More weight - SAT scores or college grades?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Raseo1Son, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. Raseo1Son

    Raseo1Son Member

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    My son was QNS for the Class of '17 and is re-applying. At this point he has taken the SAT three times and the ACT 4 times with the following results: Math 700/30, English 610/31. He'll attend a 4-year college starting next month, taking Calculus, Chemistry w/Lab, American Hist., English Lit., & ROTC Leadership for a total of 18 credit hours.

    After reading some recent posts here about SAT/ACT scores, he asked me about trying a different prep course and retaking one or both of the tests this fall. I told him that at this point I think the Academy will be far more interested in his actual first semester grades than scores on a test that tries to predict college performance. If that's the case, I'd rather see his focus on classwork rather than test prep and stress. So, I wanted to get opinions from some of you who have more experience with how the Admissions staff looks at things - am I right in thinking real-world will trump test scores? As always, thanks for any advice or insights.
     
  2. rudyinok

    rudyinok Member

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    I don't have any answers for you, but I'm wondering if you know the limiting factor (s) from last years' application? Did he lack a nomination or was he deemed not academically competitive by the academy? do you know? just curious for ds's own application in progress...
     
  3. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Actual college freshman grades from actual college freshman courses count more than a prediction of college freshman aptitude, which is all the SAT and ACT are.
     
  4. Raseo1Son

    Raseo1Son Member

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    He was nominated by our Congressman, and was triple-Q'd as well - so from what I understand that means he was bested by another candidate from our district and then again in the national pool.
     
  5. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

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    I would tread very carefully here. Unless you are currently on the United States Naval Academy admissions board then your statement is just one guy's opinion.
     
  6. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    One of the most critical factors in admissions is your h.s. class rank. It is more important than grades per se.

    Scores of 610/700 are very good. USNA now advises that college candidates should retake SATs if they can be improved. Personally, I agree with Luigi but I can only pass on USNA Admissions advice. Because of that, your DS might want to take one more shot and see if he can improve even more. If not, stick with what he has.

    The above said, as a college student, you can get 800/800 and if your college grades aren't mostly As, you're doomed. Just being honest.
     
  7. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    I disagree. I don't know, but I don't think SAs using difference "scoring" system for college applicants. They might get more points in leadership or something, but I don't think their SAT/ACT scores will be weighted differently.
     
  8. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    Best advice...talk to the Admissions counselor for your son's region.

    Also, if you know your son was 3Q'd, then I would (personally) place emphasis on doing very well in a solid college curriculum that mimics plebe year courses AND be involved in ECAs/sports/leadership activities. Remember what the ultimate question that the Admissions Board is rhetorically asking of each candidate....can they succeed in the USNA academic, athletic, and military program while balancing time critical management skills. Being great in one area and lacking in another may not be as good as being decent in all areas -- whole person concept.
     
  9. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    I don't think this is exactly correct, unless things have drastically changed in Admissions. On my summer CSNTS sailing cruise back in 2005, an Admissions Counselor was my officer in charge and he said there was some sliding scale they use for college applicants that takes in account their college GPA vs. SAT/ACT score. In other words, a lower college GPA means the candidate needs a higher SAT/ACT score and a higher college GPA means the candidate did not need as high SAT/ACT scores. Of course the curriculum is taken into consideration -- basket weaving doesn't count.
     
  10. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

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    conversely, a college student can have straight As but with average (compared to YOUR area) test scores you're doomed. Just being honest.

    In my opinion, I think there has been far too much advice on these forums that discourages re applicants from retaking their test scores because they are merely relying on good grades. While grades, in fact, may be a better prognostic indicator of futures college success, the reality of it -lately, appears to indicate that college students should continue to improve their act/sats.

    its four hours, its forty bucks, just retake 'em.
     
  11. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    +1. Not much to lose by retaking them. Not sure the prep course (again) is a worthwhile investment vs. doing practice questions. You can get the college boards to email you a question each day.
     
  12. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    The best advice is to talk to your Regional Admissions Counselor. Period.
    Do that first THEN go from there.
     
  13. Raseo1Son

    Raseo1Son Member

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    That's the plan - first thing tomorrow morning. He also wants to ask his councelor's opinion about requesting a different BGO for this go-round as is often suggested here. Thanks to everyone who replied - we appreciate the info and input as always. :thumb:
     
  14. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Not true.

    SAT / ACT tests are NOT designed for college students.

    Demonstrated excellence in college (plebe-level) courses counts more than an SAT test taken in high school.
     
  15. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

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    No luigi
    Very good friend and neighbor applied to United States Naval Academy. QNS. Denied right at end. Went to top twenty college. Played high level sport there, continued with clubs, mirrored coursework to plebe yr. ECT. Followed advice from people he talked to and read on this forum that the 32,30 act score from the first application cycle was good enough especially since he got STRAIGHT As. Did not retake. QNS x2. Called admissions. They were very honest and said compared to our area and kids put on national list his Act scores were solid but not good enough. I'm unsure what reason she (from admissions) could have to
    lie. The parent said the number one thing their son did wrong was leave ten act points on the table.

    I know this is but one example but when people come on this forum seeking guidance and someone a answers that a solid act/sat score is compensated for by great grades it discourages reapplicants from maximizing their potential.

    There is a reason that admissions is encouraging reapplicants to restest.
     
  16. haz

    haz Member

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    the problem with college grades is the same as high school, grading standards will change from college to college and teacher to teacher. The standardized scores are that standardized over the entire nation. that is why class rank is more important then grades
     
  17. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I posted the initial quote and the second was posted in response. Please note that I also advised the OP to retake the SATs. I will reiterate what I said.

    If your scores weren't 800/800, there is room for improvement and you should consider retaking them. Checking first with your RD, as BOG08 suggests, is prudent before you spend the time and money. Still, it's always your call in the end and the OP's scores were quite good, especially in math, so it is a very close call in that case.

    However, as I said, if you score 800/800 and earn Cs and Bs in plebe courses in college, your chances of an appointment are EXTREMELY small.

    To summarize: high scores + great college grades are obviously better than any other alternative.
     
  18. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

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    I am sincerely not trying to be disrespectful here and I dont have the historical perspective that many of you have. I have only been aggressively looking at recent admission criteria and trends the past 2 1/2 years.

    Having said that...

    I think some (not all) are missing the point here. The Admissions Board is NOT ultimately asking if you can succeed or have demonstrated that you can succeed. They ARE asking if you are on paper the MOST likely to succeed or have demonstrated the MOST that you can succeed given your nomination pool. There is a world of difference here.

    They are also not saying "Can you now beat out your old stats?" The ARE saying do you now have the BEST stats in your nomination pool (whether that is the district pool or the national pool). There is a world of difference here.

    I am not saying this to be negative, I am saying this because there is still time to keep plugging away. This is a Marathon, dont slow down short of the finish line.

    Good Luck to all!
     
  19. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Well said Vista. Perhaps stated another way, they're not asking if I can run faster than the grizzly that's chasing us. They're asking if I can run faster than you! :biggrin: :thumb:
     
  20. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    The question asked was (paraphrased) which carried more "weight" with admissions - actual grades in college plebe-level courses as a freshman, or SAT scores (which predict grades in college courses for freshmen).

    My answer stands - actual grades are looked at more favorably than predicted grades.
     

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