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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!

  • kanagawakanagawa Registered User Posts: 67 Junior Member
    why is taking the psat so important? especially if the student is taking the act, i dont think they can even qualify for merit scholarship if they don't take both the psat and the sat
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 3,360 Senior Member
    The PSAT is what makes a student eligible for National Merit.
  • SuperSenior19SuperSenior19 Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    Personally, things like this make me so fed up with the whole admissions process.
    If colleges say they're optional, they should be optional for everyone -- for real. Students shouldn't have to read between the lines and analyze how their income/background/HS (which is totally out of their control!) is going to somehow bias the admissions office towards or against their application.

    I get that colleges are trying to recruit more low-income students and take into account the opportunities each student has, and that's great. But it's unfair to have a completely different set of standards for low-income students, since colleges are clearly implying that they don't need SAT Subject tests to admit a student.

    I don't even get the point of SAT Subject tests! If you've already taken an AP test, you've proven -- by the admission of both the College Board and the colleges themselves -- that you have shown college-level mastery in a given subject. So why is a subject test in the exact same subject necessary?? Just have students report AP scores instead; if the school doesn't offer APs, they can self-study.
    Obviously this is just a scam by the College Board to make more money, and colleges are bending over backward to make students give it to them. (For what it's worth, I'm not taking any.)
  • irishheroirishhero Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Hi there, I skimmed some of the posts here, and now I am wondering if I did the wrong thing by not submitting my Subject Test scores. I applied to a handful of schools, one of which is a top 20, but not an ivy (my top choice). I got a 790 on the Math II test and a 710 on Chemistry. I didn't submit these due to the fact my grades and test scores are so strong (36 ACT, 4.2 GPA). I figured that perhaps those scores may diminish my perfect ACT score. Did I do the wrong thing?
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 3,360 Senior Member
    @irishhero If you have still have applications pending, I would submit those subject test scores.
  • SouthernHopeSouthernHope Registered User Posts: 2,051 Senior Member
    This is an example of one but my kid has no hooks whatsoever (including income) and took no subject tests and made it onto the extended waiting list (25 kids who are still being considered in June) at Georgetown. So i think if they see something that they like about a kid, they really don't care that much....but if they're waffling, subject tests might help.
  • KCHWriterKCHWriter Registered User Posts: 93 Junior Member
    A rep from an Ivy League school (pretty sure it was Columbia) was speaking at my kids' school last spring (it's a private prep school in NYC--sends a boatload of kids to Ivies every year) and she specifically said they no longer care about subject tests. She said that the scores basically tell her nothing--either they just confirm what they already know from grades/scores/curriculum (ie, clearly they're good at math) OR they "confuse" the narrative (ie, why did they score 35 on the math section on ACT, have an A in BC Calc, but then got a 650 on the Math II test?!). Also, I got the vibe that the admissions reps have now caught on to the fact that the kids at these schools are basically tutored/prepped to the tests so aggressively that they are now meaningless from this population.
  • camiruthcamiruth Registered User Posts: 29 Junior Member
    I'm extremely worried after reading this...

    I am applying to/already sent in my application to many top tier schools, but I didn't take subject test scores. I had to pay the fees for my own testing so I didn't have the money to spend. I know Northwestern stressed that it truly was optional and they had no preference unless you were homeschooled.
  • KCHWriterKCHWriter Registered User Posts: 93 Junior Member
    @camiruth, if it makes you feel any better, my daughter didn't take subject tests, either (and attends a private prep school). She applied to Northwestern ED and the rest of her list is pretty much all "top tier" schools, and her college counselor didn't think they were necessary. The only exception would have been if she'd been applying to engineering programs (which she isn't) or schools that truly "strongly recommend" them (like Georgetown). Considering the school's track record with admissions, I genuinely trust the college counselor's call on this! So I wouldn't worry too much.
  • kanagawakanagawa Registered User Posts: 67 Junior Member
    thank you!
  • camiruthcamiruth Registered User Posts: 29 Junior Member
    @KCHWriter thank you!
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 72,213 Senior Member
    KCHWriter wrote:
    A rep from an Ivy League school (pretty sure it was Columbia) was speaking at my kids' school last spring (it's a private prep school in NYC--sends a boatload of kids to Ivies every year) and she specifically said they no longer care about subject tests.

    Perhaps that is specific to your kid's private prep school that is well known and/or has privileged connections to the colleges in question.

    Applicants from less well known high schools without privileged connections may be seen by the colleges as being more in need for SAT subject scores to "confirm" the strength of the high school courses.
  • anon145anon145 Registered User Posts: 130 Junior Member
    edited November 22
    bad idea to consider recruited athlete with regular students. At Ivies a recruited athlete needs to get ~30 on the ACT and does not need to take subject tests. Recruited athlete for Carnegie Mellon was told by coach that "recommended" SAT2 subject tests really means required for kids from decent schools or upper middle class.

    Remember the Ivies and most top 25 schools operate on wanting the most applications as possible (Elite schools WANT to reject lots of people) and legally trying to have some legal cover. Ask why your kid gets spam emails from schools they've never visited or expressed interest in to apply there. Ask why when one school drops a requirement the rest of the elite follow? Purely to keep applicant numbers up. Most schools are dropping writing components due to this.

    The better lawsuit against harvard is not discriminating against Asians, it's why Ivy schools that give no athletic scholarships take athletes with 30 ACTs (or lower for football/harvard BBall) and no subject tests.
  • lostaccountlostaccount Registered User Posts: 4,640 Senior Member
    Haven't read all posts but noticed much discussion about test optional being intended for those who can't afford the tests. Actually, the impetus for test optional was the opposite-to attract wealthy full pay students. Many private schools were having difficulty filling their slots with enough students who could pay. They were turning students down who they knew would be able to handle the academics but had bad scores that would tank their score averages for the various school rankings. And if they admitted them and their test averages declined they'd fall in the rankings. By becoming test optional, they hope to attract more full pay students who hadn't done well on the tests but whose grades were good enough to suggest they could handle the school's academics. The result would then be an increase in the schools test averages because students like those that were accepted but on the lower part of the distribution, thereby pulling the school's scores down a bit, would not send scores in the future.
  • anon145anon145 Registered User Posts: 130 Junior Member
    edited November 28
    kid recruited athlete (decided not to go to carnegie mellon). Even though D3 there and athletes there are very close to "normal" student, they have the admissions office working very closely with them. for those in the UAA conference (Wash U. , Carnegie mellon, U. of chicago you know what I'm talking about). The coach said admissions office told him that recommended not required was strictly for poor/disadvantaged back ground kids and that our kid had to take them (despite 99%tile ACT) and offered spot with full sport after getting SAT subject tests done.

    Subject tests recommended but not required means different things for different applicants. Harvard can't legally defend letting athletes skip subject tests, but mandating everyone else takes them.

    Also , SAT2 subject tests are basically not reported anywhere by school nor are they used in USNWR rankings so the theory they are to accept rich kids with poor SAT2 scores makes no sense.
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