Low SAT scores are not the death knoll to getting accepted into a good college. Here are some tips for helping your teen get accepted into a good college.
1. Retake the exam. Depending on when the applications are due, If your teen has the time to re-take the exam, it should be done. Your teen should take a qualified review course. Simply taking the exam again without additional preparation isn’t likely to increase the score very much. Most colleges will consider only the highest score, and with Score Choice, your teen can submit the scores from the best exam date.
2. Take the ACT. The exams are very different, and your teen might perform much better on this exam. The SAT is an aptitude test meant to measure your reasoning and verbal abilities, while the ACT is an achievement test designed to measure what you’ve learned in school. Almost all colleges accept either exam, so check to see if the ACT is an acceptable alternative.
3. Compensate with Other Strengths. Most selective colleges have many factors when determining admission. They are evaluating all of your strengths and weaknesses, not just relying on cold empirical data. If the SAT scores are a little below average for a college, your teen can still be accepted if the rest of the application shows great promise. All of the following can compensate for lower SAT scores:
- A strong academic record
- Glowing letters of recommendation
- Interesting extracurricular activities
- A winning application essay
- A strong college interview
4. Explore test-optional colleges. There are over 800 colleges that don’t require test scores. Every year, more and more schools have come to realize that the exam favors privileged students, and that your teen’s academic record is a better predictor of college success than SAT scores. Some highly selective colleges are test optional.
5. Find Schools Where Bad Scores are Good. The hype surrounding college admissions might have you believing that you need a 2300 on the SAT to get into a good college. The reality is quite different. The United States has hundreds of excellent colleges where an average score of about 1500 is perfectly acceptable. Is your teen below 1500? — Many good colleges are happy to admit students with below average scores. Identify colleges where your teens test scores seem to be in line with typical applicants.
Excerpted from Allen Grove, About.com Guide