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Retake? and general advice for Jr

MomOFourMomOFour 522 replies16 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 538 Member
edited December 2007 in Parents Forum
My junior daughter did well on the November SAT (690CR, 780M, 760W 11 essay). This was with zero prep, other than whatever her brain absorbed from across the room osmosis from uncracked SAT prep books. She came out of the test quite upbeat, theorizing that the only SAT prep is taking the actual test, that if you're a high-scoring kid, much comes down to luck. She got an essay prompt she could run with, she felt good physically, her brain was free of the fuzzies. Two weeks prior she had taken the PSAT and felt she had not done well, that she just couldn't get one of the CR passages, as if her brain wasn't working. If her writing and CR were reversed I would say it was a no-brainer to sit tight on her scores.

She's looking to major in math at a LAC. How important is it to get that CR over 700? She has no issues with taking it again, but will it look bad if her higher scores drop? It seems just as likely that they could be lower. Honestly, I can't see her prepping, and I'm doubtful that a prep course would make a difference.

She's an all-around great kid, no big awards, from a mediocre, off the radar high school in a low income zip code. She's taking the most difficult course load offered but it's nothing like what the suburban schools offer. She's an athlete, not going to be a recruit, but could fill out a less competitive team. Right now she's talking about Grinnell, Carleton, Macalester. She'd like out of the northeast. She'll need either merit aid or a favorable interpretation of our need. We can afford what the calculators say is our EFC but I'm not so sure everything is as straightforward as the calculators indicate.

Any suggestions on safeties? Math, out of the northeast LACs, with boys and either merit or 100% of need.
edited December 2007
33 replies
Post edited by MomOFour on
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Replies to: Retake? and general advice for Jr

  • corrangedcorranged 6602 replies82 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,684 Senior Member
    I think she's in great shape with those scores. If you're serious about looking into merit aid, check out requirements and make sure she isn't missing any SAT cut-offs that would get her a good chance at merit aid or automatic merit aid. I think she's great, though.

    Maybe check out Lawrence for a safety in MN. Small, liberal-artsy, and cold, which are the common threads I'm seeing in your daughter's list!
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  • tom1944tom1944 5820 replies198 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,018 Senior Member
    Lawrence is in Appleton Wisc.
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  • corrangedcorranged 6602 replies82 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,684 Senior Member
    Oh, of course. Thanks for correcting me, Tom. I always get Minnesota and Wisconsin confused, for reasons I've never been able to figure out.
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  • bethievtbethievt 6591 replies168 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,759 Senior Member
    My son applied to all of the schools on your Ds list, and his "safeties" were Lewis & Clark and Goucher. Another we looked at and liked a lot was Beloit. Any of these, as well as Lawrence, would be safeties for your D, are very good schools and would probably offer her some merit $$. My son is at Grinnell and loves it; I think he'd be happy at any of the schools he applied to.

    I should add, she might get merit $$ from Grinnell too, but I don't know how they factor that into a total package with need-based aid.
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  • jazzymomjazzymom 3601 replies75 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,676 Senior Member
    She might get merit aid at Denison U or Kenyon in Ohio, since her scores put her in the top 25 percent. If she wants to keep going to an even bigger change in climate, she could check out Occidental in L.A. Occidental College :: Home Page ....Interesting location and some wonderful programs.
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  • ohio_momohio_mom 4029 replies16 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,045 Senior Member
    Take a look at Harvey Mudd (I know, awful name) and Pomona in CA.

    The retake is probably optional. I would advise her to take any needed SAT II's, send scores to colleges of interest, then take the SAT in late fall as a senior - send scores to no colleges (only send later if results are good). This way, she gets another year for CR to go up, and NO pressure since good scores are already in.
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  • corrangedcorranged 6602 replies82 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,684 Senior Member
    Not a safety, and not an LAC, but she may be interested in the University of Chicago. Many U of C students also consider Carleton and, to a lesser extent, Macalester, so it may be worth checking out. The campus is a little removed from the city, and the house system on campus makes it a more intimate environment than some universities. There are about 4,500 undergrads. You take lots of small, discussion-based courses. Anyway, if she's interested in maybe branching out from LACs, give it a look. (And I go there, so I like to suggest it. :))
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  • MarianMarian 13163 replies83 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13,246 Senior Member
    Your daughter's theory that taking the test is the only real prep may be correct.

    My daughter took it twice. Got a 690 CR the first time, 800 CR the second. Minimal prep in between, and minimal change in the other scores (identical math, 10 point loss writing).

    Your mileage may vary.
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  • kenf1234kenf1234 1851 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,865 Senior Member
    Her high school may not be challenging her with hard enough texts to read. If she were to spend the next year or so reading more challenging texts, I bet she could bring up her CR score, and that could help in getting merit scholarships and getting into schools with generous financial aid. I'm not suggesting studying, just reading some fiction and non-fiction with harder vocabulary, which of course would be excellent preparation for college as well.

    Regardless, she should retake next fall, she has a decent chance of getting a higher score, a year of maturity alone will help, and if she got a lower score, that wouldn't hurt her in the slightest.
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  • MomOFourMomOFour 522 replies16 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 538 Member
    I guess I'm a little unsure about how her high school will be viewed. The average CR+M for her school is less than 900. A significant number of kids can't pass the state mandated tests. Yet there is a small pool of high achieving kids and the school does try to meet their needs with small honors classes and a couple of APs. She's had some wonderful teachers and loves the class discussion element in these classes, thus the desire for LACs over larger universities. I'm just afraid those classes and other smart kids aren't reflected in the average SAT scores and state test stats on the HS profile. The guidance department is woeful so I'm not counting on them for any help in this process.
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  • pinkiwipinkiwi 40 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 43 Junior Member
    I'd suggest taking the ACT. Several of my friends, who are self-professed "math people", liked the math portion better on the ACT, and found the Reading & English sections easier than the CR portion of the SAT.
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  • kenf1234kenf1234 1851 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,865 Senior Member
    That's one of the best things about the SAT, to showcase a star like your daughter even if she didn't get to go to the fanciest high school. If anything it makes her look even better that she went to a low-profile high school and still got such a high score.
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  • ellemenopeellemenope 11344 replies36 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 11,380 Senior Member
    I would take the SAT again, not necessarily for admissions purposes but for scholarship purposes. For example, back in the day when D was applying, the top scholarship at Harvey Mudd required SAT scores above 750 in the sub-categories.
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  • bethievtbethievt 6591 replies168 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,759 Senior Member
    I agree if retesting, go ACT , not SAT. The CR will probably be higher.
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  • momrathmomrath 5937 replies39 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,976 Senior Member
    Mom, your daughter appears to be well positioned to go after the colleges on her list. I'd agree that Kenyon would be a good addition to the mix.

    Her SAT scores are good enough to be left alone, but if there's a nagging concern on her part -- or on your part -- that she could bring up that CR score, then she should go ahead and retake! My son did no prep but his scores increased dramatically, just by virtue, I think, of familarity with the test and the process.
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