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Should I re-take the SAT and take SAT IIs?

  1. Jun 7, 2012 #1
    I am currently an undergraduate at a community college, and I would like to transfer to a high-ranking undergraduate school for my junior year if possible, but my SAT score (which is rather poor because I didn't study at all for it; 650 Math/590 English and I forgot my Writing score but my year was the guinea pig for the introduction of the essay part) is from 2005. Should I re-take the SATs and in addition take Math/Physics SAT IIs in order to be more competitive as a transfer? Or will a 4.0 in community college with possible research experience be enough to compete well?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 7, 2012 #2
    The 4.0 should be enough to be competitive. If you decide to retake the SAT, make sure the university you're applying to accepts SAT scores for transfer applicants. Transfer requirements are usually different than Freshmen.

    The 4.0 is a huge help and the research experience doesn't hurt either. I think you should do pretty well with those alone.

    Edit: Upon checking UIUC's requirements for transfer students, they require SAT scores if you have less than 30 graded credit hours. Since you say you're going to be applying for your Junior year, I wouldn't worry about it.
  4. Jun 7, 2012 #3
    Almost every single school I've researched so far (about 2-3 dozen?) requires that my SAT scores be sent to the school as a transfer applicant directly from CollegeBoard.

    MIT I believe REQUIRES transfers to have at least an SAT/ACT as well as two SAT II tests from their given pool of subject choices.

    On the other hand, a school like Caltech does not care about SAT/ACT scores for transfers, but they require a ~7 hour long (compared to the SAT's ~4) entrance exam which covers Physics/Math topics such as:

    And I've heard rumours that most of them are very, very heavily proof-based questions.

    I don't expect to be accepted into either of those schools, though I want to try anyway since it can't hurt, but I also don't know whether it'll be worth sacrificing my class time to study for the SAT/SAT IIs for one school such as MIT which I highly doubt I'd be accepted into so I really don't know if I should. But if a more current grade of a re-take is much higher than my original score and it'll help me with ALL the schools, then I think I'd be more encourage to go through with it. I just don't know how much they'll look into a very old (and horrible) SAT score of mine in comparison to my more recent grades in my math/physics classes.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2012
  5. Jun 7, 2012 #4
    Also, I think Harvard requires SAT scores from no longer than 2 or 3 years old, but I haven't contacted them to ask about it yet. Again, I don't feel like it's a likely school to transfer into since they didn't even accept transfers until recently, but if I knew I had a decent shot I would probably go for it, except the transfer admissions process seem really erratic sometimes (rejecting students with national awards and sometimes even publications, but accepting some seemingly mediocre applicants? Maybe it depends on what the school is looking for).
  6. Jun 7, 2012 #5
    CalTech's transfer process looks straightforward. See if you can get some past papers to get a sense of the exam and prepare for it. If you don't think you had sufficient preparation, ask here for suggestions.

    Well, since *you* say the schools require the SAT subject tests, it would make sense to take them. These aren't very expensive and if you have a 4.0 in physics AS, it shouldn't be hard to score 700+ on the math and physics exams. I believe the next testing dates in October and November.

    As for the SAT reasoning test, I don't know how much importance is placed on it, let alone for transfer applicants. My view is that old scores shouldn't matter much, and it's those community college years that will weigh more, as far as the academics are concerned. So, it'd make sense to take that test as well. (one in Oct, the other in Nov - that's what I'm doing) Do note that this is just an educated guess and I could well be wrong!

    It would best serve your interests if you ask successful community college transfer students whether they (re?)took the standardised tests. I can imagine that the essays would be important as well. Twofish and Vanadium went to MIT. If you search the forums through Google, you may find some useful information.

    Actually, just e-mail the colleges you're looking at and ask them! Do go through their websites first!
  7. Jun 9, 2012 #6
    I think it would make sense to take the SAT since you could probably score at least 700-750 in all sections, which is better than most students at most schools.
  8. Jun 10, 2012 #7
    Where do you live? Community college transfers to schools like UCLA and UC Berkeley do not require SAT scores.

    It is indeed a long shot to get into schools like MIT from CC. If it's been your life's dream to go there then yeah, I would retake the SATs and apply. It doesn't hurt to try. But don't be disappointed if you aren't accepted. Isn't the number of accepted people from community college incredibly low (like less than 30 in a particular year)?

    In the end you could always transfer to the top state school near you and then do postgraduate work at MIT like this guy:

    He went from CC to UCLA to MIT. There's an article about him on page 2 of this pdf file. You might find it interesting or even motivational.
    http://www.econ.ucla.edu/community/Spring 12 Newsletter.pdf

    Good luck!
  9. Jun 10, 2012 #8
    I live in NYC.

    UCLA doesn't have a bad ranking in Physics either; probably like top 25 or something, right? (I'm using ARWU.)

    The only "top state schools" near me are both Ivy League (Cornell and Columbia). There's no other schools here that are ranked anywhere near the top 100. (Again, based solely on ARWU.)

    California seems to have a very smooth school system, especially with ASSIST which facilitates the transition between Californian schools. They have a lot of great school choices as well compared to NY, at least that's how it appears on the surface. I wish I was a Californian resident.

    I think the number of accepted transfer students from out-of-state is more like half a dozen or something, so yeah...I guess I'll have to be sure to have some solid fallback plans.
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