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9th grade talent search SAT and ACT testing? Do it or don't do it?

AltrasAltras Registered User Posts: 359 Member
My 9th grader has been active in our regional talent search and taking the relevant standardized tests since 3rd grade. My understanding is that all scores from 8th grade and earlier are removed and not sent to colleges; however, all high school scores are fair game and would be sent to colleges that required ALL test scores to be sent. My son is currently scheduled to take the SAT in March. He does not prep for the exams for the talent search (including the upcoming test), he enjoys taking them and does quite well; but this would clearly not be the preferred score (from his junior/senior year) to ultimately send to colleges.

Is it OK for him to take the test this year? Any harm in doing so? From searching older threads and other online sources, I'm not clear if there is a verifiable downside. Sounds like most colleges that require all scores indicate that they simply consider the highest score.

Do it or don't do it?
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Replies to: 9th grade talent search SAT and ACT testing? Do it or don't do it?

  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 Registered User Posts: 877 Member
    Be aware that some colleges want to see all test scores and may not superscore. I personally would not take the exams unless I studied for them and expected a decent score.
  • allyphoeallyphoe Registered User Posts: 2,120 Senior Member
    Contrarian perspective: no school is going to care about 9th grade talent search scores, even if they require all scores be sent.

    My guidance for my own kid was that her choices were hers, and that I'd provide input when requested and when the choice she wanted to make would narrow the options available to her in the future (when the choice would still be hers, but she needed to be aware of the consequences). I don't see this an an option-narrowing choice.
  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 Registered User Posts: 877 Member
    Can't 9th graders take the PSAT 8/9 test which will not be seen by colleges? If so, that is the route I would take.
  • AltrasAltras Registered User Posts: 359 Member
    Within the talent search, the PSAT 8/9 is only available to 3rd-6th graders. The SAT and ACT are for 6th-9th graders.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 36,147 Senior Member
    edited January 2
    What is the upside for taking it this year? I have a kid who took it in 7 & 8, so have a pretty good idea of what good (for their age) scores can do for them. I assume at this point he has what he needs for CTY, Davidson, TIP, Numats, SET, etc (if he is still young enough to qualify for SET, under 13 when he takes the test, that might be one good reason to do it).

    I think you can easily cancel ACT scores so they don’t show up, that might be a better idea. While colleges won’t penalize, anything requiring an explanation is a bit of a distraction on college apps, IMHO.

  • CCtoAlaskaCCtoAlaska Registered User Posts: 583 Member
    Did he already take the SAT? I would advice my kids not to take it unless there was a reason. My kids have taken 9th grade SATs in order to qualify for local academic programs but it would be a waste of time and money otherwise. Why is the talent search encouraging the kids to test all the time? What is their rationale?
  • AltrasAltras Registered User Posts: 359 Member
    He took it in 8th grade. Not yet this year. The talent search allows the students to take it every year, if they want; but they only have to take it every 2 years to qualify for summer programs. Truth is, he just likes taking them. We've never discouraged it (or had reason to). But now, as I start learning about the college admission and testing process, I've taken pause to be sure we're not inadvertently hurting his college applications.
  • BrianBoilerBrianBoiler Registered User Posts: 645 Member
    edited January 2
    Both my sons took it and their results (just 'good" for their age) did not impact college admissions at all. The theory behind it is that some students who always do good on tests never get challenged enough to see if they are truly exceptional. If they were deemed exceptional we may have done some things different with their HS life (Summer programs, Private School, National Competitions, etc.)

    I also, don't believe either kids' scores for those early years were sent to any school, nor did they appear on their HS transcript. They applied at all levels from Taylor University to RIT to McGill to the University of Chicago. Were accepted by every place they applied to. The only drawback I really see is the cost of the test and the loss of a Saturday morning.

    edit: I'm not sure either took them in 9th grade however, so maybe the above is not relevant.
  • TreeshaTreesha Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    edited February 26
    I had the same concern as you in January, and ultimately our family decided our daughter would take them as a 9th grader.

    We talked about how in 9th grade, her scores would be "in the system" so to speak, such that these scores could count for real. I looked at it as, if all goes well, she doesn't have to take the tests again. If it doesn't go well, then she'll take the tests again like everybody else does in 11/12 grade. I don't think colleges would be surprised to see two test dates for the ACT and SAT in an application, plus a lot of colleges superscore the results.

    Like your child, she's taken part in our regional academic talent search before. My kid took the SAT as an 12 yr old and got a 1440, so we suspected that she'd do ok. She took the ACT this month and will be taking the SAT next week. Her ACT composite came back as a 35, it got dragged down by a 31 in Math but she got 36 in everything else. She did not prep for the test, other than to flip through a library ACT prep book for an hour. Like your child, my kid just enjoys taking the tests.

    I suspect the math score is likely influenced by what math topic is currently being studied. It's been 1-2 years since my kid studied geometry and algebra and trig (she's taking AP Stats right now) and the details get fuzzy without practice. I'm hoping she will bone up on those other math topics before the SAT next week. But I won't press the issue since she still has years left to take the SAT.
  • drusbadrusba Registered User Posts: 9,536 Senior Member
    edited February 26
    In making a decision be aware of the following:

    There are only six colleges left that still require applicants to provide all scores of any test when they apply: Georgetown (all SAT, ACTs and all subjects tests), Yale (all SATs or ACTs, or all of both if you decide to send both, but score choice accepted for subject tests), Carnegie Mellon (same as Yale), Barnard (for either all SATs or all ACTs; subject tests are not used for admission), Cornell (for all ACTs if you choose to submit ACT, but score choice accepted for SATs and subject tests), and Syracuse (for all SAT scores if you chose to provide SAT; rule not applicable to ACT and it does not use subject tests for admission).

    Thus, you can withhold scores from any other college. The issue then becomes what does your high school put on any official transcript sent to colleges. Many still put all your scores on that transcript and thus even if you withhold them by not having the testing agency send them, the college may still get them. You should check with your high school for what it puts on a transcript and, if it puts all test scores, you should ask if you can prevent some scores from appearing on the transcript sent to colleges.

    If colleges are to be believed, even if you send a low SAT along with a high SAT, the college will use only the higher scores to determine admission.

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 74,498 Senior Member
    More than six colleges require all scores. The UC system has nine campuses and requires all scores.
  • drusbadrusba Registered User Posts: 9,536 Senior Member
    edited February 27
    ^The UCs did away with their all scores requirement early this year and now accept score choice. They now merely "encourage" sending all scores but do not require all scores. http://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/freshman/requirements/examination-requirement/index.html
  • jym626jym626 Registered User Posts: 56,576 Senior Member
    Colleges are well aware that the summer talent programs use these test scores and will understand that the scores are not going to be as high as when taken for college admissions.
  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 Registered User Posts: 1,315 Senior Member
    Carnegie Mellon wants to see all SAT and ACT scores, but according to their application guide, only junior and senior year scores are acceptable for admission purposes.
  • RichInPittRichInPitt Registered User Posts: 133 Junior Member
    I'm sure schools will be smart enough to look at a 9th grade scores and then (presumably) better 11th/12th grade scores and realize the recent ones are more applicable.

    I'm curious as to which talent searches still wants/need tests in 9th grade for someone who has previously qualified. My D's SAT score from 7th grade qualified her for CTY and TIP programs through the end of HS (actually, her 6th grade SCAT was good for CTY). (And no, I'm not going to post her scores to turn it into a brag post....).

    She took it again in 8th just for the annual CTY grand ceremony which, as with TIP, ends after 8th. So we're now holding off until PSAT practice in 10th, PSAT/NMSQT in 11th and SAT in 11th Fall/Spring. She'll take subject tests as she completes the appropriate courses, but I don't really see any purpose to take the actual SAT/ACT now.

    I know SAT deleted scores before age 13, unless requested, but I haven't seen where ACT has documented that (though I haven't looked extensively as we didn't take it).

    With my D's score we have researched how useful they will be in applications and, as noted with CMU above, several top schools require recent standardized scores. You also need a score +/- 1 year from the PSAT to back up a Natioal Merit Scholar nomination.
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