Preparing for College

Oops--I Slept Through My SATs!

Question: I missed the December SAT test becuase I slept in. I had planned to take the SAT I in December and SAT II in January. Since my SAT I score from Ocotober is very bad, should I instead retake it in January and not apply to the colleges that require the SAT II? Alternatively, I could try to do superbly well on the SAT II in Januray to make up for my bad SAT I score. Are January SAT scores too late?

The vast majority of colleges and universities DO consider January SAT scores. However, it is impossible to tell you what your best strategy would be without knowing a lot more about you, your academic record, your October SAT I scores, and the colleges for which you're aiming.

If your strongest academic areas are those not tested by the SAT I (e.g., you're good at foreign language, science, history) then it might make the most sense for you to try to do extremely well on the SAT IIs in January. This will enable you to apply to a broader range of colleges and also will help offset your crummy SAT I. (Chances are, if you scored really badly in October, it's not going to improve a whole lot in three months anyway.) On the other hand, if your SAT I was really a disaster (perhaps you misnumbered your answers?), it might be worth retaking.

Depending on the colleges on your list and their deadlines, you might also consider trying the SAT I again in January and the ACT in mid-February. Most colleges with SAT II requirements will accept ACT results in their place. For those schools with SAT II requirements and later deadlines, a February ACT might work.

If you think that's a possibility, contact admission offices to double check. In doing so, however, don't mention that you snoozed through your December test date and--next time--be sure to set two alarms.