right arrow
GUEST STUDENT OF THE WEEK: ski_racer, a high-achiever in high school, was rejected by some of the elite schools she applied to. This rejection was the best thing that happened to her as she got to choose her own path. Learn how she fell in love with her safety school, ASK HER ANYTHING!
Make sure to check out our August Checklist for HS Seniors. Consult these quick resources to get you started on the process this month.
As we work to adjust to the current reality, make sure to check out these dedicated COVID-19 resources: our directory of virtual campus tours, our directory of extended deadlines, as well as the list of schools going test optional this fall.

SAT submission guidance to the schools that are Test optional

vittalavittala 29 replies7 threads Junior Member
My daughter is planning to apply for the colleges in Fall 2020. Is it a good idea to submit the SAT score to a TO colleges that is in the 40% - 50% of the accepted students. I know that college admission is hollistic that depends on many factors other than just test scores. Here we are seeking guidance only on submitting a SAT score under specific condition.
13 replies
· Reply · Share

Replies to: SAT submission guidance to the schools that are Test optional

  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 3501 replies80 threads Senior Member
    One guideline suggests that you submit the score if it is in the top 50% of scores for that college, as found on that college's Common Data Set.
    · Reply · Share
  • evergreen5evergreen5 2061 replies38 threads Senior Member
    edited July 4
    Doesn't the answer depend on the student's GPA as well? And maybe the college's familiarity with the high school (possibly inferred from recent acceptances as indicated in Naviance)?

    Here's what doesn't make sense to me about the standard advice to submit only if the score is in the top half of the enrolled class. It's not as though scores at the 40th percentile of enrolled students (if we can even determine what that is) demonstrate that the student is unfit for the college. Is it not possible that a score at the 40th percentile still adds value to the app as a whole, as an assurance that the school may be an academic fit?

    And if we want to be precise, how is the 50th percentile best calculated? The midpoint between the 25th and 75th composites (if reported in the 2019-20 Common Data Set, section C9)? Or by adding the 25th and 75th percentile section score numbers, averaging, and then adding those? They will likely be close, but not necessarily the same number.

    An unrelated angle: I can see why the college would want applicants to do this, as it would raise the college's reported score range, but if all applicants followed the advice to only submit over the 50th percentile, reported score ranges for college class of 2025 might turn out to be insanely wacky and not representative of the enrolled class, with a reported 25th percentile somewhere in between the previous year's 50th and 75th percentiles. Plus, wouldn't colleges fall below the 75 percent score submission for including scores in the US News ranking (unless they require scores after admission, for enrollment)?
    edited July 4
    · Reply · Share
  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 3501 replies80 threads Senior Member
    The students in the lower 50% of test scores are commonly considered to be a collection of student athletes, URMs, children of alumni and/or major donors, and otherwise hooked and/or full pay students. Does that mean everyone in that bottom 50% fits one of those categories? No. We're just talking in terms of increasing one's odds, though. The guideline - and it is just a guideline - to submit if your scores are in the top 50% is mainly targeted to the unhooked applicant, especially one in need of financial aid.
    · Reply · Share
  • evergreen5evergreen5 2061 replies38 threads Senior Member
    I recall reading the rule of thumb that under a threshold, the enrolled students are mostly hooked, but my recollection was that this referred to the 25th percentile. Only this year does it seem like folks are referring to the 50th.
    · Reply · Share
  • happy1happy1 24159 replies2424 threads Super Moderator
    I've heard a number of admissions officers (over a number of years) from test optional colleges suggest that applicants send standardized test scores ONLY if they are at or above the school's average (50th percentile) so I'd follow that rule of thumb.
    · Reply · Share
  • vittalavittala 29 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Thank you all for your valuable insight. Is there any advantage this year in submitting SAT score even if it is less than 50th percentile as many are not able to take SAT multiple times to improve upon or to have super score? Now I will put forth direct question. My D has SAT score of 1520 (790 Math, 730 R/W) in single attempt. Is there any top 20 ranked schools where she can send her SAT without any hesitation. She has a pefect GPA with academic rigor. And her ECs are comparatively good. She is planning to apply to lots of safety schools. Worry is her school naviance depicting her SAT as way below the averages for most of the elite schools.
    · Reply · Share
  • evergreen5evergreen5 2061 replies38 threads Senior Member
    edited July 4
    vittala wrote: »
    Worry is her school naviance depicting her SAT as way below the averages for most of the elite schools.
    Not all colleges posted their SAT composite middle 50 percentiles in the 2019-2020 Common Data Set (which has admission data for the enrolled class of 2023), but some did:

    Yale 1470-1560
    Stanford 1440-1550
    Northwestern 1450-1540
    Caltech 1530-1570
    Dartmouth 1450-1550
    Brown 1440-1550
    Vandy 1460-1560
    Rice 1470-1560
    WashU 1480-1560

    Naviance is wacky for data. 1520 appears at or above average for everywhere but Caltech (which is test blind this fall anyway).
    edited July 4
    · Reply · Share
  • RichInPittRichInPitt 2442 replies39 threads Senior Member
    1520 is below the average of the 25th and 75th percentile for Caltech and MIT. Depending on whether you’re using the latest CDS from schools or the latest 2018 IPEDS data, it’s at or just below (1525] at Harvey Mudd and Chicago.

    1520 is at or above this midpoint everywhere else (among the top 50 schools I have researched).

    There’s a theoretical view that these numbers may slightly decline due to students taking the SAT fewer times, but I wouldn’t count on it,
    · Reply · Share
  • vittalavittala 29 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Now the problem is that her dream school is MIT. She is planning on EA to MIT. But her SAT scores are not in the encouraging range. Of course, other part of the application is equally important. Since the question is confined to the SAT submission, other part of the application is not discussed here. It has become precarious situation as to submit the SAT as it is or should she take the SAT second time. Problem is that she is neither getting test center nor test date favorably in this COVID situation. Is that a good move to go for EA to MIT with TO?
    · Reply · Share
  • vittalavittala 29 replies7 threads Junior Member
    I am thankful to all your advises. I really appreciate it as it helps us to arrive at sensible consensus while applying.
    · Reply · Share
  • Zinnia203Zinnia203 64 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @vittala I think MIT is one of the few schools that has not gone TO. Test blind for SAT subject tests, but I believe the others are still required?
    · Reply · Share
  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 3501 replies80 threads Senior Member
    vittala wrote: »
    Now the problem is that her dream school is MIT.... Is that a good move to go for EA to MIT with TO?

    I believe MIT is still requiring the SAT or ACT. They eliminated the SAT Subject Test requirements, and they were one of the last to require those.

    Then again, things can turn on a dime these days.
    · Reply · Share
  • vittalavittala 29 replies7 threads Junior Member
    @Zinnia203 Thanks for letting us know. Its our bad that we misread their website completely. Yes, they are test blind for SAT subject tests.
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity