Barnard Alternatives?

<p>Hey guys, I’m a junior and I just received my PSAT scores. They weren’t that good, in fact I actually went DOWN this year. I only received a 180 on them, which is really troubling to me. Barnard is my dream school and I know the adcoms have extremely high standards. That being said, my projected SAT score is nowhere near the average SAT score for Barnard. Thus, I’m looking for some safety/match schools to visit during my spring break. I have already visited Barnard, SUNY Bing, and Wesleyan. I’m from CT and love the city, so I’m not sure how I feel about SUNY Bing. Do any of you have any suggestions for schools with similar academic majors (Neuroscience & Behavior/Environmental Policy) that are in a good location, preferably east coast :p? Thanks a ton!</p>

<p>Don't let your PSAT scores deter you! I recommend starting SAT prep as soon as possible and taking the SATs later in the year (March, May, or June) so you have ample time to prepare. I also think May is the optimal time to take the SAT IIs since you're studying for APs anyway and you can knock out two birds with one stone. Also, don't forget that depending on how you're feeling when you take the tests your score can fluctuate - for example, I got a little over a 170 on my PSATs sophomore year, a 207 on my PSATs junior year, a 2050 on the June SATs, and an 1850 on the October SATs (needless to say I didn't submit my October scores). Clearly my head wasn't in the right place when I was taking the October SATs and my sophomore PSATs and that very well could have been the case when you were taking your PSATs.</p>

<p>Also, you might want to give the ACTs a try. I never took them myself but I've heard that they're more geared towards what you've learned in school rather than reasoning, which is great for some and horrible for others. And they're apparently much easier to study for so you can probably improve your score more easily. Another thing to note is that Barnard does not weight standardized test scores nearly as heavily as most other aspects of your application, so if you have stellar essays, excellent grades, great ECs, and glowing recommendations then they're not going to turn you down for a mediocre SAT score. They probably wouldn't accept someone with a 1400/2400 but an 1800 isn't a horrible score by any means.</p>

<p>If you truly feel that there's no way you can bring your SAT score up and you believe that it's the only weak part of your application then you can always check out some SAT-optional schools. Smith College is a fantastic women's college in Northampton, MA, which isn't a city but is apparently a great college town. It's very strong in the sciences and it's part of a five-college consortium that includes Mount Holyoke, UMass Amherst, Amherst College, and Hampshire College, so if Smith doesn't have what you're looking for then one of the other four colleges is sure to offer it. Bryn Mawr College is another SAT-optional women's college that's part of a consortium with Haverford and Swarthmore. It's very strong in the sciences and it's closer to a city than Smith (a short train ride away from Philadelphia). Once again, if they don't have the program you want then Haverford or Swarthmore is sure to offer it. Like Smith, it's very highly regarded and sends tons of students to top-tier graduate schools.</p>

<p>If NYC is a huge draw then Sarah Lawrence is an SAT-optional liberal arts school that's right outside of the city. It has a very strong English department, although I'm not sure how it is in the sciences and it's very expensive. The only truly urban school I can think of that's SAT-optional is American University in Washington DC, but I think the only programs of theirs that are really highly regarded are their Political Science and International Relations programs.</p>

<p>I got a 198 on my PSAT, which actually dropped from the 200 I received sophomore year. My SAT score is a 2170. I worked hard to bring the score up almost 200 points, mostly on my own, doing the dreaded practice tests from the SAT book and sitting for the test three times. If you're willing to work hard, you can definitely get a 2000+ on the SAT, which is just below Barnard's average! Of course, everyone needs safety schools, but don't rule out your dream school just because of your numbers. I get the sense that Barnard really looks at the 'whole person,' not just scores, so if the rest of your application is strong, you could be a really viable candidate!</p>

<p>My daughter's SAT's & ACTs were under Barnard's 25th percentile level for the year she was admitted. She was admitted to Barnard RD in a very competitive year. Barnard's admission process is very holistic - it definitely is not all about test scores. You probably increase your chances of admission as much or more by focusing on excelling in academics and being engaged in activities outside of the classroom as you do by raising test scores. So don't give up! </p>

<p>That being said, you are extremely wise to to be thinking about expanding your college search at this stage and building a good college application list that includes schools that will be safeties you would be happy to attend, as well as match/reach schools -- and visiting those schools. </p>

<p>My d. also applied to, and was accepted at, U. of Chicago, NYU (Gallatin), and Fordham. I'm just mentioning that as an example of schools that appealed to another Barnard applicant who very much wanted an urban setting. Of that list, Fordham was the only safety -- but again, the point is that she got into the others without fantastic test scores.</p>

<p>Jumping onto the "PSATs mean nothing" train. I got a 170-ish on my sophomore year PSAT, a 201 on my junior year PSAT, and a 2100 on my SAT (I only took it once because I'm lazy and hate standardized testing). Your scores are bound to improve on their own because you'll naturally get better at the types of problems you'll see on the SAT after doing more advanced schoolwork, and if you just do some practice tests and work on the types of problems you're struggling with, I'm sure you can push your scores over 2000.</p>

<p>It's also worth noting that Barnard has a holistic admissions process, which can be a positive and a negative - I've met girls with scores in the 1900s who've gotten in and girls with 2200s+ who've been rejected. Just remember to focus on your grades and ECs, get recs from teachers who know you well, and write essays that you're confident in.</p>

<p>As for other schools you could look into, have you considered other women's colleges or SAT optional schools? Bryn Mawr and Mount Holyoke both have much lower average score than Barnard but are still really highly regarded and some really amazing schools like Smith, Bowdoin, Sarah Lawrence, and Bard don't require you to submit the SAT at all. Also, if you're really set on New York, NYU is SAT flexible - instead of the SAT or the ACT, you can submit three SAT IIs or three AP test scores as long as you have one in math/science, one in lit/humanities, and one of your choice.</p>

<p>I agree with the other posters not to worry too much about the PSATs as they aren't super accurate. If you're worried, take a SAT prep class before the real thing.If you take a class, a 200 pt. increase is fairly typical, so assuming 180 translates to 1800, you could jump to a 2000, which, while on the low end for Barnard, wouldn't hurt you too much if you have high grades and a strong application. Answering your question though, if your scores don't come up and you want to be in New York, look at NYU (lower scores than Barnard), Sarah Lawrence (doesn't take SATs) and the SUNY schools. If you want a women's college, look at Mt. Holyoke and Smith (both SAT optional). Hope this helped :)</p>

<p>Thanks guys!! Haha my confidence just got a boost :p I'm not really looking into women's colleges (besides Barnard, of course!!!!), moreso an urban setting with majors that I'm interested in. NYU was definitely on my list until I reviewed their majors and did not see any that suited my interests. Do any of you have any other suggestions? I am extremely open to all :)</p>