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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!

  • mathmommathmom 32783 replies160 threads Senior Member
    @lykia99 what sort of high school did your son attend?
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  • lykia99lykia99 41 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited March 2019
    International high school. It had open admissions, so any American could attend.
    edited March 2019
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  • karen0karen0 160 replies30 threads Junior Member
    Same, my son got into Wharton ED, with one subject test, Math 2 (800). Through his transcript and recommendations, I think his other areas of strength were communicated.
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  • college17013college17013 16 replies3 threads Junior Member
    A few schools which I interviewed with I let know about this, but I didn't take SAT Subject Tests because I was not in a central location to do so. I have been living with several different host families for ballet and had performances during SAT Subject testing seasons consistently. Not to mention that if I had been in an area where Subject tests were offered for online school students, the cost of taking them would be difficult for my family. I do have several 5 AP Scores submitted, but I am worried that this is really going to knock down my admissions and it is too late to do anything about it... I do also have high school credits from several other schools which are well known and very competitive and I received equivalent grades there, so I am hoping this helps me but am concerned that this will be why I miss out on some of the colleges I loved dreaming about attending.
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  • conrad2conrad2 20 replies7 threads Junior Member
    @college17013 -- Your intense dedication to ballet, to the point of living away from home to pursue it, is something that will look appealing to many colleges; they do love to see real commitment to something--anything--and you are showing that. I hope you emphasized that on your applications (I'm assuming you're a senior and were waiting as of 3/25 when you posted to hear about acceptances--?). My DD did not do any SAT subject tests; in fact she submitted only her ACT score, not SAT at all. And she got into her first choice college, where they said that her commitment to dance through all of her school years showed them she sticks with things. That wasn't the only factor, I'm sure, but it did help, and you have the commitment factor for sure. Please don't be discouraged because you didn't take SAT subject tests! You will land in the place that's right for you.
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  • college17013college17013 16 replies3 threads Junior Member
    @conrad2 Thank you for the kind words. Unfortunately, emphasizing my dedication and life experience as a result was not extremely favorable at any of the leaning towards elite colleges. I was rejected by Yale, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, RICE, Columbia, and Boston College. Currently trying to get off of the Baylor waitlist because that is what I have left. It is challenging when I sacrificed a lot during my high school years to do both and still get a 4.25 gpa and 34 act and leadership in all my extracurriculars. Hoping you're right and it will work out, but I'm not sure how I'm going to figure this out all over again for medical school when I don't quite know where it all went wrong.
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  • Houston1021Houston1021 1202 replies21 threadsForum Champion Rice Forum Champion
    @college17013 haven't you been accepted at some schools with merit? Is Baylor the only one that isn't what you regard as a safety?
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  • conrad2conrad2 20 replies7 threads Junior Member
    @college17013, I hope you still won't be discouraged. Looking at the list of colleges to which you applied, I wonder if your high school guidance counselor or other college counselor was not thoughtful enough about which colleges to choose, and I'm surprised there weren't any other colleges on your list -- it doesn't seem to have what I'd call any safety schools. If you don't get off the Baylor wait list, is that really the last school left or are there some safety schools you didn't mention? I'm pulling for you on Baylor.

    You CAN and will get into medical school just fine without having gone to Yale or Harvard or Georgetown or Columbia etc.--no matter what anyone tells you. In fact my DD is going to a small liberal arts college with an acceptance rate this year of about 24 percent-- and their statistics on undergrads who get accepted to medical schools are terrific. (Some snobs would say that it's not "elite" unless the acceptance rate is below 10 percent but believe me, no one will ever ask you, "What was the acceptance rate at your college back when you applied x years ago?") I wish someone had advised you to apply beyond the colleges you chose (though I know that's water under the bridge now). The Common App makes it so incredibly easy to apply now that vastly more students apply everywhere including Ivys etc. and that means that even a dedicated student with great GPA and ACT and extracurriculars is competing with hordes of people, more and more of whom also have great GPAs and test scores. In short, it's not YOU, it's a ridiculously competitive system that combined with some possibly unwise advice.

    If you really can't get in anywhere at all--please check into schools with rolling admissions or look at a gap year with activiites or internships or jobs that will help you continue to prepare for college and will show your dedication to entering medicine. But I can't believe that with your stats and extracurriculars you won't get in anywhere at all. I'd go see your counselor and talk options. I'm thinking of you because you sound great and don't deserve to feel discouraged by a process that is currently so insanely competitive.
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  • mathmommathmom 32783 replies160 threads Senior Member
    Years ago there was a young woman who had to turn down Yale because it cost too much. She went to Rhodes instead. She went to Yale --- for med school. If your goal is to be a doctor - your undergrad degree is really not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.
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  • CU123CU123 3676 replies74 threads Senior Member
    I found that sending in AP scores effectively substituted for SAT2 scores. If you have 5's on AP tests from your junior year then send those in, that is what we did with UChicago (where she is attending and who had SAT2 as optional at the time). I also saw another thread that said Georgetown will accept AP scores in lieu of SAT2's.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9924 replies538 threads Senior Member
    The problem with APs is that a lot of kids don’t take them until they are seniors, which is too late for college applications. If a student submits several AP scores of 5 at a very selective school, and no SAT 2’s, I doubt they will just ignore the AP scores.
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  • reeeweeereeeweee 9 replies2 threads New Member
    i believe its kind of like a formality like the sat and act essays in that its not technically required but if they say that its optional you know you should really do it.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29936 replies59 threads Senior Member
    Some of the top schools like Harvard use(d) 5 SAT scores, Sat1, Writing, 2 of choice as the main marker. Yes, they could be flexible if you did not do this. But that was their standard, and if you were just a standard applicant, dotting those i’s and crossing those t’s was essential. I knew some second who told me that though flexibility was there, and holistic review done, reality is that s lot of apps ihsd to be processed inn short order, and square pegs not forced into round holes when there were so many well fitting ones available.

    Also, IME, dance not a well regarded EC. I’ve known some incredible dancers who didn’t get a quarter in consideration including SILs DD who was national level and top student. Surprising , but so.
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  • JazirianJazirian 1 replies0 threads New Member
    What counts as middle class in this case? Does the topic title remain true for someone of family income <$50,000 and with the closest testing center a little less than 2 hours away? My state is one of the poorest so I'm not sure where the "underprivileged" line is in the eyes of these top tier colleges.
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  • CU123CU123 3676 replies74 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    This topic has been wrong since its inception. The top schools look at what is sent to them, and if its not there because its optional then it doesn't help you nor does it hinder you. The SAT 2's have always been considered the least of all the testing. You only have to look at @Jazirian 's question to understand this.

    The bottom line is that if you had submitted scores and were accepted you would have been accepted without them, and if you didn't submit scores and were rejected you would have been rejected even if you had sent them in.


    The real deciding factors will come with what you have done with your life so far (EC's) and how you express yourself (essays).

    No AO is saying we should take this 800 SAT2 over another with an SAT2 700.
    edited July 2019
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  • SpectralSpectral 25 replies3 threads Junior Member
    How important are Subject Tests in one's holistic application?
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80220 replies720 threads Senior Member
    Spectral wrote: »
    How important are Subject Tests in one's holistic application?

    It depends on the college.

    But the general idea for elite college admissions is that any ordinary high school academic credentials like course selection, grades/GPA, rank, SAT/ACT, SAT subject tests, they can be important in a negative way, but not a positive way. Top-end academic credentials merely keep you in the pool to compete with many others for a small chance of admission (where more subjective factors and the college's priorities decide), while not-top-end academic credentials put you at a significant disadvantage.
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  • Techno13Techno13 313 replies11 threads Member
    I am not disagreeing with the perspective that SAT Subject Tests are actually required for privileged applicants). I will argue that they shouldn't be. Either the AO needs the data point or they don't. If a student's profile is consistent (positively or negatively) what purpose does the SAT2 serve? And if it serves a purpose and is required then it should be required of everyone. How are prospective applicants supposed to know which unspoken rule applies to them if the application guidelines are not clear. How will an AO determine if the SAT2 should have been taken or not (school profile, zip code, FAFSA, etc.?) This is no better than the CB "Adversity Score" in making sweeping assumptions about individuals that may not be valid.

    M D is so frustrated by this topic she is considering NOT EVEN APPLYING to Georgetown or other elite schools (I know, they don't care if she applies) because she sees it as a reflection of how they think about and treat students in general (adding unnecessary stress-inducing barriers to apply == purposeful and unnecessarily stressful campus environments.) I think she has a point.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80220 replies720 threads Senior Member
    Re: #158

    Some colleges prefer SAT subject tests over the SAT or ACT because the subject tests are better predictors of college performance. However, they realize that because the subject tests are non-default tests, many (potential) applicants from less privileged environments may never hear about them before it is too late to take them.

    Of course, if the college starts getting too many lower privilege students, causing its FA expense to exceed budget, it could go back to making SAT subject tests required to reduce the number of lower privilege applicants and therefore admits.
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  • chardonMNchardonMN 168 replies12 threads Junior Member
    edited November 2019
    My kids go to a high school that sends 100% to 4 year colleges, and many every year to tippy top schools. I have never heard mention of SAT subject tests. Maybe those kids applying to Georgetown etc are encouraged to take them, I don't know, because my kid did not apply there. But overall as part of college admissions strategy over the high school years, they were never mentioned. And these would be considered privileged kids.
    edited November 2019
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