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ACT score of 20, stellar everything else. How much will this matter to "average" LAC's?


Replies to: ACT score of 20, stellar everything else. How much will this matter to "average" LAC's?

  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 41,524 Senior Member
    If he's a strong student at his HS, he can attend a 4-year college - if he tends to be swayed by less driven classmates, a CC wouldn't be a good choice, especially in rural MN where they're more vocational schools than transfer schools (the branches such as Duluth and Morris are not toooo selective and Crookston is basically open-enrollment; Morris would likely be an excellent choice for him BTW. The Minnesota and Wisconsin State schools like Eau Claire or St Cloud are also good fallback options.)
    Look into St John's, Gustavus Adolphus, Beloit, Luther, Concordia-Moorhead, Augustana, Hamline, St Thomas, Lake Forest, Earlham, Drake, Wartburg, Bradley, Cornell College, . Run the NPCs.
    Cast a wide net: what about Carroll of Montana, College of Idaho, Guilford, Hendrix, Eckerd, UNC-Asheville, Lebanon Valley, Lycoming, Elmira, Washington&Jefferson, Ursinus, Elizabethtown, Juniata, Susquehanna, Drew, Wheaton MA....?
    He'd get a "geographical diversity" boost at these.

  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 6,290 Senior Member
    If speed, esp reading speed, is an issue, why hasn't he tried the SAT?
  • TorveauxTorveaux Registered User Posts: 1,461 Senior Member
    OP, a word of caution about posting here...this site leans heavily toward the very smart kids and parents of those kids. So the tendency is to overact to scores under 30 as being bad. 20 is not a high score, but the national average is 21, so it is not really that low.

    I grew up in SD about 10 miles from MN in a small rural area, so I have a good feel for your situation. The are some good suggestions in the post above, and I would add that the state schools in SD have reciprocity with Minnesota. There are some good state options there. Depending upon what type of ministry, you also have Lutheran: Augustana (Sioux Falls); Baptist: University of Sioux Falls; Catholic: Presentation College (Aberdeen); and others. There are schools there in much smaller cities than most people here would even consider a city.

    No need to go test-optional. The road will be a bit harder on the lower end of the scale, but given all of his other accomplishments, he will find a good school eager to have him.
  • Pennylane2011Pennylane2011 Registered User Posts: 2,716 Senior Member
    edited July 2015
    ^Great suggestions for colleges-
    I tend to err on the side of financial caution in the face of financial need, and so, colleges close to home can be a savings in terms of travel costs.

    CC is not a popular choice on this forum, but they can be an affordable option and a good way for some students to transition to college, so I do consider them. However, as in any suggestion, fit is an individual consideration.

  • BatesParents2019BatesParents2019 Registered User Posts: 801 Member
    edited July 2015
    @Torveaux This is terrible advice. The first school you mentioned in Sioux Falls has an average ACT of 26, which is the 83rd percentile. This student's is the 49th. I would say the probability of this student getting accepted is about zero.

    The way you say "no need to go test optional" makes it sound like there is some virtue to submitting this score or to standardized tests in general.

    Why would anyone choose a harder road when they don't have to?

    This really isn't a close call.

  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 41,524 Senior Member
    The student needs to cast a wide net.
    Test optional universities are one possibility and will certainly open selective choices that wouldn't be available if scores were required.
    However, Upper Midwest colleges admit almost all students who can do the work, and with a 3.8 this student can.
    For instance, most of the colleges cited admit 65-80% applicants. 1/3 students admitted to Augustana had a score below 24.
    Both types of applications are needed since there's such a discrepancy between test scores and grades.
  • dec51995dec51995 Registered User Posts: 264 Junior Member
    @Pennylane: He's looking at schools in the midwest.

    @MYOS1634: Most of the colleges you mentioned have 25-75% composites well above my nephew's 20. That reality was what prompted the post in the first place. I think my original question could be rephrased to include your comment about acceptance rates. At colleges that accept 60-80 percent of applicants, does one treat the 25-75% rate the same way one would treat them with selective colleges. (I.e.--shoot for colleges where your score is at the top of the range and consider anything below that a reach).

    Last night, I ran the NPC for several of nephew's choices, including one of the test optional colleges. For the test optional, I could either enter an ACT number or omit it. The NPC spit out an acceptable amount of financial aid for either option. So, if the NPC is accurate, going test optional at that particular institution didn't seem to have much impact on aid. I think it was a difference of about $1000. That school is now highlighted, bolded, and circled in red on the list.

    @Collegemom3717: The SAT is a harder choice, logistically, for a student out in rural MN. There's still some midwestern residual bias in favor of the ACT and, while the state requires juniors to take the ACT in the spring of their junior year--at the school--there's no such requirement for the SAT. Nephew would have to make a two-hour drive just to find a testing site. That would be okay, I guess, except that it means either getting up in early hours (since testing starts at 7:00 a.m.) or arranging to stay with a relative (me) who lives near testing sites.I suggested to his mom that he take a math or chemistry SAT II to bolster his academics, but that suggestion didn't fly too well--he was busy with golf, etc., etc. this past spring, when the team went to state. Remember, that their community is not the usual CC crowd--affluent suburban, well-informed, overly-anxious, college-choice focused. Folks out in greater MN tend to do what everyone else does. As a test prep tutor, I think the ACT is far easier to coach. The English is incredibly circumscribed and predictable, and the math doesn't throw many surprises. I'm sure the sentence completion vocab would throw my nephew if he took the old SAT, and the math section is trickier than the ACT's. If he went with the new SAT, that would be even more of a testing wildcard. So, SAT has been rejected as not likely to yield a higher score and logistically undesirable.

  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 41,524 Senior Member
    Yes, essentially I'm saying that if he can do the work he'll get in, not at all of course, but at several colleges (especially the rural ones) if the college has 65-80%admission rates. However costs may vary greatlyvs so run NPCs since admission may not mean affordable.
    Morris is an exception because they tend to have high-caliber students and can afford to b pickier.
  • HannaHanna Registered User Posts: 14,905 Senior Member
    "I was looking for a quantifiable effect of the ACT to schools in a specific category."

    Unfortunately, this isn't knowable at any school that has holistic admissions, which is pretty much all LACs.
  • woogzmamawoogzmama Registered User Posts: 3,850 Senior Member
    It isn't terribly useful to compare your nephew's scores with those of admitted students at test-optional colleges: the students who reported scores are the ones who performed well and would like to have their scores included for review.
  • Pennylane2011Pennylane2011 Registered User Posts: 2,716 Senior Member
    Perhaps this list is helpful: http://www.ctcl.org/events/map . The admissions/cost/ financial aid is variable, but perhaps some will fit.

    I wonder if there are any colleges affiliated with his denomination that may have scholarship money available in addition to financial aid?
  • swampdragginswampdraggin Registered User Posts: 278 Junior Member
    Does he have any stats showing academic rigor? or is the course choice too small? any independent work? something academically that makes him stand out?
    Many schools put rigor above test scores
  • RHSclassof16RHSclassof16 Registered User Posts: 922 Member
    edited July 2015
    Well I have no credentials in test prepping but I will say that there is no reason that your nephew should no try to raise his test scores. A 20 is bad, but the good news is that if he preps he might be able to at least score a 23-24. I would also tell him to try the SAT as others have said, especially if his challenge is reading speed because the SAT is more generous with time than the ACT is. I'm kind of like your nephew in that I am not a very fast reader. I scored 26 Composite on the ACT (25 E, 32 M, 22 R, 24 S) and 1870 on the SAT. (560 CR, 690 M, 620 W)
  • dec51995dec51995 Registered User Posts: 264 Junior Member
    @RHSclassof16: I'm an ACT prep tutor, so I agree that he "could" raise his score at least 5 points and get in the ballpark for the schools he's gunning for. He "could," but I'm afraid he won't because I don't think he understands the magnitude of the problem. Unlike the majority of posters here, he lives in the boonies where CC and college admissions frenzy doesn't exist. And, he's coming to this issue late in the game. He's a rising senior. He can take the test in September and October, but then he's pretty much done. There's a big difference between your 26 composite and his 20. Yours confirm that you can handle college-level work. His suggests that he's not college ready, according to the ACT benchmarks.

    @swampdraggin: No, he doesn't have rigor because rigor doesn't exist at his high school. Nothing makes him stand out academically. With his scores, I'm wondering if he will struggle academically wherever he gets in. His 3.8 is ridiculous next to his composite score.
  • RHSclassof16RHSclassof16 Registered User Posts: 922 Member
    edited July 2015
    @dec51995 Alright, but I would still have him at least try to SAT and see if he does better. I am somebody who is a slow reader and do much better on the SAT because the SAT is a little bit more generous with time than the ACT is. I don't go to a very rigorous high school either.
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