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Subject SATs or Not?

NuancedNimbusNuancedNimbus 12 replies4 threads Junior Member
So Harvard recommends the subject sats (SAT IIs) unless there is a financial barrier, but I don't know if I should submit mine. My relevant stats are the following:

SAT II Biology E: 700
SAT II Math 2: 730

SAT: 1590 (790 reading/verbal, 800 math)

I feel as if the SAT IIs would detract from my overall portfolio, and my only hesitation is that Harvard highly recommends sending them.

Do you think submitting these SAT IIs would make a big difference, or should I withhold the scores?
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Replies to: Subject SATs or Not?

  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2649 replies55 threads Senior Member
    Are there hints of a "financial barrier" on your application? Did both of your parents attend college? Is your high school private, or one that would be recognized by even semi-experienced AOs? Are you submitting a large number of AP scores? Does your essay refer to world travel or does it talk about working at McDonalds/babysitting your younger brother all summer? Do you play hockey, or participate in some other expensive sport?

    Any whiff of being middle class or higher, and you probably should submit subject scores. Are you applying for this fall? Do you have time to retake them?
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  • NuancedNimbusNuancedNimbus 12 replies4 threads Junior Member
    edited January 9
    I have applied through CommonApp for the Fall of 2020.
    Well, there are hints about the medical expenses for the surgical removal of my dad's brain tumor. But overall, my family has an income of 150k/year, so I would say the financial barrier would not apply.
    My highschool is public, but it is a top-ranked school in my state (FL), and I am part of the IB program.
    I only have two 5s on the AP Exams, but I have taken more AP courses, so I don't know if I should just put two because then they can infer that the other ones weren't as good. My essays refer to music and dance.
    Sports-wise, I play varsity tennis for my school and do taekwondo (where I am currently a black belt).

    I am part of the middle class. I don't have time to retake, so these are final.

    I guess the main dilemma is that I don't think the SAT IIs will add to my overall application, and even is Harvard thinks that I just didn't submit my scores, they will expect a 750 or something as I got 1590 on the SAT. And that's why I'm uncertain about what I should do.
    edited January 9
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  • PuppyMPuppyM 32 replies1 threads Junior Member
    For what it's worth, a well known and respected college admissions counselor who run$ a private Facebook group advises to never send anything under a 750 subject test to an elite school. This same counselor also advises that many elite schools are being less demanding of subject tests than a few years ago.
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  • NuancedNimbusNuancedNimbus 12 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Ok thank you!
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  • LookAtMyShoesLookAtMyShoes 18 replies10 threads Junior Member
    I have to disagree. I would send the scores. The school specifically states that SAT IIs are recommended. I'd do it just to check the box. 700+ is fine. They won't nix you for those scores. If you don't get in it'll be something else. If you had a 580 or 620 I'd think differently. Not sending them is one less data point in your favor. Sending them is a neutral data point that confirms you're a strong student. Maybe those weren't your best pieces of data but they are good enough. My 2 cents anyway. Good luck
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  • Muko1212Muko1212 19 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Subject tests are really important especially for an international student
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  • NuancedNimbusNuancedNimbus 12 replies4 threads Junior Member
    I am worried mainly because the average score for my SAT is 795 for each section. If I give my SAT IIs, they are both below this average at 700 and 730. Wouldn't this harm my score at least a little? If I don't submit it, they may assume that I scored at least a 740 or 750 on it instead of knowing that I scored a 700 and a 730.
    I also am not an international student, so I feel as if this may be something that may slide.
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