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SAT and College Admissions

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SAT and College Admissions

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[edit section] SAT and College Admissions

The SAT is a college entrance test like no other. It is designed to determine your intelligence and aptitude for rational thinking. The College Board, an association of colleges from Harvard to SUNY, determines the content and questions that the SAT will feature. Therefore, most colleges hold SAT scores in a high esteem.

The way that colleges view SAT scores varies from school to school, but here is a basic rundown:

[edit section] Third-Tier Schools

State and public schools, along with some private schools, ask you for an SAT score while giving you the "cutoff" score for entrance. Generally speaking, a school that offers such a "cutoff" score is unlikely to consider an application with a score lower than the "cutoff," but is likely to view an application with a very high score in a very high regard. That is, a high score is most effective at a less selective institution.

[edit section] Second-Tier Schools

Elite public schools and most private schools do not offer cutoff scores, but they have their own internal guidelines for cutoff scoring. Most of these schools consider applications with low scores somewhat negatively but leave room for consideration of other factors, such as athletic prowess or academic achievements. On the other end, these schools receive more high scores so high scores are not held in such a high regard. Still, high scores do hold merit in and of themselves.

[edit section] First-Tier Schools

Elite private schools such as the Ivy League schools, Stanford, Duke, and other well-known universities do not publish a cutoff score. They are very likely to consider the totality of an applicant (with regard to features other than his score) because they receive mainly applications with higher scores. These institutions are very unlikely to admit an applicant on the basis of his high scores alone; in fact, Harvard routinely rejects 2400 scorers.

[edit section] Summary

Of course, there are no guarantees in college admissions, particularly to elite schools. SAT scores are meaningful, but they represent only one component out of many that comprise an applicant. Therefore, the applicant should not singularly focus on his SAT scores, but rather, the totality of his application. This includes: SAT scores, SAT II scores, GPA/Rank, Course Strength, AP Tests, Extracurricular activities, Sports, Music, etc. Take the SAT seriously, but remember that it too has limitations!

[edit section] See Also: Other SAT Articles

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SAT Myths

SAT and College Admissions

Improving Your SAT Score

Why Take the SAT?

What to Expect on Test Day

New SAT vs. Old SAT


SAT Subject Testing

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