

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Replies to: admission: scores important to amherst?

  • TiredQuibblerTiredQuibbler Registered User Posts: 171 Junior Member
    Lol it said that like 30% of students fell in the 600-700 range. Maybe he was one in a million, but my friend was 770 CR/690 MT/600 WR. ORM who wants to pursue physics, ECs were almost nonexistent. Applied RD. Not an athlete. Not a legacy. No awards to his name. Not even top 1% of class. I read his essays and they were OK but kind of short. His only hook was being first-gen and I wouldn't exactly call that a massive hook. If you saw this kid on a chances forum, would you tell him he had a good shot at Amherst?

    I can't conceive of him being some unique person that they made an exception for, so I can only assume it's common for them to give leeway in some cases. Have you even seen their admissions videos? AdComm says they take scores less seriously for low-income students (not that OP seems to be in that category).
  • TiredQuibblerTiredQuibbler Registered User Posts: 171 Junior Member
    To answer the whole purpose of the thread: yes, scores are very important to Amherst. Not because they flawlessly reflect talent or lack thereof, but because admissions competitiveness is a game that pits colleges against each other and forces them quantify how brilliant their students are.

    If your scores are lacking, it will hurt you, but I'm not going to advocate the, "Don't even try!" perspective. Others will. I mean, a 590 is highly unlikely to make the cut, but if you get it up to like a low 600 or so, just go for it unless it is financially straining.
  • SAYSAY Registered User Posts: 945 Member
    Tired you have much to learn about admissions. Being the first in your family to go to college is a huge hook. Also no colleges even look at the writing score. Your friend had a 1460 which is a very good score and a fabulous score for the first in a family to go to college. Almost all the students who get accepted with lower scores have some sort of hook. This is a fact and not really open for debate.
  • TiredQuibblerTiredQuibbler Registered User Posts: 171 Junior Member
    I'll concede that Amherst emphasizes first-gen more than other schools and that they definitely take CR+MT more seriously than WR, but I'm not going to say that OP can't get his score up and that he just shouldn't apply because he scored poorly on one section during his first sitting.

    Also you said something that is kind of silly: "CR score a 590 shows that this area is not a strength for you and you will therefore be at a substantial disadvantage compared to other students even if you can somehow gain admission."

    How seriously do you take these tests? Certainly the SAT has some correlation with skill, but not to the point where you can rightfully conclude that a student isn't academically competent if they're a little lackluster in one section.
  • SAYSAY Registered User Posts: 945 Member
    Tired the SAT is a modified IQ test and the difference between 780 and 740 in minimal but the difference between 590 and 790 is huge. You are fooling yourself if you believe that students with a 590 can on average compete academically with students with high 700's. Now maybe the student had a bad day and next time will get 700 but the average increase in scores from courses is not very much in general. With all intelligence testing it's very hard to go from groups to individuals but students who score an 1800 on the SAT are very different from ones that score 2250 with virtually no overlap.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 34,843 Senior Member
    I should pop some popcorn... neither of you know as much as you think you do.
  • SAYSAY Registered User Posts: 945 Member
    intparent if you have a point to make then make it. Otherwise your post is vacuous.
  • GA2012MOMGA2012MOM Registered User Posts: 5,440 Senior Member
    SAY, I will speak on behalf of intparent. She is correct in both of you don't know what you think you do. Oh, and I am a parent of an Amherst grad........who worked extensively in admissions. Please don't bicker back and forth on points that are not true.
  • SAYSAY Registered User Posts: 945 Member
    Being a parent is nice but irrelevant to the discussion. Tired stated in his posts that the applicant with a 590 CR without a hook had a chance because he knew a friend who was admitted with a 600 WR without a hook but had a 1460 M & CR. I simply explained to him that the WR section is ignored by top schools and that being the first in your family to attend college is a big hook. Therefore his example was not very supportive of the applicant gaining admission with a 590 CR. Everything I said is verifiably true so there is no bickering. If you disagree state your case but drop the tribal attitude.
  • TiredQuibblerTiredQuibbler Registered User Posts: 171 Junior Member
    Can I be honest here? I was just trying to be positive to OP. I realize that the pretense of knowledge in this pursuit can be misleading, but I have an aversion to telling perfectly hardworking students that they're not good enough.

    SAY, you got on my nerves and I let that drag me into an argument where I made claims I didn't believe in. I shouldn't have let it go on for as long as I did, but I did and that's that. I think that your general argument is fair enough (though I disagree with your stance on standardized testing as a measurement of intelligence). I don't really know why the other posters see you as ignorant, but it's probably your condescension.

    Either way, best of luck to wherever you apply, OP. Sorry about your thread. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • SAYSAY Registered User Posts: 945 Member
    Tired I apologize for tone of my initial post and when I re-read it I can see why it got on your nerves. I have a large experience with college admission at elite universities and have a background in intelligence testing. Mostly I don't post on this site because quite often it leads to disagreements about well established issues. For instance I frequently hear quite well educated people claim that intelligence does not have a large genetic component. To many people this is an issue that strikes to the core of their personal values despite that fact that numerous longitudinal studies have proven without a shred of doubt that intelligence is largely based on genetics. If I posted this as a thread on this site I would get attacked by scores of people claiming all sorts of hostile things when in fact among the experts in this field this issue is no longer remotely controversial. The Minnesota Twin Study was so definitive even the NYT accepted the results. As to your issue about the SAT not really measuring intelligence I would agree that it is nearly as effective as say the LSAT which really is a direct IQ test. I also would agree that IQ test are not perfect but they do measure an important trait and it remains the single best measure of work performance though it has long been illegal to be used for that purpose. I guess all I can say about the SAT is that the elite schools sure do believe in the importance of the exam since at top schools the student body is almost entirely composed of students with both high GPA's and top 1-2% SAT's. My point in a previous post was that 30 points in a section of the SAT means very little from say 740 to 770(often 1 math question) but the difference between 550 and 750 is consistently very significant. Professor Sanders from UCLA has shown this in his recent work about LSAT and law school performance. Twenty years after publication the Bell Curve has been proven time after time to be correct despite all the venom directed at the authors at the time. Charles Murray's work remains a must read for anyone interested in this area. At any rate I also wish the applicant the best of luck and hope the OP can improve the CR score and gain admission.
  • CHD2013CHD2013 Registered User Posts: 2,528 Senior Member
    edited November 2014
    You really need to focus in on getting some matches and safeties, and if you have straight As but a poor CR score, I'd pick a few off this list (Bowdoin, Dickinson, Mt. Holyoke if you are female, etc.).

    @intparent - the median SAT for each of CR, M and W for both Amherst and Bowdoin is in the 720s. Not sure what type of distinction you're trying to make.
  • ThankYouforHelpThankYouforHelp Registered User Posts: 1,295 Senior Member
    Well, I would expect Bowdoin's median scores to be high. Submitting test scores is optional there, so the only applicants who submit them are the ones with very high scores. The percentage of the class who are accepted but had lower scores presumably aren't included in the calculation of that median.

    Not knocking Bowdoin. It's a great school, and all the schools should deemphasize standardized tests, IMO. Nevertheless, the result of their policy is to make their numbers a bit inflated vis a vis their competitors.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 34,843 Senior Member
    @CHD2013, all 3 of those schools are test optional. The OP can apply without giving them test scores. That 590 CR is going to be an anchor at top schools.
  • CHD2013CHD2013 Registered User Posts: 2,528 Senior Member
    @intparent, I think you're missing my point. Let me be more clear. I don't agree that Bowdoin is a match or a safety for this candidate or pretty much anyone so I think your suggestion was a little off base with that particular example.
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