Do you agree with this guidance counselor about skipping the SAT?

<p>My son is a NY high school junior who will be applying to selective schools. His guidance counselor recommended that he take the ACT in December, and told him that if he scored well, he would not "need" to also take the SAT I. He scored a 34, which was the best case scenario for him based on his practice tests. When she heard 34, his GC immediately declared, "you're done testing."</p>

<p>My husband and I, as well as our son, are unsure about this and wonder if he should in fact take the SAT. One reason is that our college senior has been interviewing for jobs in the financial sector (which he did not anticipate when in high school) and his SAT scores come up during these interviews. Those who are making hiring decisions are familiar with the SAT scale and instantly understand it. He is a history major and feels that his high math SAT helps demonstrate his ability to do math even though he took no math courses in college. He thinks his SAT scores have strengthened his job applications, even though they were intended for use in college admissions, not a job search five years later. </p>

<p>Because our high school son will be taking SAT II's, it is possible that those scores might someday serve as benchmarks in this way, with or without the SAT I. He anticipates either a history or science major.</p>

<p>Our junior tests well in general, but is not big on detailed test preparation. Even if he enrolls in an SAT prep course, we are unsure how much additional prep he would do on his own. He has a fairly calm manner about testing and does not get stressed out, but he is very busy and to spend that SAT prep time doing other things instead would be time well spent. He is not eager to take the SAT if he doesn't need to, but will do it if we all reach agreement that he should. He is very decisive and opinionated, and if he felt certain about not taking the SAT, there would be no further discussion. His PSAT was 213 so we suppose that with preparation he could score 2100+ on the SAT.</p>

<p>My own feeling about testing is to prepare well, take it once, then move on. I'm inclined to go with the GC's recommendation but skipping the SAT feels risky for some reason. My son does not anticipate retaking the ACT.</p>

<p>What do you think, wise CC parentals? Is there an important reason we may be missing for my son to either take or not take the SAT I? What would he need to score on the SAT to either back up or add oomph to his ACT?</p>

<p>I agree, there aren't many schools who will not take the ACT. I think especially since he will be taking SAT IIs, he will be fine. Not having to take another test would be a nice reward for all the hard work he's obviously done so far.</p>

<p>I will ask, though, did his ACT have the writing portion? When my daughter took it, it did not, so she did have to take the SAT so she could show writing scores to colleges that wanted them.</p>

<p>"When she heard 34, his GC immediately declared, "you're done testing."
If he is hoping to have a chance at tippy-top colleges, a 34 might not be enough . So WHERE he is hoping to apply should be factored into the equation, in order to answer the "is he done or not done" question. Also, are you from the midwest, where the ACT is used much more? And if so, will he be applying to mostly midwest colleges?</p>

<p>Did he take the ACT with writing? I think pretty much every school, even Harvey Mudd, nowadays accepts ACT with Writing in leu of SAT. I would save money and move on, unless he is looking at some scholarships that specifically require SAT I. Congrats to your son on the terrific job!</p>

<p>teriwtt, good point about the writing section. He did take it but the combined English/Writing was a lower score than his composite.</p>

<p>Shrinkrap, he hasn't checked the SAT requirement for the various schools on his (long, at this point) list. Duh, good place to start!! I knew we were missing something!</p>

<p>menloparkmom, he is probably not applying in the midwest. So far it looks like east and west coast schools. A couple of them are everyone's reaches.</p>

<p>BunsenBurner, good point about possibly needing SAT I scores for scholarship apps.</p>

<p>If his PSAT score was high enough to qualify for National Merit Semifinalist... he can't advance to Finalist without taking the SAT.</p>

<p>"A couple of them are everyone's reaches." Then he should plan on taking the ACT again, in the hope of getting a 35, or he should take the SAT. It is likely that his score WILL go up, because he will be continuing to learn more during the next 10 months, before the last possible testing date.</p>

<p>"If his PSAT score was high enough to qualify for National Merit Semifinalist... he can't advance to Finalist without taking the SAT."
This is correct.</p>

<p>Oops! I deleted my post because I had to choose between editing and eating. I ate! I really meant to say did he need the SAT II's anywhere if he took the ACT! I don't think anywhere will refuse the ACT with writing, and some will take it in leiu of SAT I and II. A site called "compass" lists them.Then I realized that wasn't really relevant....I also said my D would only take them once, and as it turned out I am SO glad I didn't push it. Best decision I made last year!</p>

<p>Here it is</p>

<p>Compass:</a> Admissions Requirements</p>

<p>Note the disclaimer ; Not a substitute for checking for yourself!</p>

<p>geek_mom, excellent (and may I say, very CC-ish) comment! Which is why I posted with so many details, because I knew you guys would pick up on every angle. However I think the cut-off in NY for NMSF has not dipped below 216 or 217 in recent years, so I think he missed it. But he should keep that in mind, just in case. Do they confirm that in the spring?</p>

<p>menloparkmom, I hadn't thought about stretching out the timetable that far, but it makes sense and 10 months is a long time to learn more.</p>

<p>Shrinkrap, I've never seen that Compass site. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. He is going to need 3 subject tests but already has one. He'll take one in May and one in June, probably.</p>

If his PSAT score was high enough to qualify for National Merit Semifinalist... he can't advance to Finalist without taking the SAT.


<p>That was my concern too. It's probably correct that he doesn't "need" the SAT Reasoning Test for anything if he already has a 34 on the ACT, but I would respond that it also doesn't hurt anything to take the SAT Reasoning test if he'd like to possibly get a high score on that.</p>

<p>comparison table for SAT/ACT</p>

<p><a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>if your son received a composite of 34 it is ~ a 1510</p>

<p>if there is a english writing score of 34 it is ~ in the range of 770-790</p>

<p>a 34 is a really great score, but ultimately you and your son need to decide if it is a keeper or if he wants to retake. The ACT currently has score choice so of he takes it again, you can decide what test setting to send.</p>

<p>speckledegg, he won't find out about NMSF status until next Fall. An SAT taken between now and then could be reported as his qualifying score. And from his other scores and what you say about his test-taking skills, I imagine he could get a qualifying score by rolling out of bed and showing up on Saturday. It seems to me the PSAT cutoff scores have been dropping, but I agree that a 213 does sound improbable for NY.</p>

<p>If he's scoring so high on the ACT and PSAT without preparation, he should be able to do very well on the SAT I even if he were to take it cold. I wouldn't recommend that, but neither would I recommend enrolling him in a test prep course; if I were you and he were taking the test, I'd just buy him the "Real SATs" book from CollegeBoard and have him work through a couple of tests... or look up the famous Xiggi's SAT guide here on CC, if you think he'd have that kind of patience.</p>

<p>I guess I'm of the "it can't really hurt" mindset -- and it can't, really, unless your son (like mine) has a low threshold for testing fatigue.</p>

<p>I don't think a higher score would make much of a difference for admission at even the most selective schools. 34 is good enough to make the cut -- from there the reach schools are looking at other factors (high school transcript, letters of recommendation, essays, EC's, etc.). You could look at the admission stats of the schools to verify this -- for example, 34 is at the 75th percentile level for Yale: see: <a href=""&gt;;/a> (or, in other words, 3/4 of all students admitted to Yale based on ACT scores have 34 or lower.). That's not going to change.</p>

<p>Take the SAT. It can't hurt. If the score is not as good, and the school doesn't require it, then you don't send it. If they do require the SAT, then you have it. The only exception might be if they want the SAT II score, and the school opts out of the sending of selective SAT scores (e.g. can't send the SAT II score without sending the SAT I scores). In any case, most schools will take the better of the scores.</p>

<p>Sounds like my D exactly - she scored a 34 on an ACT with writing so it was enough for the schools she applied to (guarantees her merit aid at some of them), but then again she did not apply to any Ivies, so I guess it does depend on the schools being considered. She took SATIIs for one school that she later dropped from her list and she was National Merit Commended (missed the cutoff in NY). The final point in her decision was, as a three-sport athlete, the SAT dates always had a sports conflict.</p>

<p>If he has the time though, he should take it - not knowing what the PSAT cutoff is going to be for NMSF it may be worth it since, as another poster brought up, you will need it for the competition. You could always not send them if they are not up to the ACT equivalent level</p>

<p>As far as I know, there are only two or three schools that require SAT IIs if you take the ACT with writing: Princeton, Stanford, and one other that I can't remember. Getting a job is way far down the line, and in these times, who knows what employers will look for. So taking the SAT for a possible job requirement in 4-5 or more years seems like an iffy reason. I would suggest taking the test to compare with the ACT score, because some students do better on one and some do better on the other. You don't want to close any doors. But if the student is really adamant about no more tests, then a 34 on the ACT is fine. My D is a soph at Brown and got a 34 on the ACT. She did take SATs also (I-- twice, and 3 SAT IIs). She submitted all scores, because she wanted to have as many options as possible. That was her reasoning and it seemed to work.</p>

<p>There is not a single school in the country that does not accept the ACT now. There is also no lingering institutional bias against the ACT, even among top Northeastern schools. Last year my son submitted no SAT I, just ACT with Writing and, where required, 2 or 3 SAT IIs. He had excellent admissions results, including HYP. He did take the SAT I in December of his senior year, after all applications were submitted, in order to confirm for NMF. </p>

<p>My recommendation to your son if he decides to try for an improved score is to retake the ACT. Two reasons: If his PSAT came in under NMSF numbers in your state for last year, the ACT probably "suits" him better. Second, with Score Choice firmly in place for the ACT (even with the reinstitution of Score Choice for SAT, things look hazy at some schools) there would be no risk of needing to report a sub-par score to colleges. All that said, 34 is a great score. Congratulations to your son.</p>