Test Prep

Should Applicant Send SAT Scores When Math is High but Verbal Isn't?


I have a question about SAT scores. My son had the chance to take the SAT twice, which I know is a luxury right now. Both times, his English was significantly lower than his math (English was in the mid 500s, Math was in the high 700s). So his composite score is over 1300, which is above the median at most of his goal schools, but we aren't sure if he should send it since they'll see how low the English was. Should we send a score that shows he's not strong in English? His planned major is business and all of his schools are test optional.

First a disclaimer: "The Dean" feels it's not entirely responsible to respond to this question without knowing a lot more about your son's overall profile or about his specific college goals. But, even so, I'll forge ahead.

Because your son's math SAT is strong — probably well above his target colleges' medians for math — and because he's interested in a business major (where quantitative skills are valued), it makes sense for him to submit his test scores despite the less impressive English results.

Although his score on that portion of the test may be below his colleges' midpoints, the number is still sufficiently strong so that it won't raise any flags suggesting that your son might struggle with Reading and Writing. So, my advice is for your son to send his SAT scores as long as the total of Math + Verbal doesn't put him below a college's median.

Admission issues like this one can indeed be confusing, and I wish you luck with with the additional confusion that's likely still to come!

About the Ask the Dean Column

Sally Rubenstone is a veteran of the college admissions process and is the co-author of three books covering admissions. She worked as a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years and has also served as an independent college counselor, in addition to working as a senior advisor at College Confidential since 2002. If you'd like to submit a question to The Dean please email us at editorial@collegeconfidential.com.

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