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SAT subject tests are NOT truly optional for middle/upper middle class applicants at elite colleges!

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Replies to: SAT subject tests are NOT truly optional for middle/upper middle class applicants at elite colleges!

  • eastcoast101eastcoast101 469 replies8 threads Member
    edited November 2018
    My child is an athlete at a UAA school and did not submit subject test scores. Clearly it didn’t hurt in the admissions process that we didn’t submit them.
    edited November 2018
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  • anon145anon145 610 replies7 threads Member
    what school? what sport? My point to the person asking is for general applicants recommended but not required on websites should be read as recommended by unhooked/non recruited athlete. Not all schools require tests. Carnegie mellon tells at least non-helmet sports kids they need tests. Not every UAA school is the same. in the NESCAC Bowdoin says it's test optional but I have no idea if they really mean it. Test optional for a recruited athlete doesn't mean test optional for general applicants. U. Chicago and Wash U. likely have very different test requirements than Rochester and case western
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  • eastcoast101eastcoast101 469 replies8 threads Member
    Happy to share the school and sport in a PM. The school he attends lists it as recommended. He considered applying to CM but decided not to because he did not want to take SATIIs.
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  • anon145anon145 610 replies7 threads Member
    no problem - I'm just trying to post helpful information to future readers. I was shocked that CMU required SAT2s from white upper middle class recruited athletes, so I assume their "recommended" status for "regular" applicants definitely applies. I was also shocked because long term MIT would be a better option for many than CMU due to identical testing requirements.
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  • sf0828sf0828 5 replies5 threads New Member
    I just want to say that I personally asked a UPenn admissions rep on campus about their stance on subject tests, and she responded to me (an obvious upper middle class person), that I should “only submit them if they enhance your application.” What I am getting from this is that if they do not add value to my application, I should not submit them.
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  • akaybeeakaybee 2 replies0 threads New Member
    I don’t agree 100%. It depends on a few other things. First, why do they want to see SAT2s? Because not all high schools have the same teaching quality, so a 95 in Anytown HS is harder to assess than a 95 at an elite HS. So if you’re at an elite HS, or a HS that is well-known to the colleges for having a rigorous curriculum, SAT2s aren’t important. Second, if you’re taking APs, those are more valuable than SAT2s. Who cares about your Bio SAT2 grade if you got a 5 on the Bio AP exam? This is not just my opinion — I was worried about exactly this because my DD didn’t want to take SAT2s so I called the colleges on her list that “recommended” but didn’t require SAT2s (mainly Ivys) and they confirmed exactly what I said above — my DD is at a well-known HS and will graduate with 9 APs so they said there’s no need for her to take SAT2s. That said, this did cause her to drop Georgetown from her list, because they require SAT2s.
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  • 4junior4junior 249 replies9 threads Junior Member
    @sf0828 I think the adcoms response was code for "if you submit them they need to be quite good as we can see you have had plenty of test prep based on your background". A good to moderately great score from a well-off kid will not enhance the application.
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  • anon145anon145 610 replies7 threads Member
    that is very logical, however, I'd ask why to SAT or ACT math scores matter much more than a calculus BC score of 5, when the math on the standardized tests is much lower than Calc BC
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  • 2ndthreekids2ndthreekids 10 replies0 threads New Member
    My child was just admitted to a top 10 nationally ranked school, ED. We are upper middle class, no hooks. She did not submit SAT subject test scores because while she did fine (740/720 on Math 2/Bio), they weren't 800's and they didn't help her profile. She was 35 on all sections of the ACT, and incredibly rigorous hs curriculum. If ACT and curriculum/grades are stellar, they say enough about a student's academic readiness.
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  • NCKrisNCKris 270 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Is this Duke by any chance ? Duke states Subject Tests are not required, when submitting ACT. I don't know of any Ivies with the same policy.
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  • 2ndthreekids2ndthreekids 10 replies0 threads New Member
    Yes. She took ACT once, did very well on all AP/IB tests, all A's in high school with a very rigorous curriculum. What's left to prove ? Aside from foreign language excellence/proficiency, I'm not sure what subject tests are supposed to prove in terms of academic ability that's much different than the transcript and standardized test scores. For those of us who don't have our kids do test prep classes, score one for the regular kids...
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  • irishheroirishhero 5 replies3 threads New Member
    Hi, I got a 36 on the ACT (one and done), but I still submitted my subject scores to a top 20 school (710 Chem and 790 Math II). Maybe it didn't make a difference or perhaps made my 36 look less impressive, but I got admitted REA. Not sure if it would have made a difference either way, but from this thread I thought it was the right thing to do, and my college counselor advised me to send them.
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  • Ozzy08Ozzy08 14 replies1 threads Junior Member
    If you do not submit test scores then you must shine in other areas such as EC's and recommendations.
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  • LA91116LA91116 13 replies4 threads Junior Member
    When we asked our public HS counselor about Subject Tests, his response was "why take them". Very confusing.
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  • pennmotherpennmother 1 replies0 threads New Member
    There are nuances as to what else the person has going for them. My daughter is at penn with one subject test, not two. But she has other things on her resume, including the summer program for her major
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  • LA91116LA91116 13 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Pennmother, we're in a public high school so there is no nuance!!! Once I'm able to PM, I'll message you as I'm really curious to hear how your daughter chose Penn. I really want my DD to go but they are seriously weak in her area of study. I had such an interesting experience there decades ago, and I kind of want to share it with her, regardless of the fact that the program may not be a good "fit". I know, I'm just like everyone else, but is that so wrong?!!
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  • sylvieiasylvieia 9 replies2 threads New Member
    I took literature and math2 and they helped a lot with my admissions, but i got 790s on both. I would say dont take them if you aren't prepared.
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  • LA91116LA91116 13 replies4 threads Junior Member
    edited March 2019
    Stupid question @sylvieia but how do you know they helped? Did you get any feedback from the admissions office?
    edited March 2019
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  • lykia99lykia99 41 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I am new and don't have lots of experience with college admissions, but son 1 was admitted to Princeton without SAT Subject Tests. He only submitted his SAT scores. I'd call us upper middle class as my wife is a Foreign Service Officer. I suspect that what they liked about my son is that he was raised largely overseas. As far as I can see, that was his only "hook". He got a few other offers, also all without SAT subject test scores.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29878 replies59 threads Senior Member
    SAT2 tests can help in admissions if the scores are high, even if the school does not require them or says they are not considered. I know that with two of my kids, specific mention was made of their high SAT2 scores by admissions officers at their colleges, and in one case, by a coach. In the athlete's case, his SAT scores were a bit on the low side for admissions, and first two years of grades were not great. That the SAT2 scores were higher than the SAT1 numbers, showed that he had a good comprehension of those subjects. The other one had abysmal ACT and SAT1 test scores, but high grades, and the high SAT2 scores reinforced those grades.

    I think SAT2 scores are very important for kids who are coming from schools that are not well known to admissions offices of highly selective colleges. If a high school is not on the radar of admissions of a college, they have more difficulty gauging the quality of instruction, how the grades are given out and there is sometimes doubt as to how well the student knows the material of courses taken. There are schools that have very very few kids going on to private colleges, particularly the most selective schools, and they tend to get the short shrift if there is no evidence of hardship or disadvantage in the profile. High SAT2s can be a game changer in such cases.

    Low SAT2s are not advantageous to submit. In fact low SAT1s are not, if you can get away without submitting them as we did with some schools for my low scoring son. Fairtest schools truly does ignore the omission of test scores, I can attest, as we did not submit any of them to the group of those schools,and son was accepted to all of them.

    AP test scores from junior year and earlier, certainly give weight to the transcript. Again, kids going to schools not well known by admissions offices, it gives another view of where the student stands among those who do submit those scores. I know that SAT2 and AP test scores can be very important in the application process of homeschooled kids.
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