“Alyssa has straight As and is highly involved in numerous extracurricular activities.” A proud mom from a local Connecticut school began her college counseling session with me and talked as many parents do about their oldest child with a 1980s understanding of college admission. “We know the Ivies are hard but we are looking at Cornell, Brown, and Dartmouth as those seem a bit easier than the rest.”
Alyssa’s current SAT score was 1150. She did have very good extracurricular activities that demonstrated leadership (President of one or two clubs), community service (multiple endeavors), and talent (all-state musician) and her grades put her somewhere in the top 5% of her class at a strong Southeastern, CT high school. She did not have any “hooks” (not an underrepresented minority, recruited athlete, VIP connection etc.). She had no chance of gaining admission to any Ivy or to the mom’s greater surprise any highly competitive school with SAT requirements.
The mom knew that her daughter’s scores weren’t great but thought 1150 was respectable (it is but also not near required by top schools). The mom also fell over when I told her that UCONN -Storrs was far from a sure thing UCONN’s unofficial current SAT cutoff is 1200 with 1260 being the number that some guidance counselors have reported.
If your child is a high school junior (maybe even sophomore), prepare, prepare, prepare for the SAT (or ACT).