ACT/SAT Scores and Grades

jennvberg

Member
I took my ACT and SAT in January and I received a 22 and a 1030. I'm aiming for a 30 on my ACT to be able to get an appointment to the academy. As of my grades, my gpa is a 3.33 and I have mostly a's and b's. I am also taking an AP class this year and multiple honors classes. I am also taking two AP classes next year. What are my chances with this low of scores? Thank you for your replies!
 

Sulu

Member
Try taking both the SAT and ACT again. You could take the SAT again in May, June, August, October, November, and even December, and those test scores will be released before the deadline for completing your application (usually last day of January, unless you have an early application deadline). In the meantime, take plenty of practice tests (Collegeboard.org has a link to Kahn Academy that will help you focus on your weakest areas and it offers practice tests). As you take practice tests, go over your wrong answers to figure out what you're missing and why. You don't want to keep making the same mistakes over again. Ask teachers at your school if they will tutor you or if they know someone who will do that. If you can afford it, try a review course for the ACT and/or SAT. At this point, your grades and scores would probably be too low to be a competitive applicant. If you're struggling in math and hard sciences, see if you can do something over the summer to improve either through community college summer courses or online courses (I think BYU has an online program that some high schools allow you to use for credit) or working with a teacher or student from your school. Academics are a big factor in the application but you also have to be physically fit (CFA test) and have leadership experience, community service activities, and athletic accomplishments. See if you can participate in girls/boys state (it lasts for about a week during the summer b/t junior and senior year). Ask your counselor.
 

MidwestDad

Member
Buy the practice test books and take plenty of practice tests; go to a test prep class if you can.
And retake both tests several times as stated - no downside and your best scores count.
 

jennvberg

Member
Try taking both the SAT and ACT again. You could take the SAT again in May, June, August, October, November, and even December, and those test scores will be released before the deadline for completing your application (usually last day of January, unless you have an early application deadline). In the meantime, take plenty of practice tests (Collegeboard.org has a link to Kahn Academy that will help you focus on your weakest areas and it offers practice tests). As you take practice tests, go over your wrong answers to figure out what you're missing and why. You don't want to keep making the same mistakes over again. Ask teachers at your school if they will tutor you or if they know someone who will do that. If you can afford it, try a review course for the ACT and/or SAT. At this point, your grades and scores would probably be too low to be a competitive applicant. If you're struggling in math and hard sciences, see if you can do something over the summer to improve either through community college summer courses or online courses (I think BYU has an online program that some high schools allow you to use for credit) or working with a teacher or student from your school. Academics are a big factor in the application but you also have to be physically fit (CFA test) and have leadership experience, community service activities, and athletic accomplishments. See if you can participate in girls/boys state (it lasts for about a week during the summer b/t junior and senior year). Ask your counselor.
I am attending Girls state this summer and I was also deemed competitive and I am attending the Summer Seminar this summer!
 

Hiker2021

New Member
I took my ACT and SAT in January and I received a 22 and a 1030. I'm aiming for a 30 on my ACT to be able to get an appointment to the academy. As of my grades, my gpa is a 3.33 and I have mostly a's and b's. I am also taking an AP class this year and multiple honors classes. I am also taking two AP classes next year. What are my chances with this low of scores? Thank you for your replies!
My DS scored low initially. He took a course that was 160 hours of ACT training. It was intense. He raised his score 9 points and recently received an appointment. You can do it!
 

Trimble21

New Member
I personally started out with a 23 act and got it up to a 29 after 160 hours of tutoring. Your scores are important, however, it is also important to be a well-rounded applicant with lots of extracurriculars. They also carry a significant amount of weight along your grades and test scores. My scores were at the bottom of the USAFA's range, but my wide range of extracurriculars is what made me a competitive applicant.
 

TrentL41

USAFA Class of 2021
Try using Khan Academy. It's a free service provided by the collegeboard to help you raise your score. Keep in mind if someone looking at your portal notices that you took the SAT/ACT many times to raise your score it shows that you are persistent and won't give up! Just keep your head up and hit the books. AIM HIGH!
 

ten042

Member
TrentL41 gave a terrific recommendation: Khan Academy. My son came across Khan Academy late his in his test prep, but really liked it. He felt it helped him the most in math. It is a slick website and it is free!
I'm going to be really honest with you because I wish someone had impressed this upon my son. At this point in your high school career, the most important thing you can improve is your test score. Clear your schedule for the next 2 months and study up for the June exams. While you are lucky that the SAs will superscore your tests, remember that most state universities will not superscore your tests. Treat USAFA as your Dream School, not a reach school and not your safety school. You would be wise to have your Plan B ( a reach school that you hope/think you can get into and can afford) as well as some "safety schoolsl" that you would actually like to attend and can comfortably afford. Now, here's the thing. If these schools do NOT superscore, and these schools are rather selective schools, you had better get your test scores above their average test scores. In my experience this year, it's all about your class rank and test scores, not your resume. (and I bet you have a great resume and are a great kid!)
As I mentioned earlier, at this point in high school, you probably can't improve your class rank significantly, but you can improve your test scores. But only with daily practice. Treat this like a runner treats a 10K or half-marathon. Follow the schedule they lay out for you and trust the process. The ACT is all about timing and practice. It won't matter how much money you spend on tutors if you don't prioritize this project. It's tedious and boring and takes a lot of time, but this is the single best thing you can do to improve your application anywhere you apply! The national average ACT score is 20. The higher your ACT score, the more options you will have in your college and scholarship (ROTC!) options. While it is frustrating that colleges put so much emphasis on this score, it is the only standardized benchmark that shows them if you are college ready. It's not a perfect system, but I get it.
To summarize, you sound like a really motivated individual and you will show well in the Service Academy application process, but you have a lot of work to do on your test scores. The good news is you have plenty of time to put the hours in before the June & September tests and I assure you, if you commit yourself, and follow the process, you will see results. Aim to take the test as many times as you can to show the colleges that you take your application seriously and have the tenacity and grit to do whatever it takes to be the best applicant possible. Clear your schedule, download Khan Academy (it's free!) , or whatever program you want to use, and keep us posted on your results. Good luck!
 

ten042

Member
I personally started out with a 23 act and got it up to a 29 after 160 hours of tutoring. Your scores are important, however, it is also important to be a well-rounded applicant with lots of extracurriculars. They also carry a significant amount of weight along your grades and test scores. My scores were at the bottom of the USAFA's range, but my wide range of extracurriculars is what made me a competitive applicant.
Trimble21 Wow! What a success story! Thanks for sharing, I know I would have been very encouraged if I read this last year as we went through the very same process. Congrats!
 
Treat USAFA as your Dream School, not a reach school and not your safety school. You would be wise to have your Plan B ( a reach school that you hope/think you can get into and can afford) as well as some "safety schoolsl" that you would actually like to attend and can comfortably afford. Now, here's the thing. If these schools do NOT superscore, and these schools are rather selective schools, you had better get your test scores above their average test scores. In my experience this year, it's all about your class rank and test scores, not your resume. (and I bet you have a great resume and are a great kid!)
Agree with the testing advice re: selective schools. One of our sons is at a top 10 college and was also accepted to other selective schools. When we went on his college tours and sat in the admissions sessions, many of the selective schools said that they want to see ALL test scores. If you took the SAT/ACT 7 times, they want to see all 7 scores. Also, more than one admissions director has said that taking the test too many times is frowned upon. Taking it 2-3 times is common and no big deal, but according to them taking it more often than that makes it look like you are obsessed with testing and have no life. I realize that this is not the conventional advice given to service academy applicants (we keep hearing "take the test as many times as possible"), but since some of you may be applying to top tier schools as your Plan B, it would behoove you to check the policies of each school on your list. If you google "SAT Score-Use Practices by Participating Institution," you will find a College Board document that lists the score reporting policy for each school.

My advice: instead of making test-taking the focus, make test-prep the focus. Study hard in between the test dates so that there's no reason you would have to take it more than a few times, if even that. Look up each school's Common Data Set and see what their 25-75% scores are. Then strive to be above that 75% line.

As far as "it's all about your class rank and test scores, not your resume"...I would humbly disagree with that. At the tippy top schools (including service academies), it's all about those things AND your resume. Stanford and MIT, among other elites, turn down many kids with perfect SAT scores. Kids with great stats and great stats only are a dime a dozen. They want more than that. They're looking for the whole package.
 

fencersmother

10-Year Member
Founding Member
jennyberg, your GOAL for the ACT should NOT be a 30. It should be a 36. Why would you make your goal just the bare minimum? Your goal for the ACT is 36. Your goal for the SAT is 800/800. If you fall short of that goal, as most do, well, that happens. If you fall short of a GOAL of 30, you will probably not receive an appointment.

Check out the threads here which detail the stats of applicants/nominees/appointees.
 

fencersmother

10-Year Member
Founding Member
Agree with the testing advice re: selective schools. One of our sons is at a top 10 college and was also accepted to other selective schools. When we went on his college tours and sat in the admissions sessions, many of the selective schools said that they want to see ALL test scores. If you took the SAT/ACT 7 times, they want to see all 7 scores. Also, more than one admissions director has said that taking the test too many times is frowned upon. Taking it 2-3 times is common and no big deal, but according to them taking it more often than that makes it look like you are obsessed with testing and have no life. I realize that this is not the conventional advice given to service academy applicants (we keep hearing "take the test as many times as possible"), but since some of you may be applying to top tier schools as your Plan B, it would behoove you to check the policies of each school on your list. If you google "SAT Score-Use Practices by Participating Institution," you will find a College Board document that lists the score reporting policy for each school.
Keep in mind: you do not have to report each test result to every school. But at a Service Academy, your perseverance is noted and appreciated.

Also, seek out threads here which discuss Whole Candidate Score (the WCS). While mintyicetea is correct in noting WCS is not:
"it's all about your class rank and test scores, not your resume"...
, for the very basics, and to be deemed at least initially competitive, there are basic standards, which must be met - for a reason.

A person scoring 1030 CR/M on the SAT is likely to have extreme difficulty with academics at USAFA. Recall, even if one majors in English, one still takes Chemistry, Physics, Aero- and Astro-Engineering, etc. They don't call it "The Little Engineering College in the Rockies" because of their fencing team. :)
 

NY2CA5

Member
There is after all a lot of engineering that goes into building a fence! :rolleyes:
Keep in mind: you do not have to report each test result to every school. But at a Service Academy, your perseverance is noted and appreciated.

Also, seek out threads here which discuss Whole Candidate Score (the WCS). While mintyicetea is correct in noting WCS is not:
, for the very basics, and to be deemed at least initially competitive, there are basic standards, which must be met - for a reason.

A person scoring 1030 CR/M on the SAT is likely to have extreme difficulty with academics at USAFA. Recall, even if one majors in English, one still takes Chemistry, Physics, Aero- and Astro-Engineering, etc. They don't call it "The Little Engineering College in the Rockies" because of their fencing team. :)
 

Daretodream

5-Year Member
This is a great board. It is a wonderful place to ask questions and look at the competition. It is somewhat misleading though as your competition for an appointment many different than others based on your own particular set of criteria such as geography, gender, ethnicity, athletics, etc.

If you compare your scores to the median for last year then the specs are on the low end. The median gpa was a 3.87 and average ACT score was just above a 30. This means some got in with lower scores but this was the academic median.

I would continue to focus on what you can control academically and that is make straight As and take a challenging schedule to show your ability and improve your gpa. Continue to take the standardized test and do what it takes to improve. My DS simply improved with time. He took it as an 8th grader and scored a 25. As a 9th grader he scored a 30 and he scored a 32 as a 10th grader. Finally, in the 11th grade he scored a 34 with a 35 in English and Math. He told me then he was done.

He continued to take the toughest courses available at his school and included two AP foreign languages to his resume. He worked on his athletics and CAP to get the Billy Mitchell Award. He worked on his relationships with our MOC and ALO. There was a lot of work that went into his resume. Bottom line is chase your dream but understand it is a long process and most that are successful put a lot of time into it.
 

brovol

Member
There is after all a lot of engineering that goes into building a fence! :rolleyes:
Keep in mind: you do not have to report each test result to every school. But at a Service Academy, your perseverance is noted and appreciated.

Also, seek out threads here which discuss Whole Candidate Score (the WCS). While mintyicetea is correct in noting WCS is not:
, for the very basics, and to be deemed at least initially competitive, there are basic standards, which must be met - for a reason.

A person scoring 1030 CR/M on the SAT is likely to have extreme difficulty with academics at USAFA. Recall, even if one majors in English, one still takes Chemistry, Physics, Aero- and Astro-Engineering, etc. They don't call it "The Little Engineering College in the Rockies" because of their fencing team. :)
Post of the day. Nicely done. Lol
 

jennvberg

Member
It might also help to note that I attend a public school who has one of the worst ratings in my state! I'm not saying it's my schools fault, but it probably has some to do with it. And I also feel like I know the material on the ACT, I just need to learn some test-taking tips because of my test anxiety.
 

brovol

Member
It might also help to note that I attend a public school who has one of the worst ratings in my state! I'm not saying it's my schools fault, but it probably has some to do with it. And I also feel like I know the material on the ACT, I just need to learn some test-taking tips because of my test anxiety.
My son attended a low rated highschool in very rural Michigan. He was able to score well on the ACT, with math and science scores of 34, English 31 and reading 30. If you are bright and motivated to do well, most kids can get what they need. And I don't think any of the Academies treated his school different that if he attended a top high school. I wouldn't blame them if they would have though.
 

BGChich

New Member
jenvberg - if you have access to the Internet (and obviously you do - you are on this forum) you have all you need to succeed. You can master any subject you wish no matter what school you go to.

edX.org has lots of excellent material developed by top level university professors (MIT, Purdue, Stanford ..) on a vast array of subjects, including AP level and college level STEM subjects.
khanacademy.org and prepscholar.com are great sources for ACT/ SAT prep

Consistent, focused practice is all that is needed. If you want to learn more about why that is, read The Talent Code
Put you head down, work hard and the results will be a byproduct of that.

Bets of luck
 
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