Admissions

More SAT's for High-Scoring Frosh?

Question:

My daughter who is a high school freshmen just took the SAT and scored a 2310.  Will colleges accept this score as a freshmen if she decides not to take the test again or if she doesn’t top this score?  How do you think elite colleges will view the fact that she achieved such a high score as a freshmen?  And finally, will the new SAT in 2016 complicate matters?

Colleges will typically accept SAT scores that are up to five years old, so your daughter’s freshman scores should be fine in that respect. The admission officials at “elite” colleges will note that your daughter achieved these high scores at a young age, and this will be impressive. Presumably, she will also take two or more SAT Subject Tests in the years ahead, so colleges will have some newer scores to consider in addition to the 9th-grade scores. However, my vote would be for her to test one more time down the road. Why?


Here’s where she may run into problems:

  1. THE NEW TEST: I expect colleges to accept both the old and new SAT equally, but I can’t predict if some schools will insist on the new one for all candidates by the time your daughter is ready to apply.

  1. NATIONAL MERIT:  If your daughter scores well on her 11th-grade PSAT’s (which seems highly likely, given her freshman SAT scores), she will be in the running to be a National Merit Finalist. The National Merit program requires that students submit SAT scores from 10th, 11th, or 12th grades. So, unless this changes, your daughter will need to re-take the SAT’s to stay in the National Merit running.

  1. TRANSFERRING: In the event that your daughter decides to transfer out of the college she initially attends, her transfer college may require SAT scores, and the freshman scores may be considered too old by the time she applies to transfer. This is a very unlikely scenario, but it did come to mind and thus I thought it was worth mentioning.

Although, as noted above, admission officials will find your daughter’s freshman scores impressive, most would probably prefer to see one set of scores from later on in her high school career. I’m not a big fan of over-testing but I do think that it makes sense for her to test one more time. If she takes practice versions of the new SAT and doesn’t like it, she can always take the ACT and not the SAT. That’s what my son did. He’s a senior this year and he never took the SAT at all. I recognized that science is his strong suit and vocabulary is his Achilles heel. So, because the ACT has a science section but no vocab words, I told him that the ACT was a better fit. He took it just once and that was it. So this could be something you could consider for your daughter, too, when the time comes. However, the ACT does not satisfy the National Merit requirement, so do keep that in mind as you chart your daughter’s testing course for the years ahead.