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How much do colleges care about you SAT scores if you're going to be a music major?

Michael D.Michael D. Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
edited July 2009 in Music Major
I got a 1720 on the June SAT. The title of my post pretty much says it all. What do you think?
Post edited by Michael D. on

Replies to: How much do colleges care about you SAT scores if you're going to be a music major?

  • violadadvioladad Registered User Posts: 6,645 Senior Member
    For conservatories, scores and grades won't matter.

    For other programs within a college or university, there is a minimum academic threshold even for music majors that is stated, but there may be some wiggle room for a student with a great audition.

    A few programs pretty much adhere to the academic threshold, even for those with a great audition. Rice/Shepherd and Northwestern as examples come to mind here.

    The audition or portfolio submission in the case of composition applicants is the primary decider, but for music ed and the music academic disciplines of history, theory, musicology the academic stats play a fairly significant role as well.

    Those are the guidelines, they are general rules and not cast in stone. If you are looking at colleges where academic and audition based criteria are used, it's smart to be within the range of the admission stats the specific program cites.
  • OperaDadOperaDad Registered User Posts: 2,476 Senior Member
    For many schools, you have to be accepted by the Music Department AND the regular admissions process. For people who have been accepted by the Music Department, before the school rejects someone, they will usually notify the Music Department first. That gives the Music Department the opportunity to request special consideration. If you are marginal (and the music department wants you), then that will be all it takes. If you are below the school's standards with no other special circumstances, it will be tough.
  • KeyofHKeyofH Registered User Posts: 232 Junior Member
    Hi Michael D: Here's my suggestion -- call each of the music schools in which you are interested and ask them what their minimal SAT score requirements are. Then ask them what the average SAT scores are? When I called two year ago, most of the schools told me that all that was needed was an 1100 on the math and reading test together. It looks like, with the writing test, you would probably meet current minimal standards at many schools (i.e. 550 x 3 = 1650). Also if you are a rising senior, you still have time to get your scores up by taking some high-powered tutoring. It doesn't work for everything, but it does work for some. By getting your scores higher, you make yourself more eligible for more scholarship money. Ultimately, everything depends on the school. If you have some schools in mind, why don't you post them on this thread and some of the posters here may be able to provide you with more specific comments. And re conservatories, ViolaDad is probably right in almost all cases. McGill University's Schulich School of music, for example, didn't even require the submission of SAT scores by American students this past year.
  • Mezzo'sMamaMezzo'sMama Forum Champion Music Major Posts: 3,556 Forum Champion
    I have to disagree about conservatories not looking at grades or test scores (sorry, vdad!)- and a good many of them do require test scores (even Curtis requires SATs!). OperaDad is right about some schools requiring you to be admitted to both the college and the Music Dept, but you may find that the "requirements" for music students are somewhat lower, or at least more "elastic" than for those seeking an academic major. Having time on my hands during one of D's auditions at a conservatory, I found myself talking to the Asst.Director of Admissions, and was told, and I quote, "When we are left trying to choose between two students who are mostly equal in performance levels, we then turn to grades and/or test scores and use those to factor into the selection process". How much weight those carry and which schools count what is an open question.It wouldn't hurt to call and ask questions or to inquire when you are visiting.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 9,849 Senior Member
    I thought the poster was asking about admission to a college, not a music school or conservatory. When our kids applied to college, the only way the music department got involved was if we sent a supplement in, meaning a tape and maybe a music teacher recommendation, and we were not even sure who saw or heard those (whether just admissions or if they made their way to the music department). At colleges, we were not directly aware of any involvement by the music department in admissions. It was just like any other possible major, like anthropology or English. And at most colleges, you don't declare a major at first anyway, so that was another reason the department did not seem to get involved.

    I would think that SAT's would be fairly important at any college that requires them, regardless of whether the poster wants to study music. But submitting a great CD or recommendation from a music teacher would certainly help make up for scores that weren't stellar.
  • Singersmom07Singersmom07 Registered User Posts: 4,068 Senior Member
    Friend's DS was accepted and music department really wanted him at the State U. However, his grades and SATs were not at U acceptance level so no matter how much they wanted him he was not accepted. They weren't bad BTW, just there was NO break for music majors.

    So a music major at a regular college admission, even one with auditions, can be held to the same standard as other admits. This varies so much by school that there is no single answer. You have to know what the schools you are interested in do with scores vs auditions for admission decisions. Do note though, that even if scores do not factor as heavily in admissions, they can be significant for merit scholarships.
  • jazzzmommjazzzmomm Registered User Posts: 545 Member
    I think SAT's do count for just the reason MezzoMom indicated. My son was waitlisted at Purchase and they strongly hinted that would happen because of his SAT scores. We know they wanted him musically because they told him how much they wanted to see what he could "do there". They did take him within days of the wait list notification however.

    I am not a fan of using standardized tests to judge a young person, and I know I am not alone. They test a couple of narrow types of intelligences and musical intelligence is another thing entirely. I think it's a good trend that the list of schools making SAT's optional is growing. Some day I'd like to see ALL standardized tests eliminated from elementary school on up.
  • VicAriaVicAria Registered User Posts: 295 Junior Member
    There can be a lot of give-and-take between a college's general school admissions, and music school admissions. Anything you can offer to give yourself a leg up only helps. We have toured several colleges, making clear our music orientation, and the issue of SATs has come up in varying degrees -- some places not at all, in other places, it's quite important. I could be wrong, but my sense is that more than one college we've looked at use the high SATs and academic stats of their music students to make it seem as though their geenral college is more competitive than it really is. I think Mezzomama's comment reflected real-world admissions.

    What colleges, specifically, are you looking for? If it's of the caliber of Oberlin, say, I think you will have problems. If you have your heart set on a place that will be a stretch for you, start now, trying to make relationships with admissions, key faculty, etc. That might help.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 72,171 Senior Member
    It depends on the college. Some schools (like UMich) require that you are academically accepted BEFORE they will even schedule your audition. At schools like Northwestern, you must also be academically accepted to the university, in addition to being accepted by the music department.

    Conservatory cutoffs for the SATs is VERY low if they even require the SATs at all. When my son applied, the cutoff for some of the conservatory programs was below 1000 (for Math/CR).

    But for a school like Boston University or Northwestern, your SATs will have to be "in the ballpark" for academic admissions.
  • Michael D.Michael D. Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    My Choices are:
    George Mason (maybe)
    Marshall (WV)
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 72,171 Senior Member
    U of Maryland College Park? Are you planning to major in trumpet performance? If so, they usually have one or maybe two openings in that trumpet studio taught by Chris Gekker (an outstanding teacher). My son's combined CR/Math Sat was 1320 (720 CR/600 math) and he did NOT get accepted to UMDCP when he applied. We thought it was odd...but he didn't.
  • KeyofHKeyofH Registered User Posts: 232 Junior Member
    thumper1: University of Maryland threw some curves this year, at least from my limited anecdotal experience. My daughter was accepted into the University, the music school and into the scholars programs We know of people who had higher SAT scores and grade point averages who were not accepted into the university. That being the case, I attribute her success to either the essays, particularly the essay questions about conducting multiplidisciplinary research, and to ec's. Maryland appeared to be positioning itself (at least from what we saw on its web site) as wanting a "different kind of student."
  • sopranomom92sopranomom92 Registered User Posts: 1,339 Senior Member
    Question about SAT score: Many posters have referred to just the CR/Math score, without referencing the writing. Is this because most of the schools are more interested in that combo, rather than the entire total? Just curious, because my D's total score is quite good--but her writing section is 70 points higher than the other two. I hate to have her take the time to retake the SAT, but her CR/Math score alone is not nearly as impressive as the total. What has been your experience?
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 72,171 Senior Member
    KeyofH...isn't your daughter a music ed/performance major? UMDCP has far more openings for students in music education than in performance only.
  • stradmomstradmom Registered User Posts: 4,869 Senior Member
    sopranomom: My D has a similar score ratio, and we've been disappointed to hear a number of schools on recent visits say that they don't look at the writing score.
This discussion has been closed.