Current SAT Score Sufficient?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by TheAspiringWon, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. TheAspiringWon

    TheAspiringWon Member

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    Hello everyone,

    Today I have a question that's been sparking a debate in my head for the past couple of days. And I wish to ask you -- fellow applicants/admission wizards:) -- for your opinion on the following situation.

    As a lot of you may know, College Board has changed their SAT format drastically, thus causing many confusions among many students. On the May SAT, I scored a 1450 out of 1600. Here's where my predicament comes in: I'm not entirely sure if I should focus on the SAT in hopes for a 1500+, or if I should focus more on the overall application (ECs, nomination letters, etc). I've read on various websites that the average SAT Reading + Math score for USAFA is ~1317, but I'm not sure if my current 1450 will be okay.

    Thank you very much all in advance. I know that the decision is, of course, for me to make but I would like to ask you guys for some suggestions/advice. Thank you!!
     
  2. FalconsRock

    FalconsRock Parent

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    Your score could use improvement. SAT scores are important. You don't say what your math or English sub scores are, but if you reached an 800 English and 650 math, you may be average, but most of your competition will be above average. I would also recommend taking the ACT as well. People generally do better on one or the other. Don't forget that USAFA super scores and takes the best score of each test you take. Bottom line, put your best package together as possible. Goo luck to you.
     
  3. wildblueyonder

    wildblueyonder USAFA '19

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    Congrats! 1450 is a great score, and you should be proud of it. It sounds like you are in a good situation as far as standardized tests go.

    Having said that, in the context of an Academy application, I think the "resting on your laurels effect" (whether intentional or unintentional) can be quite dangerous for even the most qualified hopefuls. I would not be satisfied if I were you--not because a 1450 isn't a good score (it is), but because it seems quite likely that you can do even better. As FalconsRock said, take the ACT too; you may end up scoring even higher than on the SAT.

    One of the things I tried to do toward the end of high school is constantly look for ways to improve my application. I was never fully satisfied with my resume and kept searching for that extra "edge". While it's important to avoid the trap of resume padding at the expense of academics or your main XC's, there's nothing wrong with continually "loading" your application with as many beneficial activities as you successfully can. I would suggest doing this in all areas of your application, including standardized tests.

    A final thing to consider: in many ways, applying to an SA is similar to playing a game. You have to "sell yourself" convincingly, both verbally and on paper. There are thousands of other applicants who are playing the same game with similar chips. To be successful, you need to outplay your competition and focus on seeking out every legitimate advantage you can, even if that advantage is a "mere" 50 points on a standardized test.

    Good luck, keep working hard, and please feel free to PM me if you would like.
     
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  4. LindaTW

    LindaTW New Member

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    LM
    Did you write the SAT essay?
     
  5. TheAspiringWon

    TheAspiringWon Member

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    Yes. I got 7/7/7.
     
  6. Alaskan

    Alaskan Member

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    You obviously aren't familiar with the new SAT. The scores mentioned above are far above "average" and rank in the top 5% nationwide.
     
  7. Swag

    Swag Member

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    Wow! With that score you can apply anywhere you want! I bet you will have a difficult time finding anyone who scored even close...Congratulations!
     
  8. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    You should keep taking it until you score 800/800. There. Now you know. (Ask ChristCorp and PIMA - they'll back me on this!)

    Why aim for 1500? Aim for 1600.
     
  9. DTrain1986

    DTrain1986 Member

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    Remember that SA's are looking at the "whole" person, rather than any single piece of the mozaic.

    How are all the other elements of your package looking? What is your CFA score? GPA? Course load? Have you given your teachers a "heads-up" regarding evaluations and recommendations. Have you started/completed nomination applications with your senators and representative? Are you playing a fall sport and/or participating in another activity?

    All of these things take time.

    You are making a "return on investment" decision. How are you going to invest your time?

    I have never been a member of a SA selection board. But I have been around long enough to know that boards of this type have their own "personality" and will make some "head-scratcher" decisions - as in decisions that we on the "outside" don't get, but to board members make perfect sense. Just the way it is.

    For the overwhelming majority of applicants who receive appointments, I suspect there is no one element that gets you in. If you are banking on SAT scores to make-up for significant weaknesses elsewhere, probably not gonna happen.

    If you took the SAT only once, I recommend taking it again just to see what happens. If you've taken it several times and your scores are all close, you've probably reached the point of diminishing returns. Higher scores would mean investing in "high-end" SAT prep instruction.

    Based on your SAT scores, which are more than 100 points higher than USAFA recent historical mean, I would focus on physical fitness (improve CFA) and learning in a rigorous academic environment (improve GPA). At least with those areas you gain something that can be useful for life. SAT scores are useless after you leave HS and get into college.

    Semper Fi,
    DTrain
     
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  10. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    1450 is a heck of a score. There is no guarantee, with a 1450, or a 1600. Either one with a solid package stands a great chance of earning an appointment. IMHO
     
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  11. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    As an ALO, I will tell you what I tell all of my candidates: ONLY YOU can decide whether or not you're satisfied with any part of your application such that you don't look at it again.

    That being said, are you completely satisfied with your score?

    If I were your ALO, here's my input: 1450 is nice; but how is it broken out? Once I know that, I have a better "feel" for your standing IMHO...but remember, ONLY USAFA/RRS knows the "down and dirty" about the absolute standings and in my 22 years of being an ALO...they're still not sharing.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     

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