How To Deal With A Low SAT Score

After weeks of waiting impatiently, you finally get your SAT scores, only to find that you scored much lower than you ever thought you would. In an instant, your entire world comes crashing down before your eyes.

There goes college, there goes your future; your life is over and you’re going to live in your mom’s basement for the rest of your life.

Did you get that out of your system? Alright, now it’s time to address this matter like a rational, thinking person.

First things first, RELAX. Realize that your SAT are not, by any means, a true measure of what kind of student you are or what kind you’ll be once you get to college.

The problem with the SAT’s, and all standardized tests for that matter, is that many people truly are just bad test takers and can’t help scoring lower. Once you understand this, you’ll start to feel better about your score, regardless of how low it is.

Now that I’ve calmed you down, we have to get serious.

While the concept of the SAT’s may be questionable and one you no longer believe in, the truth is they matter if you want to go to college. You do need a good score (or a great one depending on the school) in order to be accepted and there’s no way around that fact.

So, now is when you have to ask yourself a series of important questions:

1.  Are you going to re-take the test? If so, the first step is to find a date that’s as far away as possible, without being too far. Meaning, you don’t want to go for round two in a month, but you shouldn’t wait a whole year either.

2. If you decide to retake the test, what will you do differently? Maybe you didn’t study enough, or at all. Maybe, you studied more for one portion and not for another. Or, maybe you should take an SAT prep course. Evaluate the work you put into the last test and try to find the areas where you need improvement.

3. If you don’t want to re-take it, what’s the alternative? You basically have two viable options here.

A. You can take the ACT or
B. Forgo either test and go to a community college, get your AA and transfer to a university later.

Both of these are perfectly fine choices, it’s just a matter of what you want for yourself.

4. If you’re taking the ACT, how will you prepare for it? This is similar to the steps you’d take if you were to retake the SAT. Find all the information you can on the ACT and figure out how and what you’ll study. Try to focus on how the ACT is different from the SAT in terms of subject matter and difficulty. You want to be as prepared as you possibly can.

5. If you opt for a community college instead, are your SAT scores high enough or will you have to take the CPT? The College Placement Test is a standardized test that colleges require for students who didn’t take the SATs or those who got low scores. It’s basically a way for them to determine your level in English and Math courses. While it may not be as difficult as the SATs, you should still study and prepare for it; a low score could land you in remedial classes.

6. Is the community college you’ve chose part of the 2+2 program? This program is an agreement between certain community colleges and state universities that guarantees acceptance to any student graduating with an AA. Ideally, the college you choose and the university you’re aiming for, both participate in the program. Although you can still apply to any university with an AA, the 2+2 program makes the process much easier for everyone.

A low SAT score is certainly something to be concerned about, but it’s not the end of the world. The most important thing to remember is that you have options. Panicking will not get you any closer to college, so don’t even waste your time; all you need to do is figure out your next step and just take it.

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Mercedes Espinoza

Mercedes Espinoza

Mercedes Espinoza is a senior at Florida Atlantic University pursuing a degree in Multimedia Journalism. Although reading is her first love, writing is a close second and she can usually be found with her nose in a book or hunched over a laptop typing away. Outside of school and work, she’s interested in all things fitness as well as continuing to grow an already massive nail polish collection.

2 Responses to “How To Deal With A Low SAT Score”

  • Glen on June 21, 2012

    Hi I’m a junior going on senior in high school and just took my first SAT and received a 1780 should i consider retaking it again or is this score good enough for a relatively good college?

    • TheCollegeHelper

      TheCollegeHelper on June 25, 2012

      Hi Glen,

      Thanks for visiting our site! What’s your idea of a “relatively good college?” This varies for each student. If you give me a few examples, I can better answer your question. Looking forward to working with you!

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