When should my SAT score completely discourage me from applying to a certain college?

<p>In short, I scored an 1840 on the SAT. This score makes me feel utterly incompetent, but deep inside I know I have the ability to succeed at various selective schools in this country. However, beyond sheer ability, I know I have the passion and desire to thrive at these institutions. Nevertheless, with a score like mine, I know applying to schools similar to Wesleyan University or Davidson College may be pointless. My matriculation into these institutions is quite possibly a forlorn hope. Am I correct? Are there quality institutions out there willing to accept me?</p>

<p>First of all, is there any reason you are not retaking it in the fall? Focused, effective study can raise your score (assuming that the 1840 was not on like your third try.)</p>

<p>Second, consider taking the ACT. Some people do significantly better on it. But that will require some study as well.</p>

<p>Third, consider applying to the test optional schools. Searching on CC may help you find them, or start a thread asking specifically about them.</p>

<p>Fourth, broaden your set of schools to consider. There are lots of mid-tier LACs where you could get a wonderful education, but the school's reputation has not quite gone national yet.</p>

<p>The right school is out there for you. But if you think your current 1840 does not truly reflect what you are capable of--do something about it.</p>

<p>Lots of good schools are happy to take kids with SATs averaging in the low 600s, especially if their grades and letters of recommendation are good. Information on average SAT scores of accepted applicants is usually on the school's admissions page. If your grades are high, you might also consider schools that are SAT-optional. Or you could see how you do on the ACT; some people do well on one exam but not on the other.</p>

<p>If you want to apply to elite schools even though your scores are not up to snuff, go ahead--you have nothing to lose but your application fee, and who knows, perhaps somebody on the admissions committee will be blown away by your wonderful essays. Just make sure you also apply to some more realistic options as well.</p>

<p>Before you panic, there are two great options that have already been mentioned--retake and test-optional schools. </p>

<p>You can retake in the fall before Regular Decision and even Early Decision deadlines (which, if you're aiming for top LACs like Davidson and Wesleyan, is a great way to boost your chances). CC has phenomenal SAT prep resources on the SAT forum. Pay special attention to xiggi and silverturtle's advice.</p>

<p>If you, for whatever reason, can't or don't want to retake, or can't get your scores to levels you're happy with, consider test-optional schools (Optional</a> List | FairTest). There are great schools like Wake Forest that have eliminated (well, made optional) tests in favor of interviews, essays, and demonstration of less objective intellect.</p>

<p>My first response is that 1840 is a good score. You've tested higher than most students. You should be proud of that. My second response is to ask what were your scores? If, for example, you did well on two section but very poorly on the third, then perhaps retaking the test is your best bet. If all of your scores were pretty much the same, then I would worry less about retaking and more about finding a good school to fit your qualifications. </p>

<p>Good luck.</p>

<p>I guess that depends on your GPA. If you have a high GPA (3.75+UW) to go with these scores then you can argue that you just aren't a good standardized test taker.</p>

<p>Regardless, in my opinion once your SATs fall below the 25th%-tile for a given school, the odds get extremely long for acceptance (unless there are extenuating circumstance). Obviously there have to be accepted students in that quartile, but you'll need to provide a compelling argument.</p>

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When should my SAT score completely discourage me from applying to a certain college?

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<p>never. If you do not apply, you cannot get in.</p>

<p>With good everything else, 1840 won't stop you from getting into Davidson or Wesleyan.</p>