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Where will my 2140 SAT score bring me?

  1. May 24, 2008 #1
    i got 680 - critical reading, 680 - writing and 780 - maths.

    i have no idea to which type of college to apply... do i have a chance with top colleges, considering that i have nice extracurriculars + a nice essay + nice school marks?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 24, 2008 #2
    It's a start, but the best colleges are going to weigh much more strongly the quality of the extracurriculars as far as your involvement in them, your essay and non-fluff recommendations.

    Let's face it-- transcripts, standardized test scores and many letters of recommendation are so inflated as to make it hard to stand out even if you excel in all of those areas.

    Transcript-- letter grades are inflated in high school due to pressure from parents. It has gotten to the point where a B represents a complete failure to master the material and A merely means competent.

    Recommendations-- most teachers overly praise students regardless of their actual merit. Most likely it's not to be sued.

    SAT/ACT-- can be mastered by just studying the prep books and retaking it several times.

    Extracurriculars-- if you fill your time up with many minimal involvement clubs it won't look great. But one of the easier commitments-- NHS you need to have.

    Your essay is your chance to shine provided that it doesn't sound cliche, generic or following a formula/template from the web.

    Anyway the point is that even with high marks it's easy to still be lost in the crowd and not stand out.
  4. May 24, 2008 #3
    Very high maths score, if I remember the scoring bounds correctly (never bothered to take it...). Percentile scores would really make more sense to me and be better for comparison purposes. Look at the average score for accepted applicants at the schools you're interested in.
  5. May 24, 2008 #4

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    Kushal, I'm afraid that isn't how it works. Test scores count for perhaps 20% of the weighting of all your factors, at least at the most competitive schools. (Some less competitive schools will accept anyone in their state above a threshold) The top schools have accepted many students with lower scores than yours, and rejected many students with higher scores.

    Have you talked to your guidance counselor?
  6. May 24, 2008 #5
    errmmmm we don't have a guidance counselor. i live in mauritius(international student)..

    my percentiles are: 94% critical reading, 93% writing and 99% maths...

    my extracurricular are: Model United Nations - Best delegation, Civic Action Team (doing something for the benefit of your school) - 2nd team, National Science competition - in the finals, School magazine (it's published once a year, and it requires a lot of work, i guess it counts!!) and i was prefect and student council representative and class captain,...

    I also won an award as the top of the world student in Computer Studies(cambridge international examinations)

    please, tell me where i stand.....

    you are totally right DavidWhitbeck, this business is really difficult...
  7. May 24, 2008 #6
    Yeah, stop worrying about scores so much then. Continue keeping your grades up and start working on essay revisions, it's only real thing to bother with at this point. Well, that and scholarship applications.
  8. May 24, 2008 #7
    thnks Asphodel :)
  9. May 24, 2008 #8
    Don't worry much about SAT scores: you're in a range that any top school will be fine with. If it's your first time, I would recommend taking it again to try to raise it, but it seriously isn't a big concern.

    Other more significant considerations for top schools:

    Your transcript is the most important part of your application--far, far more important than standardized tests at top schools. You need to have taken the most challenging courses your school offers (everything honors, and whatever AP/IB courses your school offers. If it doesn't offer (m)any, find some other way to learn more: self-study or community college courses would work for this). Top schools want academically well-rounded students, not students that take "easy" courses. The courses you take are more important than your GPA, though your GPA still matters. Top schools tend to have average unweighted GPAs around 3.7-3.9. Again, students get in with lower GPAs and get rejected with 4.0s.

    Letters of recommendation are very important. This is often the third most-significant part of your application after your transcript and essay.

    Your extracurriculars need to show passion, not a laundry list. You need to show that you are passionate about whatever it is you're passionate about and that you actively pursue that passion. Your community involvement reflects your character and ability to give back to the community. Number doesn't matter: if you were amazing at 2 extracurriculars and did nothing else it's considerably more impressive than doing 20 extracurriculars at the average level. Leadership of course matters as well.

    The essay is extremely important at any top school: most applicants have great grades, strong letters of recommendation, and substantial extracurricular and community involvement. Your essay is the most intimate view of who you are. This could easily make or break your application, and is largely what makes admissions to top schools so seemingly random and unpredictable. They're not unpredictable: many people simply write well-written, but largely unimpressive essays. You need to write well, but more importantly, you need to say something interesting. This applies most specifically to the top of the top schools that have an abundance of 4.0/2400 rejections, like Harvard.

    Anyway, best of luck in this rather stressful process. Keep your hopes high and remember to find schools that aren't "elite" that you would still love to attend: there are plenty of fantastic schools out there, regardless of what US News says :smile: Don't feel disheartened: as much as it may seem like it, no applicant to these schools is perfect. You definitely have a shot, especially if you're open-minded about what constitutes a "top school."
    Last edited: May 24, 2008
  10. May 25, 2008 #9
    Yeah...mine wasn't anything near that, and I was still accepted to most everywhere I applied. Given, I wasn't aiming at some of the high-priced private institutions for financial reasons, but most admissions policies try to take a well-rounded approach. Also, high school GPAs are hella easy to pad out and a very unreliable predictor of how badly your first few quarters of college are going to turn out or if you'll stick with it and adapt.

    The high first-year drop-out rate and non-finish rate are pretty serious concerns, especially with colleges becoming increasingly overcrowded. The essay gives you a chance to show them that you have clear and realistic goals that you're strongly motivated about - even if you have no concrete major or career plans, and it's just something simple like learning more and getting a better exposure to different concepts. The whole "extracurriculars" thing...well, people try to use it a lot to impress the people reviewing the applications, but they've seen that stuff over and over. It's nice to stick a few things on there to impress, especially if they're relevant to your intended program of study, but it's also there to show them that you have reasonable outlets for stress and such so that you're more likely to stick it out when things get rough instead of going bonkers.
  11. May 25, 2008 #10
    hey...thanks a lot for the advice.... it really helps!! :)

    i think they are the best i ever received...
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