SAT 2016

CHAPTER 1

ATTACKING THE NEW SAT: TWELVE FAQs

  5 WHAT WILL COLLEGES DO WITH MY SAT SCORES?

Your SAT scores show colleges how ready you are to do college-level work. Students with high SAT scores are more likely to succeed with the challenging college-level math, writing, and reading assignments. Recent studies have also shown that SAT scores correlate strongly with post-college success, particularly in professions like medicine, law, the humanities, the sciences, and engineering. Students with high SAT scores are more likely to graduate from college and to have successful careers after college.

But let’s face it: one reason colleges want you to send them SAT scores is that high scores make them look good. The higher the average SAT score of their applicants, the better their rankings and prestige. This is why most colleges cherry-pick your top subscores if you submit multiple SAT results. (It’s also why some colleges have adopted “SAT-optional” policies: only the high-scoring students are likely to submit them, and so the college’s average scores automatically increase, thereby improving its national rankings.) In addition to your SAT scores, most good colleges are interested in your grades, your curriculum, your recommendations, your leadership skills, your extracurricular activities, and your essay. But standardized test scores are becoming more important as colleges become more selective. Without exception, high SAT scores will provide you with an admission advantage, even if the college does not require them. Some large or specialized schools will weigh test scores heavily. If you have any questions about how heavily a certain college weighs your SAT scores, call the admissions office and ask.

The majority of colleges “superscore” your SAT, which means that they cherry-pick your top SAT Reading and Writing score and your top SAT Math score from all of the SATs you submit. So, for instance, if you submit your March SAT scores of 520R 610M (1130 composite) and your June SAT scores of 550R 580M (1130 composite), the college will consider your SAT score to be 550R 610M (1160 composite). Nice of them, huh?