The new May SAT scores were released today. Most of the May test-takers are juniors in the midst of visiting colleges and deciding where to submit applications, and for many of them the scores are lower than they had hoped. If you’re in this situation, you still have time to improve your situation and there are lots of options for students with less-than-ideal test scores.
Take the test again. Most students who take the SAT more than once find that their scores improve. You should absolutely take the test again in January.
Take the ACT. Every college-bound junior should take the ACT, another college admissions test. The ACT has four sections (English, Math, Science and Reading) and an option Writing test. There are charts that compare equivalent scores on the two tests. Most students earn ACT scores that compare equivalently to the SAT, but some students have significantly higher ACT scores. If that’s you you’ll be glad you took my advice: Take the ACT.
Read this: Should you take the SAT or ACT?
Take a Test-Prep Course. Familiarity with test and question format as well as test-taking strategies can significantly improve your score. If you have time, consider enrolling in an SAT prep course or hiring a tutor over the summer. Your options here are immense: free online programs, SAT prep book ($30), private tutor ($30 – $200/session) enrolling in a course ($250 – $2000).
Look for Colleges and Universities in Your SAT Range. Go to the College Board’s Big Future site and search for schools look for students with your SAT scores. Search for schools on your list and see what scores they look for. Remember: the College Board lists the middle fifty percent of SAT scores, meaning 25% are higher than that range and 25% are lower. If your score isn’t within the published range you still have a chance, but if your score is much lower, it’s probably a long-shot.
Explore Test-Optional Schools. There is a movement at many schools, including some of the most competitive colleges and universities, to de-emphasize standardized tests in the admissions process. Some eliminate them from consideration altogether. Check out the test-optional schools. Keep in mind, though, that test-optional doesn’t mean sure acceptance!