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Taking SAT/ACT sophmore year

oak2mapleoak2maple Registered User Posts: 127 Junior Member
If SAT/ACT is taken early (like in the fall of 10th grade year) in order to apply for a summer talent search program, will the results later be seen by colleges when you apply for college admission? If you have a bad day when you test in 10th grade or get a bad score, could it count against you later? If so, is it worth it to take the test early in order to attend a first choice and highly desirable summer program? Current school recommends PSAT in 10th grade as well as subject tests when you complete requirements for a course of study.

Replies to: Taking SAT/ACT sophmore year

  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 31,862 Senior Member
    A few top colleges require all scores, but most do not.
  • clo055clo055 Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    It depends on the college. Some will see every score you've received on your records, some will just see the best one. And some will take the best scores from different test dates while others will just take the best overall score on one test date. Try not to worry about it because in the end it won't matter when you get a really good score (a bad first score may even work for you by showing how you've improved)
    If it is for a summer program I'd say take it for sure! good luck
  • MamelotMamelot Registered User Posts: 2,116 Senior Member
    Colleges understand that kids take these tests a few times for various reasons. As long as the reasons are good you will probably be ok (be sure to explain this on your application as well). What ADCOMS don't like would be students to retake multiple times solely in order to improve a score (or superscore). Those kids are inappropriately focusing on the standardized test to the exclusion of aspects of their application. It doesn't show passion as much as obsession.

    Be conservative in the number of retakes and make each test count as best you can. Have a story for why you took each test. Those things will minimize the risk of a problematic application.
  • arsenalozilarsenalozil Registered User Posts: 74 Junior Member
    What about if a student scores very high on the SAT (>2300) as a freshmen? Would colleges look more favorably on this score because colleges might assume that this score was achieved with less test prep?
  • MamelotMamelot Registered User Posts: 2,116 Senior Member
    Interesting question @arsenalozil. Someone who rocked the ACT/SAT in freshman year needs to check with each college of interest to see what its guidelines are - especially given that the old test may be "outdated" in a year or two and not accepted by some colleges/universities. From what I've seen so far the policies regarding the new test have been very specific to that institution so we have found that any questions like that are best answered by a direct call to the admissions office.

    Also, at least one competitive institution - Carnegie Mellon - says it prefers to see test scores from the junior or senior year.

    Someone who scored that well as a freshman is most likely an exceptional candidate, so dialoguing with the schools of interest makes a lot of sense for a variety of reasons. :)
  • arsenalozilarsenalozil Registered User Posts: 74 Junior Member
    Yes, the old/new SAT conundrum does add a layer of complexity. Do you think we should dialogue with the schools by specifically highlighting the fact that the SAT score was achieved in freshmen year with minimal test prep or do we not make any mention to this and let the schools figure it out on their own?
  • MamelotMamelot Registered User Posts: 2,116 Senior Member
    You might mention the amount of minimal prep somewhere in the application but I can't see how schools can necessarily verify that, especially if they don't require all scores. Also, time allocated to prep would be such an individual matter and my guess is that schools can generally figure this stuff out on their own just by looking at your academics and activities for that year (i.e. how did you spend your time?).

    What will definitely stand out will be the score and the date of administration. There is no doubt that scores improve (and often do so significantly) from year to year so achieving such a high score as a freshman is going to be viewed as unusual.

    For purposes of preparing your application the relevant questions to your admissions person are things like: "Will you still be accepting this version of the test by the time I apply? Do you accept standardized tests taken up to three years prior to application? What would you advise regarding this score - should I submit it for my file, even if you can't accept if officially? Would you advise me to retake? If so what would you like to see from me: ACT or new SAT?" - those sorts of things. You should definitely try to get through to whoever will be your admissions rep. (rather than a student volunteer or someone else who just answers the phone) so that you get solid advice on this. And do find out soon (not sure what year you are at this point) because in the event they require or advise a more current score you want to give yourself enough time to figure out ACT or new SAT.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 4,661 Senior Member
    Do you think we should dialogue with the schools by specifically highlighting the fact that the SAT score was achieved in freshmen year with minimal test prep

    No, "we" should not 'dialogue' with the schools: parents should never, ever approach colleges about their student's application. When the time comes, if there is any 'splainin' to do, your son will do it. (that might sound harsh, but the reality is that one of the hard parts of the next few years for an involved parent is moving from 'we' to 'he' and you might as well get started now).

    From what I gather your son is at Andover, which is considered to have a very strong college counseling team. In Grade 10 your son will take a practice PSAT and in Grade 11 he will take an actual PSAT (for NM). Also in Grade 11 he (with the college counselor and some input from you) will create a list of possible colleges to apply to. At that point it will be clear whether any of the colleges on his (draft) list require scores to be taken within certain time frames.

    If you are thinking that highly competitive colleges will be extra-impressed that your son did well on the SAT in Grade 10 they won't be (and btw, many kids will have done the same thing in grades 7 & 8 for programs like CTY and TIP). Standardized test scores are more of a sorting gate: once you are in the upper numbers the exact number stops mattering and the focus shifts to the other parts of the application.
  • arsenalozilarsenalozil Registered User Posts: 74 Junior Member
    Mamelot and Collegemom - thanks for the input. S does not go to Andover. He just decided to take the SAT as a freshmen because he self studied over summer along with older Junior sibling who was also taking the test. I don't think CB breaks out statistics for scores by grade level, but my suspicion is that a 2330 as a freshmen is quite rare. My feeling is not to take the SAT again so as not to "dilute" this score. S also took the ACT once as a sophomore and scored a 35. S is still a sophomore and my thoughts are that when he applies to colleges, to just let the scores speak for themselves. But this leads back to my original question as to whether colleges would perhaps look more favorably around the circumstances of a freshmen achieving extremely high test scores? Or might colleges not even realize it when reading the application?
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 4,661 Senior Member
    Sorry, @arsenalozil - was answering for the OP, who was asking about taking it at all at this stage, and conflated your post with theirs.

    As long as the college doesn't have a time limit on how old the score can be, there is obviously no reason to sit it again- but you will have to check the actual colleges nearer to time as those policies can change.

    As for whether getting a 2330 at 14 v 17 will tip the balance at a super-selective school (b/c that seems as if it is the core question), imo no. It could be a nice part of a pattern of achievement, but what is going to matter much more is what he does with his obvious ability going forward. They will want to see that he can do more than do well on standardized tests.

  • MamelotMamelot Registered User Posts: 2,116 Senior Member
    I didn't realize he had a sophomore test. I think colleges will look at both and say "fine". I would submit both. You or your son can always ask whether the colleges will weigh his scores more heavily given that he took them earlier. I don't think it'll hurt one bit and does probably give him an edge depending on where he's applying.

    As he'll apply in about 18 months you'll definitely want to run that question past admissions as to whether the 2330 can be submitted as an official test. But again, he has the 35 . . .

    BTW he'll likely be in contention for NM if he keeps this up. So you'll need to check with NMSC as well about whether that old SAT can vet his high PSAT for finalist status. They did redesign the PSAT as well so it's a different test but this year NMSC is definitely allowing both versions of the SAT to confirm the PSAT score. Not sure about next year (class of 2018 competition).

    Good luck to him and well done!
  • payn4wardpayn4ward Registered User Posts: 2,913 Senior Member
    edited March 2016
    @arsenalozil A few colleges during Info sessions said they will not accept Old SAT scores after next year (i.e. high school class of 2017 will be the last one that can submit Old SAT scores.) So definitely check with each school. I would imagine colleges will still take your 35 ACT score.
This discussion has been closed.