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How To Get Accepted Into College With Low SAT Scores

Written by CB Experts

You’ve been dreaming of going to college since you can remember. Maybe you’ve always had one specific school in mind, or you don’t care which school as long as you get into the program you want. Either way, you’ve been envisioning it, planning for it, and working hard for it. You’ve aced your way through high school, with a GPA you’re proud of, ready to send in your application when you get your SAT scores back: oh no.

How could this have happened? You’re an honors student; you prepared and you studied. And yet your SAT scores are telling a different story. You start to panic. You think you’ve lost your chances at getting into college, or at least the college you wanted.

Fear not. While low SAT scores suck, they do not signify the end, and we are here to help you keep your hopes up.

We’ve compiled the following list to help you figure out how to get accepted into college with low SAT scores.

Take The ACT

All colleges accept both the SAT and the ACT exams. If you scored poorly on the SAT, a great option is to take the ACT. The ACT is a subject driven exam, more similarly structured to an in-school exam. If you score well on the ACT, you can submit those scores rather than your SAT scores.

Research Test Optional Colleges

Many colleges are moving towards a less test-focused admission. They accept admissions with or without SAT scores and focus primarily on the applicant’s transcripts, referrals, recommendations, etc.

Improve Your Extracurricular

Colleges aren’t only looking at your grades and your test scores. They want to see how you are involved in activities, either through school or around the community. Join clubs at your school, try out for sports teams, volunteer on the weekends, sign up for music or dance lessons, etc.

Provide Exceptional Letters of Recommendation

Quality is better than quantity. One amazing recommendation letter is better than multiple generic letters. Ask for a recommendation letter from a counselor, a teacher, a coach, an employer, etc.

Sit and talk with whoever is writing your recommendation. Remind them of your achievements, challenges you’ve overcome, what you are passionate about, etc. Give them the information they need to write a unique, detailed, and example filled recommendation letter.

Meet With Admissions Representatives

Admissions representatives for each college are often assigned certain areas which means there is a good chance you will encounter them in your high school at one point or another. They are typically the first ones to read over your application, and if you have made a point to meet with them and have made a lasting impressions (of the good sorts), they may advocate for you throughout the admissions process.

Be Creative!

If you are not confident that a cut-dry, black and white application will be enough for your desired college to choose you, especially if it is because your SAT scores are low, you need to send in an application that stands out. You need to catch their attention, spark their interest, and make them remember you. A great way to do this is through a creative cover letter.

Start Packing

By following these tips, you’ll be heading off to college in no time, despite those low SAT scores that haunted your dreams. There are many ways to impress your college of choice without those sky-high scores that people put so much emphasis on.

By replacing your SAT with the ACT, making good, lasting impressions through face-to-face meetings, creative applications, and outstanding recommendations, or by simply applying to colleges that don’t take the SATs into consideration, getting accepted into college with low SAT scores should be nothing to worry about.

About the author

CB Experts

Content created by retired College Admissions consultants.