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Disadvantage if I don't send SAT II Scores?

latierelatiere 84 replies15 threadsRegistered User 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.

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

  • Bobs274Bobs274 1 replies0 threadsRegistered User 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
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  • latierelatiere 84 replies15 threadsRegistered User 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.
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  • ninakatarinaninakatarina 1600 replies44 threadsRegistered User 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.
    edited December 2018
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34123 replies377 threadsRegistered User 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.
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  • Jleto18Jleto18 231 replies85 threadsRegistered User 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).
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  • sherpasherpa 4730 replies93 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Better to send a 700 than have them assume you're withholding a 600.
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  • Jleto18Jleto18 231 replies85 threadsRegistered User 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.
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  • sherpasherpa 4730 replies93 threadsRegistered User 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.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 5057 replies93 threadsRegistered User 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.
    edited December 2018
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  • sherpasherpa 4730 replies93 threadsRegistered User 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.
    edited December 2018
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34123 replies377 threadsRegistered User 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.

    edited December 2018
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  • Jleto18Jleto18 231 replies85 threadsRegistered User 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.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 5057 replies93 threadsRegistered User 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.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 5057 replies93 threadsRegistered User 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.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34123 replies377 threadsRegistered User 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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  • Jleto18Jleto18 231 replies85 threadsRegistered User Member
    My friend got into Penn ED with no SAT 2s. He was hooked (URM), but he has lower testing and GPA than me. His essays were pretty good (I helped edit them), though. That's the reason why I'm on the ropes about sending my sub-par SAT 2 scores. If he got in without them, then why should I send in scores lower than my other testing? I don't really know exactly what I should send or not.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34123 replies377 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Getting into a tippy top does require the whole pic the college wants. When we know someone who succeeded without all scores submitted, there must have been plenty in the rest of the app that triumphed. That's the tricky part, knowing what that "all the rest" is.

    I think it helps to realize this "not required" is a new trend, maybe pushed by recognition not all applicants can take enough tests, pick their best. Not all hs have the same savvy. But when aiming high, "not required" doesn't mean, "We won't be looking for it."

    The only time it would truly not matter one whit is if a college does not download that section at all. And we can't know which schools those are.
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  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia 3446 replies23 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited December 2018
    @latiere Rule of thumb I have seen on this site is that subject tests in the 700-750 range neither hurt you nor harm you, 750+ you don't need to retake (unless Math II for MIT or Caltech or you are applying to other very competitive CS or Engineering programs), and below 700 becomes a gray area which varies according to which subject it is. For example, if you look at the percentiles, your sub 700 Lit score may be better than your Math II (where historically it's not uncommon for 15-20% of test takers to score a perfect 800).

    https://secure-media.collegeboard.org/sat/pdf/sat-subject-tests-percentile-ranks.pdf




    edited December 2018
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  • MWolfMWolf 1475 replies9 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    From what I have understood, some colleges moved SAT II to "recommended" so that kids for whom the cost was a problem could be considered without having done the extra tests, but if you could afford them, the "recommended meant "required". I may be wrong, though, so take this with some crystals of sodium chloride.

    On the other hand "will be considered" does mean "not required at all".
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  • rmsdadrmsdad 101 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited April 25
    One anecdotal story. My D19 took two SAT IIs in October but didn't have time to study for them due to a heavy AP class load. They came back low

    All her summer study time went into SAT study. But her SATs weren't Ivy level (25% percentile for Ivies) and so when the December SAT came around, she took one last shot at the SAT instead of cramming for the SAT II thinking a better SAT was worth more than a better SAT II.

    The only Ivy which required SAT II was Cornell (CAS). We didn't send them to any other Ivy.

    The gamble worked. She scored 100 points higher on her SAT and got into Dartmouth. Cornell rejected (even with Legacy) as well as all the other Ivies except a waitlist at UPenn.

    She didn't have any hooks for admissions. There are clearly other factors and no SAT II was not a deal breaker for us - at least at Dartmouth..
    edited April 25
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