Preparing for College

College with So-So SAT Scores?

Question: I currently have 1130 on my SAT I and an ACT score of 24. Should I just forget about college or are those scores good enough to go somewhere? If so, then what are those places?


We don't know where you live, who your friends are, or what you read (hopefully not the College Confidential discussion board ... at least in this case!) that left you with the impression that you are not college material. Your scores are fine--well within the norms of many colleges and universities ... including quite reputable ones. There are so many, in fact, that it would be impossible to give you a complete list.

How do you find these places? For starters, you can go to the College Board site (www.collegeboard.com) and click on "Advanced Search." (It should be under "Students" on the left-hand side of your screen.) Next, fill out the questionnaire by selecting your preferences regarding type of college, size, location, majors, activities, etc. When you get to the section called "Admissions," find the spot where you are asked for test scores, and you can type yours in. That way, when you click on "results" at the end, you'll get a list of institutions that will welcome students with scores in your range.

You can also get your hands on general college guidebooks and thumb through the pages looking for each institution's average test scores. We think you'll find it reassuring to see how many schools admit students with SATs and ACTs well below yours.

You might also want to consider colleges that have no testing requirement. You will find an up-to-date list of more than 700 bachelors-degree granting, accredited institutions which do not consider test scores in admitting substantial portions of their entering classes at: http://www.fairtest.org/optinit.htm . We bet you recognize a number of names on this list, and that number continues to grow.

Keep in mind, however, that your scores are not low, and they will certainly not keep you out of many good colleges. If your grades are strong, that list of choices will be even broader.