Exeter or Andover with low SSAT scores?


I am applying for Exeter and Andover in the fall of 2017 for 9th grade.
I took my SSAT’s on December 10th, but did not do well at all. Do keep in mind I am Mexican, especially when you see the verbal/reading scores.

Reading- 674 (64%)
Verbal- 668 (53%)
Math- 779 (95%)
Overall- 2121 (78%)

My current grades range from 92% to 99% (A’s)
My grades are as follows:

Science 8- 97% (A)
Spanish 8- 95% (A)
Social Studies 8- 98% (A)
English 8- 93% (A)
Art 8- 96% (A)
Drama 8- 99% (A)
Algebra II Honors (10th grade)- 92% (A) (it will be bumped)
Band 8- 96% (A)
PHE 7/8- 99% (A)

In my school, we take a standardized test called the MAP’s; I got the following:

Math- 99th percentile
Reading- 96th percentile
Language- 96th percentile
Science- 92nd percentile

I do the following extra-curricular activities, including sports:

Model United Nations (MUN)- I have been a delegate, a chair, and a moderator. I have participated in in-school and out-of-school simulations.
Band- I have been in band since 6th grade, and I play the Baritone/Euphonium
Ambassadors- I am in my school’s ambassador program. It is based on helping new students from different cultures adapt, and raising school spirit.
Global Issues Network (GIN)- This program is about picking a problem in the local community, and finding ways to fix it. Last year it was making biogas.
Public Speaking- I entered two contests. Although these public speaking contests were in Spanish, I also know how to speak well in English.
Community Service- I have been part of an organization called Niños en Accion (NEA) for over 6 years, where I have done every type of community service imaginable.
Golf- I have played golf for two years, and have been in the top 5 places in tournaments in about 5 of these tournaments.
I am open to playing soccer (I played it for about 5 years in elementary) and swimming (I really like it). I also really like skiing.

Summer Programs:

I was accepted into camp BizSmart(entrepreneurial camp) and was CEO of the business(I went in the summer leading into 6th grade)

I was accepted into camp SIG Yale (academic camp) and got very good reviews from teachers (can be given upon further request as login is needed). I attended classes that focused on math, theoretical physics, business math, and international relations.

I think I did very well in my interviews, especially that of Exeter.
I think I am doing pretty well with my essays.
I think my recommendation letters are superb, especially since one of them was written by my superintendent.

Please tell me my chances of getting into either one of the two schools mentioned.

I think your scores are a problem. There is an enormous amount of work. Reading and writing on top of everything else. Is English is your primary language.? You say you are Mexican. Are you an international applicant?

@Center English is my secondary language, and I am an international student from Mexico. I am actually a very good English speaker and usually get A’s in my English classes (taught by American/Canadian teachers, and following the American curriculum (as I am in an American School)). I don’t know why my scores came out to be so awful.

In that case I don’t think that it hurts you. You seem highly qualified and a compelling candidate.

Andover & Exeter have high expectations for English proficiency. Are you required to take the TOEFL?

@MA2012 Since I have been in an American School for more than 4 years (11 years actually) I don’t, but I have decided to take it and I will do so on Saturday. Maybe, if I do well (which I hope I do) those scores will prove that my score on the SSAT was not a proficient measure of my English.

It depends on whom you are competing for admission with. What country/area are you from?

I think your chances are still excellent. Standardized tests are just one factor and everyone has at least one weakness to their app. You have a lot of strengths for sure.

@panpacific I am from Monterrey (north-east) Mexico

@preppedparent Thanks! I really hope I get into any of these two schools!

Is English the language of instruction in your school? Do you know others from your school and other international schools from Mexico apply to the same set of boarding schools? What are their SSAT scores like? Suffice it to say, don’t count on your verbal/reading scores helping you. But you may get in based on other merits of yours. I don’t know the overall strength of applicants from your country enough to make a prediction, but you get the idea that this is a competitive process.

@panpacific The language of instructions is English. A boy from my school is in Exeter. I know others who are applying to Lawrenceville, Taft, etc., but not Exeter/Andover. Their SSAT’s were similar to mine, maybe a little lower. Anyway, thanks for the help. But, if you were going to say between 1 and 100, honestly, where would you say I stand in getting accepted?

To me, you’re a solid 75.

I don’t think it would be necessarily impossible for you to get into A or E with a 78th percentile, as I know people who have gotten in with scores like those. But, those people had hooks (recruited athlete, URS/URM, etc.) Do you have any hooks of that nature? Other than your scores, your ECs look stellar. I guess I’m not the best judge, as I’m also applying, though.

Hey guys @monica20 (I hope we both get in) @preppedparent @panpacific @MA2012 @Center

I just got my TOEFL Scores and I got 111/120; i.e. (high in reading and listening (highest you can get) and good in speaking and writing (highest you can get)).

Do you all think this can boost my chances of acceptance?

I’m not sure about how TOEFL scores are taken into account in relation to SSAT/ISEE scores, but that’s a very good score. Again, I’m not exactly qualified to give advice here, but that’s quite an amazing score.

Pitching in as a non-native English speaker. 111 TOEFL is a respectable score and may assuage concerns about your ability to handle the work language-wise. I don’t think that in and of itself a TOEFL score, no matter how good, gets you in. It just keeps you in the running. Even with a perfect TOEFL score you may continue to have lower SSAT/SAT/GRE verbal/reading scores, as these tests measure different types of language proficiency. In my opinion, what would get you in is the ethnic and geographic diversity you bring, and your extracurriculars. Good luck!

Agreed. As another non-native English speaker, the purpose of TOEFL is to ensure that you have the English skills to understand the material, since, obviously, English is the language of instruction. TOEFL is one place where a higher score over the threshold does not matter. It’s like a drivers’ license; when the cop is giving you a ticket, he won’t care if you passed the driving test with a 100 or with a 70, because you’re still getting the ticket. :slight_smile:

Good luck