Preparing for College

Should 34-Year-Old College Applicant Retake SAT's?

Question: I'm 34 with an AS in Music/Fine Arts. I am looking to apply to top schools for a psychology degree. My AS grades are good, but my ACT and SAT scores are not. Should I retake those tests anyway?

I'm not clear from your message if the ACT and SAT scores you're talking about are your old ones from your high school days or more recent ones. So I'll start by assuming that you're referring to tests from high school. Because of your "advanced years," many colleges will pay only minimal attention to these scores, if you do submit them, putting far more emphasis on your college record. In fact, some colleges with a testing requirement for transfers will waive it for non-traditional students like you. BUT ... if you want to take the tests again to raise your scores, and if you feel fairly confident that you'll do better this time around, then you should give them a shot. Personally, by the time I was 15 years out of high school, I think I would have bombed the math portion of the exam (even though I did pretty well on it at 16) had someone forced me to take it again. So, if you really don't wish to retest, you can ask the transfer admission officer at your target colleges whether you need to submit new test scores and also how much weight will be put on your old ones if you don't. (And if the transfer counselor says you don't need new scores, you can always take the tests anyway and then submit your results only if you're pleased.)

If, however, your SAT's or ACT's are fairly new, and you're unhappy with the results, then you should strongly consider trying them once more.

Good luck to you as you navigate this maze. I tend to feel that college, like youth, can be wasted on the young. Students in their 30's (or above) are often more focused and mature and truly ready to benefit from their education.