Preparing for College

Do 8th-Grade SATs Count?

Question: I am a high school junior who just decided (mid-November) to graduate early and go to college next September. Since this decision is brand-new, I did not take SATs this fall. However, I did take them in 8th grade, and my scores are at the top of my college's middle-50% range. Will these scores still count?

It sounds as if you have a specific college in mind, so I suggest that you contact the admission office at that school right away by telephone. First ask to speak to the representative who handles your high school, but if he or she isn't available, any staff member should be able to help you.

Most colleges prefer that official SATs be taken junior or senior year although very occasionally applicants submit only scores from sophomore year. However, because your 8th grade scores were so good, and due to the unusual circumstances, your top-choice college may be willing to accept them. You will have to order your scores from the College Board archives.

Your scores are considered "statistically relevant" for five years, so you do make the cut-off (Note, however, that test scores you received before 9th grade are deleted from your record automatically unless you notify the College Board by June of the year you took the test to request that your scores be saved.)

Nonetheless, your target-college admission officer will probably also tell you that it is not too late to register for January SATs (or even to take the December SATs as a walk-in). If the application deadline is prior to the January test date, most colleges will still include January test results in their applicant evaluations, and I suspect that the college will prefer you to re-test.

There are a couple other points you should consider, too:

-Does your top-choice college require the SAT II Subject Tests? If so, you will still need to take those.

-You should explain to admission officers why you are submitting 8th-grade test results. You will have to point out that you didn't take the SATs this fall because you hadn't planned on graduating early, but now you've changed your mind. Some admission officials may be concerned by this 11th-hour decision. Leaving high school after junior year is a MAJOR move, and they'll want compelling reasons from you for doing it. So be prepared to explain why you feel you are ready to go to college ahead of time and also why you didn't decide on this sooner.

Good luck. Hope your new plans work out for you.