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Disadvantage if I don't send SAT II Scores?

latierelatiere Registered User Posts: 99 Junior Member
Hi guys,

My stats (34 ACT, 1st rank at large public school and 3.9 GPA... with the other basic stuff) match for the most part for top tier dream schools... But my worry is that I won’t be able to send my SAT II scores. The reason being, my high school is moderately competitive in the sense that people compete to take classes and such. But, nobody knows about the subject tests, and I recently only found out as a current senior THIS november. I hastily signed up for the December exam for Math 2 and Biology M, and frankly, really disappointed... 710 and 690 respectively. I thought I did better, but there was a time crunch and I had limited time to really study for them. I think these scores are extremely subpar for where I may apply and think they’d be better off not being mentioned. Would this be a major disadvantage? I’m really concerned.


Replies to: Disadvantage if I don't send SAT II Scores?

  • Bobs274Bobs274 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    I'm essentially in the same boat with the same circumstances as you except my scores are significantly worse LOL. I got deferred SCEA from Harvard and I can't stop thinking it was because i did not send my subject test scores even though it probably wasn't. I hope someone answers this question
  • latierelatiere Registered User Posts: 99 Junior Member
    Right? I hate to bring this back but I’m pretty much extremely desperate to know, it’s making me really anxious as of late.
  • ninakatarinaninakatarina Registered User Posts: 1,427 Senior Member
    edited December 2018
    I went to a presentation earlier this fall by admissions officers from Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Wellesley and UVA. A student asked about subject tests - I think his exact question was, "does 'recommended' for subject tests really mean 'required'"?

    The lady from Harvard said that for them 'recommended' meant 'required unless you have a good reason not to take them'.

    The reps from Princeton and Yale disagreed. The way they put it was, while a good subject test was a checkmark in the plus column for academic potential, the lack of subject tests didn't count as a minus. If you have other items on your application that showcase academic potential (good GPA, other standardized tests, glowing letters of recommendation) lack of subject tests would not doom a candidate.

    UVA and Wellesley agreed with Princeton and Yale.

    My son didn't take the subject tests at all. He was Done with standardized testing, he didn't think that the miniscule boost to his application was worth the stress and cost of taking more tests. He was deferred from Yale in the early round, so who knows if he had taken the tests whether that would have pushed him further. FWIW, a girl in his class who also didn't take subject tests was admitted early to Princeton.

    If you were my kid I would counsel you to send those subject tests to Harvard but not bother with sending them to Yale or Princeton. I don't have advice on any other top schools, I'm sorry.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 30,654 Senior Member
    A minus may not be noted. But you'd face the lack of the check. Dont miss that the competition will be supplying all the colleges ask for, and then some.

    OP, when you want a tippy top, it helps to read all they say.
  • Jleto18Jleto18 Registered User Posts: 219 Junior Member
    However, would sending bad scores be better than sending no scores at all? If yes, then I'd say send them. To be honest, I don't know the answer, and I am in the same boat as you (700 and 680). I did not send them to my EA schools, but, then again, I did get rejected and deferred from them (except UGA and GT, although GT hasn't posted them yet).
  • sherpasherpa Registered User Posts: 4,677 Senior Member
    Better to send a 700 than have them assume you're withholding a 600.
  • Jleto18Jleto18 Registered User Posts: 219 Junior Member
    @sherpa But how would the college know if you are withholding a 600 or lower score? If you don't send in the Subject tests, how do they know you even took them? Is it better to send poor scores vs have them assume you didn't take them at all? I am in the same situation as OP.
  • sherpasherpa Registered User Posts: 4,677 Senior Member
    @Jleto18 - They won't know, but it would be reasonable for them to assume that you took them and are hiding your scores.
  • homerdoghomerdog Registered User Posts: 3,535 Senior Member
    edited December 2018
    That’s not true. I’ve heard a number of AOs say they never assume anything about something that is NOT on the app. They won’t assume you took SAT 2s and did poorly if you do not submit. I’ve also been told not to submit SAT 2 scores that don’t jive with your SAT scores. So, if your SAT sections are in the mid-700s, don’t send SAT 2 scores that are lower. This all being said, if an AO has said that recommended really means required for kids who have access to SAT 2s, then one needs to send them. If they aren’t high enough, they may hurt the app.

    FYI, Dartmouth AO told a hotel ballroom full of students that SAT 2s are really just recommended as another checkpoint and absolutely not required no matter what kind of neighborhood you’re in (read - kids in strong school districts with great schools can still get in without them). We were given the advice to send official AP scores since S19 had all 5s and he’s not sending SAT 2s. He only took one SAT 2, did fine but not great because he has very little to no extra time to study for them. Dartmouth was his only school who had them on their app at all. We didn’t see enough reason for him to stress more about standardized tests. And I am not sure why a school would care about a Math 2 exam that tests pre-calc when a student got a 5 on the BC Calc exam as a junior. Or why they’d want a SAT 2 History score that tests random facts when a student received a 5 on the APUSH exam.

    If a school requires SAT 2s or recommends them for kids who know about the tests and can afford them, then kids need to study and do well and send them. There aren’t many schools out there anymore where that’s a hard and fast rule.
  • sherpasherpa Registered User Posts: 4,677 Senior Member
    edited December 2018
    Colleges that "recommend" subject tests expect that most applicants will submit them, with the exception being students for whom the cost might be an issue. It would be rational for them to assume that upper middle class kids who don't submit scores are holding back because their scores are disappointing.

    To put it another way, when they say "we won't hold it against you if you don't submit, but it's a plus if you submit good scores", you can be sure that those with a "plus" on their profile will have better chances than those without one.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 30,654 Senior Member
    edited December 2018
    @homerdog They don't assume assets you don't show. They don't assume about distractions, that you'll do better in college than hs or be more engaged or your potential, just because. That's different.

    And you compete with kids who present the full array and did well on everything. A lot of how a kid presents represents his thinking (thus, choices through high school and in the app package, including it all, down to which teachers for LoRs.)

    No one wants to be they kid they react to as, "Too bad we don't have the xxx." The competition is that fierce.

    @Jleto18 , your issue is the 700/680. The impact depends on how vital that subject is to your proposed major. These are so close, I'd think about sending them, not leaving an incomplete picture.

  • Jleto18Jleto18 Registered User Posts: 219 Junior Member
    @lookingforward I've put Economics/English as my first and second choices at the schools that ask. The 700 is Math 2, and the 680 is Literature, so I'd think they are somewhat vital. If it matters, I did get a 5 on AP Lang, and my ACT is 35 English with 34 Reading. I just don't want them to look at my SAT 2s and think that my other testing was a fluke or something.
  • homerdoghomerdog Registered User Posts: 3,535 Senior Member
    @lookingforward I agree with you. All I am saying is, if the school really requires it (no matter how they word it), then you have to send. It's required. If the scores aren't great, you still send. For the Harvards of the world, the kids are competing against kids who sent great SAT2 scores. If theirs aren't great then that's one spot where they don't shine. So, study and get a great score if you have to send. If it's too late, then send and hope that the rest of your app has something shinier than all of the other kids sending outstanding SAT2s. Nothing you can do about it now.
  • homerdoghomerdog Registered User Posts: 3,535 Senior Member
    @sherpa We know two kids who got into Dartmouth with no SAT2s and they didn't have hooks. So, at least for that school, even though they say they are "recommended", they are not required.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 30,654 Senior Member
    No, they may think the 680 is the fluke. This falls into the arena of "we don't know." A lot will depend on the strengths in the rest of your app/supp, including ECs, the quality of thinking you show, and LoRs. Make your best decision.
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