Does DS need a do-over?

<p>DS got pretty high scores for his SAT (2230) and ACT (33) but not very good scores for his writing on either. Should he bother taking either of these tests again since he did pretty well the first time? Since he's interested in creative writing as a minor, will the low scores on his essays hurt him?</p>

<p>Depends on which schools he's applying to, but in general, since he won't declare his minor until later (and by the time he gets around to declaring, he may decide he doesn't want to minor in CW at all, or doesn't want to minor at all), it probably won't make much of a difference. If he has strong grades in his English classes, and especially if he's taking some kind of AP English and is getting strong grades on his AP tests, and he writes a good essay, that may make up for his lower essay scores on his standardized tests.</p>

<p>Frankly, I don't think the essay scores count that much for college admissions. </p>

<p>The student is only given a short time to come up with these essays...so not a good example of how such a student would do in a real-life homework essay assignment. For some kids, writing a great essay is a process...they ruminate over the topic, they do an outline, rough draft, rewrite, proof-read, etc....that can take hours. </p>

<p>And, from what I've heard, there is a direct correlation to the number of words written in these SAT/ACT essays and their scores. So a good, but short, essay may not get as high of a score as a longer, less thought out essay would get.</p>

<p>Honestly, the way the essays are scored may be more of a problem than his writing, particularly if his writing is creative. I haven't scored SAT or ACT essays, but I have scored statewide writing assessments for several states, and generic writing that follows rather standard approaches is often scored more highly than really creative approaches, unfortunately. Additionally, if he made two fabulous arguments, well supported and very well articulated, he could easily end up with a lower score than someone who made three pedestrian arguments if the scoring rubric calls for three. (One reason I have no interest in doing this work again.) </p>

<p>I'd look at his writing in general and perhaps solicit feedback from a respected teacher. Meanwhile, I wouldn't worry about the writing score component, which isn't even used by a lot of colleges.</p>

<p>Neither of my kids scored over 700 on the writing or got better than a 9 (I think) on the essay. They are both capable writers who did fine on all their college papers. They are fine when asked to write about a subject they have studied, but neither liked the SAT essay format. It's possible that their writing score kept them out of some schools, but between the two of them they got into Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, Vassar, U of Chicago (famous for its application essay prompts) and Tufts.</p>

<p>Thanks for the help!</p>

<p>Unfortunately, he did NOT take Honors/AP English because he actually hates English. He says that he didn't want to waste his time writing their stupid papers when he could be spending time doing his own creative writing. He's much stronger in math and science anyway, so luckily a computer science major will work well.</p>

<p>Do schools ever look at individual ACT scores, or do they normally look at the composite score?</p>

<p>How low is his score and why was it bad? If he was unlucky with the prompt and/or unprepared for the format, then the chances are good that he could improve significantly on a second attempt with better luck and a little preparation. It would probably be worthwhile. </p>

<p>On the other hand, some schools, (UChicago, for example) don't look at the writing score at all.</p>

<p>He does realize that in college, even as a science major, he's going to have to write "their stupid papers", right?</p>

<p>Oh and neither of my kids took honors or AP English senior year, because they wanted to finally enjoy an English class. For both they got A's instead of B's senior year in English by dropping down to the regular level. My oldest (CS major) because of his AP scores only had to write "stupid papers" his freshman year. My youngest (IR major) writes all the time.</p>

<p>If he has time, why would you not retake the test? Scores can only go up...</p>

<p>And at my school, a certain SAT score gets you out of English101 (like a 670 i think).</p>

<p>
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DS got pretty high scores for his SAT (2230) and ACT (33) but not very good scores for his writing on either.

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</p>

<p>How bad could his writing scores have been with total scores in those ranges? The LOWEST he could possibly have scored on writing would be 630, if he received 800s on the math and reading.</p>

<p>The SAT and ACT scores indicate your DS did really well on the CR sections and that is more important than the essay scores by a long shot. Congratulations on the great job on the testing. He should have many great options.</p>

<p>If those scores are at or above the 75th percentile at the schools he wants to attend, then retaking is probably unnecessary despite a disappointing subscore in one area.</p>

<p>I'll quote my DD1 when she got a similar combined SAT score and I asked when/if she would retake - why in the world would I want to retake with a score like that? I get to sleep in.</p>

<p>Erin's Dad - are your D and my S related somehow?? That's exactly the attitude my S has!</p>

<p>I don't remember exactly what his scores were for the writing part. I think he got something like a 6 out of 12 in the SAT (can that be right?) and about the same results for the ACT. He actually got a 36 and 35 on the math and English part, but the science (31) and writing brought his composite down. He said he didn't have time to finish the science - there wasn't enough time. Did anyone else's kids complain about that?</p>

<p>SmithieandProud - I laughed when I saw your post. He knows he has to write papers in college. He won't like it, but he'll do it. He hates doing formal papers, and I think that's probably why he got lower scores. He does much better with informal writing.</p>

<p>BTW, he's looking at Yale, Brown, CMU, Haverford, Amherst, Conn. College, Case Western, among others.</p>

<p>megan, the essay score is just one factor that goes into the overall writing score which is on a scale of 800. What were your sons separate SAT scores for for M/CR/W on the 800 scale?</p>

<p>There are different types of writing. "Creative writing" reminds me of writing fiction- the best authors won't learn their craft in college but have many life experiences they use as material. With strong scores outside of the writing sections I would let your son decide if he really wants to try to improve the writing sections. He is not competing to get into a writing program but a whole school and the other scores carry more weight. Most schools won't admit based on a proposed major. Schools may have a placement test for English skills- if he needs a writing course at the school he attends that may be better for him than barely getting out of it for doing good college papers.</p>

<p>The math science strengths sound like they will influence his choice of schools and major. He needs to check the creative writing course offerings at schools that otherwise interest him so he can pursue them if he chooses to.</p>