Urgent advice needed!

Hi Guys.
I scored 1790 on SAT (Math: 660, W: 610 CR:520). I didn’t take any prep courses or tutoring because I couldn’t afford to. I studied on my own again and scored a 28 (English: 31, Math: 30, Reading: 28, Science: 24). I ran out of time on the Science section and that ruined my score mainly.
I want all of you to kindly suggest me if I should retake SAT? I prefer the ACT over SAT; however, ACT February testing is not being administered where I live. I have only 18 days to study till the SAT that is scheduled on 23rd January. I am extremely stressed out about getting into a good college. I am aiming for colleges such as Columbia, Princeton, and Northwestern. I have the perfect GPA, straight A’s in O and A level grades, tons of extracurriculars: debates, social work, summer programs, research internships. I have won several awards at debating championships and started many community projects. My essays are on point too. I’ve always been a stellar student but the SAT/ACT are the biggest and only weakness on my application. With such a short time is it possible for me to improve? I was also considering taking SAT 2 subject tests since instead of SAT 1 since my science score is the lowest and I believe I can score well in SAT subject test.
I can’t afford any preparation courses because my mom literally earns around $400 per month. I am an international student seeking financial aid and looking at top colleges. My background story is also really unique and I’ve really struggled (not academically) throughout my life. Do you think I have a chance of getting in competitive colleges and what is the course I should opt for? Is there any SAT Prep program that makes special considerations for any students for your program who have financial constraints? What are the best resources I can use to reach a score around 2100-2200 in such a short time?
I’d be really glad if anyone could help me out and alleviate my stress. Thank you!

Are you a senior?

“I am extremely stressed out about finding a good career. I am aiming to be president, an Olympian, or a movie star.”

Given these scores, your odds of scoring 2100+ on the SAT without prep are low. If nothing else, I suggest you apply to some schools where an 1800 would be adequate (and quickly, before deadlines pass), so you won’t be without a college in the event your retake doesn’t go as hoped. There are more than 20 good universities in the US.

Yes @XCjunior2016

@NotVerySmart Hi. Honestly, I didn’t really get what you meant there. I’m not brand conscious when it comes to colleges but what I am trying to convey there was that it sucks to see that all these years of hard work don’t even guarantee you a college placement. Jokes apart, I really do want to be the president haha.
I’m applying to colleges within my score range as well. I feel I won’t really be able to improve in such a short time but still please tell me what you’d suggest: SAT 1 or SAT 2?

I think can perform well on SAT 2

" I really do want to be the president haha." What country. Do you or don’t you “want to be the president”? Of what country? This is just a stereotype but I find female students often follow up declaratives with detractors that modify the original message. The original message is that you want to be important. The second message is “but not really cause I am just a child”. Women often find that approach works because they immediately make it clear that they don’t really expect to be considered important. And that makes everyone “feel good” which gets women back to their expected role in social interchanges. I don’t know what gender you are.

@lostaccount I am a female. This forum doesn’t reveal my identity so I must confess that I feel the need to be important. I attended a summer program at Columbia University where I did get a lot of love and attention; I was treated like a stellar student. But now with bad SAT scores, I feel lost. I can’t afford college and I think bad SAT scores could probably mean the end of my education (usually colleges award aid/scholarships to students with great scores). Maybe I want to feel important partly because I had a painful childhood and even as a child, I had to take the stress an adult would have to. I am trying to get over it as I transition into adulthood.
Though honestly, I really want to give back to my community after college. I’ve some wonderful plans in mind.

If you need to be important and be treated like a stellar student, hyper-selective universities are not the place to go. Most of the class is made up of very intelligent kids, but only 5-10% of them can be stellar students, and only a handful of these kids will have achievements so superlative that they’re considered “important.” Professors, many of them with no end of accolades in their field, aren’t likely to be impressed unless you’re among the top 1% of a student body that’s drawn from the top 0.1% of high school students.

One of the leading causes of depression and/or anxiety issues among students at top schools is the realization that everyone in their class is as smart as them - and some people are smarter. Yes, everyone should do their best. However, being a superstar at a top-flight college is not a realistic, or healthy, expectation.

Depending on your home country, your primary language and your achievements beyond the classroom, your SAT might not be a deal-breaker, but getting your CR up would make a big difference. Remember that most colleges ‘super-score’ so if you target your studying (there are lots of online resources) mostly on CR you may be able to improve it enough to at least clear 1800. Also review the marking criteria for writing and tips for managing the math part.

This is just a suggestion and may or may not be a good idea, but I’ll throw it out there.
First of all, you’re cutting it pretty close to the deadlines. In all honesty, you won’t make the deadlines for the top schools at this point. You still need to retake the SAT and take the SAT II’s to even get a chance into the top colleges. If you’re already a senior, I’d suggest taking a gap year to maybe get those test scores up to at least 2200 and and maybe take the ACT a few more times. Why are you asking this so late anyways lol? Aren’t most of the deadlines for top schools already past?

Taking a gap year to do nothing but raise test scores is fine for those who can afford it. OP’s mother earns $400 a month, so I don’t think that’s an option.

Neither Princeton nor Northwestern require SAT II scores, and Columbia will accept the ACT with writing in lieu of the SAT and SAT II scores. OP doesn’t need to submit SAT II results to have a chance anywhere. That SAT score, on the other hand, needs to go up, especially with a sub-600 score in CR. A retake of the SAT I is far more important than SAT II scores, and if she’s applying this year then the January test date is all that’s left. SAT II tests simply aren’t in the cards.

there are free prep lessons and practice tests online and in the library. And dont worry. My friend, who had better stats than you, went to a random christian college on a full scholarship and worked at Apple right after college. Yeah, it’s chasing a dream, but dont think less of yourself. I dont consider him a rags to riches type guy. Hes a hardworker and thought he wouldn’t shine at the Ivys he would have gone to. Granted, he did get better stats, suggesting his likelihood of working at Apple, but thats not the point.

I truly think being the top 5 at a lesser school is better and a lot cheaper than being the average-top 10% at a prestigious university.

Try and get 2000, its totally doable. I raised my 1800 to a 2000 in literally a week, and was scoring 22 after a few weeks. didnt get what i wanted on the actual test, but my ACT was good.

Ask me questions for both: i probably did more practice tests than anyone here.

I am a little confused @chocolates65 . I think you have missed deadlines if you are senior. How can you retake SAT and submit scores now? Your deadlines are gone, and I seriously doubt those schools will accept late scores. As it is, I honestly cannot see any of those colleges admitting you despite your good ECs and grades. Why would they, when they can easily get similar students to you that have the test scores they want? I am just trying to be honest. You are clearly a good student, but at any of those colleges, you will not be important. There will be people far more brilliant and talented. If you want to be important, get into an excellent college that will offer you admission and probably money based on your good grades. There are many. Then when you are at that college, you can be a standout student and be important.

Frankly, I find your motivation not exactly charming, but you have hardly any chance of raising your score enough by the 23rd, even if these colleges would accept them as late. There is a thread here in CC called How I raised my SAT score by 700 points. It’s been going for several years and has great tips. You can try again, but it is too late for this year to submit higher scores. And of course, SAT is changing, so maybe take the gap year and retake the ACT.

Also, you say you can’t afford college. What on earth makes you think you can afford Columbia then? Even if you got in, there is very little chance they would give you the financial aid you need because you are international. I am trying to help you see reality. Please do yourself a favor. Look at colleges in which your grades will give you a chance at merit aid, and a lot of it. You need to apply to colleges where you are well above the 75th percentile of students. You can also search for colleges tha t give aid to international students. Good luck to you.