Taking SAT first time senior year

In order for you to apply to college, you must take either an SAT or ACT. You will need to supply your scores on your application and more than one is always better.

You can take your SAT for the first time senior year. Don’t leave it too late to jeopardize your college application. You can take it as early as freshman year.

Nearly finished high school and your whole future is ahead of you. So why are you only now thinking of SAT? Don’t panic. All is certainly not lost. Here’s what you need to do.

  1. So much opportunity
  2. What colleges look for
  3. Can I go to college without an SAT
  4. What if I am too late?
  5. Why have you left it until Senior Year?

So Much Opportunity

Two options

If you are already in senior year then you need to get your skates on. There is still time to sit for an SAT and finalize your college application. If your college plans include Early Decision then you can take the one in late August and still have enough time to take another in October. If you are planning Regular Decision, I still recommend the August test but if you have missed that there are three still available – October, November, and December.

If you are not in Senior Year and just thinking about leaving taking the test until senior year, I strongly advise that you don’t.

The SAT is offered 7 times a year. It’s a good idea to start thinking about taking it for the first time in the Spring of Junior Year. At this time you should have covered enough coursework to sit your first SAT comfortably. You can sit the SAT as many times as you like (unlike the ACT) however it’s not a good idea as all scores (well the last 6) are recorded. Taking it over and over strikes a little desperation and is realistically unnecessary. Unless you have anxiety issues while taking your test, 2-3 times should be plenty. It should settle you in and also see an improvement in your score.

In relation to this, you may also be interested to read my post should I take both the SAT and the ACT?

What do Colleges look for in SAT scores?

In most college applications you must submit an SAT or ACT score. Colleges use these scores to see how students from different schools rate against each other. Your score outlines your strengths (and weaknesses) for subjects you will take in college. It helps them streamline different students into different classes.

If you decide to only take the SAT once then this limits the college to know your full ability. It also gives the impression that you’re not really bothered – unless of course, you scored the perfect score. But submitting just one can lead them to believe you’re just not that interested.

They all want students that are going to work hard and persevere. The dropout rate in freshman year is approximately 30%.

Although there are many strands to your application, your test scores could well be what determines your scholarship outcome. Even if you have not applied for a scholarship, if you attain a certain score you will receive it anyway.

The last thing to note about colleges is that all colleges don’t read scores the same way. Some require that you submit all your scores. Others look at the highest combined scores from one test day and then others still, will look at your highest score from any day you took the test. Research the colleges you have applied to, to see what way they view your scores.

Can I go to college without an SAT?

Nearly all four-year courses in colleges require either SAT or ACT scores. It’s understandable as they have a level playing field for everyone. You submit it along with everyone else. Obviously, it’s only a part of your application, but it is important.

However! There are a number of Universities (67 at last count) that do not require any test scores and 900+ have the ‘test optional’ policy. This doesn’t mean you are off the hook. If you are applying through this option, the school will most likely be looking for a portfolio of creativeness, photography, writing or a GPA score in the top 20% of their graduating class.

What is a good GPA? is another one of my posts that you may like to read.

There are of course other routes available. Community college is a fantastic stepping stone for college. It allows you to register with little or no scores. You may have to complete a reading +/or math test, but this is only to see if you require extra help. Community college also allows you to have a job as many classes can be caught up online. Once you have completed your associate degree you can then register for a four-year university degree.

What if I am too late?

If you suddenly decide that in your senior year you do actually want to go to college, the very first thing you need to check is there a test center available to sit a test. There are only a certain amount of places available on a test day and it may already be full. Also, you need to bear in mind that results take 6 weeks to process. If this is the last one available, you won’t be able to sit another and also will only have the option of applying to certain schools as you have missed even the regular decision deadline of January 1st. (February 1/15 is an option for some schools). Rolling admission is available but these fill on a first come first served basis so these may also be full.

However, as I said many schools are now moving away from SAT requirements, so not having test scores may be ok.

If on the other hand you have your heart set on a particular school and now are too late for the admissions process then there are options still available. My advice would be to defer going to college for a year. Get yourself a job to save some money and do the SAT without rush or stress. You’ll still need to study but the end result will more than likely see you in your dream school, it is just going to take a little longer.

Getting into college after a gap year is another one of my posts that will tell you all you need to know about this year out.

Why have you left it so late?

There are many and several reasons why you have left sitting your SAT so late. These can range from lack of confidence, illness, and family issues. Whatever the reason, don’t let it put you off. There’s always an option available. Don’t allow anyone to tell you there’s not enough time. This is your education, your whole future timeline that’s at stake. There is a whole range of people willing to guide you and help you achieve. Go speak to teachers or counselors in school. They are only too happy to help you.

Explain for whatever reason why you have left it so late, even if that reason is none other than you’ve just decided that college is in fact for you. They can get the ball rolling and as I said if you are past all deadlines then defer or apply to a community college.

There’s always a way to pursue a dream.

Tara Cunningham

Tara Cunningham is a Mum and Graphic Designer. My children's education has always been very important to me. I feel that if you are willing to put in the time they will appreciate the effort. I hope that you find our thoughts and ideas useful and interesting.

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