Special Circumstances Students with Low College Entrance Exam Scores

Students with Low College Entrance Exam Scores

Students with low college entrance exam scores do have options! Bear in mind that the importance of your SAT or ACT scores almost entirely depends upon the schools to which you are applying. For example, a highly selective or prestigious school is less likely to “forgive” a low exam score than a state school.

Remember that your entrance exam scores are just one piece of your admissions profile. The majority of schools look at your high school transcript first; they want to see that you have taken challenging coursework and emphasized classes that relate to your intended major or career field (like an intended nursing major taking advanced biology, chemistry, and anatomy classes). They evaluate your GPA, class rank, and the quality of your courses.

Colleges and universities also look at how you spend your time outside of the classroom. Do you volunteer? Do you have a part-time job? Are you a dedicated athlete? Have you spent your free time in artistic pursuits like music, theater, or studio art? How have you demonstrated leadership? All of these questions provide important insight to an admissions team about the kind of person you are when you are not in class, and that is useful admissions information.

What can you do if your SAT or ACT scores are less than stellar? First, know that your issue is a common one. If there is an option for you to submit extra letters of recommendation or an additional essay, do so. Anything you can do to boost your profile and take emphasis away from those scores will only help you in the admissions process. You may also wish to call the admissions offices at your schools; developing a friendly relationship with them will be beneficial in the long run, and showing them you are really interested in attending can help as well.

You may also wish to consider SAT-optional admissions offered at some schools. Such schools allow students to skip score submission in exchange for a minimum GPA, extra writing sample, or other qualification. Check out http://fairtest.org/university/optional/state for a list of SAT-optional schools across the country (organized by state).

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