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Low SAT/ACT and accepted into T20 - T30 colleges

deacxxdeacxx 20 replies6 threads Junior Member
Has anyone (or anyone you know) gotten a low SAT/ACT score (relative to the college) but ended up being accepted anyways? If so, please share your experiences and the college/score !
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Replies to: Low SAT/ACT and accepted into T20 - T30 colleges

  • 1NJParent1NJParent 1449 replies35 threads Senior Member
    Are your parents big donors to any of these colleges? Are you a URM, an athletic recruit, or someone who has made a name for yourself (like David Hogg)?
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  • deacxxdeacxx 20 replies6 threads Junior Member
    @1NJParent I would say i'm "spiked" in more ways than i'm not, however i'm interested to see if anyone (spiked or not) has experience getting into higher ranked schools with lower scores, and why they think that they did.
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  • milgymfammilgymfam 906 replies15 threads Member
    Do you just mean below their specific 25% score? If so, my D19 was accepted into a top 20 LAC without being in their 25th percentile for scores.
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  • deacxxdeacxx 20 replies6 threads Junior Member
    @milgymfam yes, a score below the 25th percentile. I'm just trying to gauge what schools tend to be more forgiving when it comes to testing.

    Like for example, I know several people who were accepted into UNC Chapel Hill with SAT scores less than 1260 (their 25th percentile)
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  • milgymfammilgymfam 906 replies15 threads Member
    @deacxx, ok well my D’s SAT was a good bit lower than Haverford’s composite range, and her ACT slightly below. Her math scores, in particular, were much lower than their 25th percentiles.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2459 replies36 threads Senior Member
    edited October 18
    milgymfam wrote: »
    @deacxx, ok well my D’s SAT was a good bit lower than Haverford’s composite range, and her ACT slightly below. Her math scores, in particular, were much lower than their 25th percentiles.

    But wasn't your D matched thru Questbridge? That is considered a hook, OP is unhooked AFAIK
    edited October 18
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  • milgymfammilgymfam 906 replies15 threads Member
    Mwfan1921 wrote: »
    milgymfam wrote: »
    @deacxx, ok well my D’s SAT was a good bit lower than Haverford’s composite range, and her ACT slightly below. Her math scores, in particular, were much lower than their 25th percentiles.

    But wasn't your D matched thru Questbridge? That is considered a hook, OP is unhooked AFAIK
    Though a finalist, no she was not matched to any school through QB.
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  • wisteria100wisteria100 4219 replies47 threads Senior Member
    A couple years back I recall an International applicant who got accepted to Carelton with a 30 ACT
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 9011 replies335 threads Senior Member
    Are you still applying to Wake Forest, Duke, and Vanderbilt? How far below their 25th percentile are your scores? Is your GPA in range? I think students who get accepted despite lowish scores fill some other institutional need.
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  • deacxxdeacxx 20 replies6 threads Junior Member
    @austinmshauri yeah those 3 are on my list, as well as Davidson, Emory, and Chapel Hill (minus safeties).

    My SAT is right around the 25th percentile for Wake and UNC, but that's nowhere near the 25th for the other schools, so I was considering taking the ACT instead.

    - My GPA is a 4.0 uw (school doesn't weight)
    - Strong rigor
    - Impressive and uncommon ec's/awards
    - I would consider myself a pointed applicant (all aspects of my application relate back to my major of interest)
    - I have 3 "hooks" that are all present and a prominent part of my application

    My top choice aside from Vanderbilt and Duke would be Wake Forest. I had an hour long interview with an AO at Wake who said that they could definitely see me filling in a certain niche at that school (so I think all other aspects of my application would be well received) but I think it would be smartest to apply there test optional if my ACT score isn't better than my SAT ?
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  • Techno13Techno13 224 replies8 threads Junior Member
    3 hooks? Really? I've seen some students on here saying they are hooked and why, but they aren't. Maybe you are, but you should make sure if you are relying on that.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34507 replies383 threads Senior Member
    Make sure you understand what hooks really are.

    Too pointy or spikey, only ECs related to your hoped for major, can be risky. Think about what else, to show some rounding. Top schools like kids who can try other things, who "fit" with lots of types of peers, climb out of their own interest boxes, etc.

    Right now, with time flying, you don't need anecdotes. They express some score, but not the whole app, the real pull for that kid. You need to learn what makes you a match to what those schools look for. You choose your targets but *they* choose the class.

    Why not just tell us the scores- so we don't need to guess? And any AP scores.
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  • deacxxdeacxx 20 replies6 threads Junior Member
    @Techno13 I definitely don't have any plans to "rely" on them, and I personally don't believe that even the BEST of "hooks" can increase chances tremendously for most people with lower test scores (unless you're a David Hogg or a highly sought after athlete).

    Which is why I asked for insight on colleges that may look past lower test scores in the presence of an otherwise strong application (without hooks in consideration).
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  • Data10Data10 3048 replies8 threads Senior Member
    edited October 18
    Has anyone (or anyone you know) gotten a low SAT/ACT score (relative to the college) but ended up being accepted anyways?
    deacxx wrote: »
    My top choice aside from Vanderbilt and Duke would be Wake Forest.
    I assume you are aware that Wake Forest is test optional? A good portion of test optional admits have SAT scores below the 25th percentile at Wake Forest, as well as other test optional colleges.

    At non-test optional colleges colleges, obviously more than 25% of admits have scores below 25th percentile (more because of yield). The reasons for these lower score admissions vary, but involve doing well in admission criteria beyond just scores. This often involves hooks, but a good portion are often unhooked as well. It's difficult to generalize.
    edited October 18
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  • deacxxdeacxx 20 replies6 threads Junior Member
    @lookingforward I have no intention of sending my current SAT score to my reach colleges, which is why I gave a range instead of an exact score (I don't want people to "chance me" for vandy and duke based on that score because colleges won't even see it).

    The main purpose of this thread was more so for me to hear people's experiences with getting into colleges with scores below the 25th percentile. (To see what schools aren't as stat heavy, and hear what parts of their application they think outweighed their scores, which is why I offered a brief background.)

    After I take the ACT (which is the one I will submit) I will say the score so that if people want to offer insight on that, they can (but if I don't see an improvement, I most likely won't even apply to duke or vandy. I'll just apply test optional to wake and submit to my safeties)
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34507 replies383 threads Senior Member
    I'd guess no T20-30 colleges look past score unless they're test optional. But, that doesn't get anyone off the hook. You still need to match what they look for, in all other ways. The only Hail Mary is to nail the app and supp. To do that, you need to know what they do look for.

    Poor scores can suggest something distracted you from better. Risky.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34507 replies383 threads Senior Member
    Sorry, we x-posted.
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  • SJ2727SJ2727 1953 replies6 threads Senior Member
    Not to get too pedantic about it, but if the question is did anyone get in with a score below the 25th percentile, by definition the answer is yes, 25% of the pool did. Obviously the vast majority of those are hooked. Sometimes something shines through an unhooked applicant, but it’s not always obvious what that might be, and as already alluded to it’s likely to be the package deal - essays, recs, ECs etc. My daughter managed this last year (admission at the 25th percentile ACT of 30, unhooked) but right at the bottom end of the T30, so not as competitive as what you seem to be looking at.
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2350 replies44 threads Senior Member
    In one post OP mentions a spike. In another he mentions having three hooks. Unless he is confusing the two, something isn't adding up.
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  • deacxxdeacxx 20 replies6 threads Junior Member
    @SJ2727 yeah I understand that a good number of students have been accepted under the 25th percentile, I was just interested in hearing peoples' first hand experience with it and what they think made them a good candidate (for example if they did have a hook or hooks then what were they)

    and wake forest and unc are ranked 27th and 29th (so towards the end too) so i'd still be happy to hear. nothing is "not competitive enough" !
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