What Can I Do to Recover from Poor SAT Scores?

If you’re in the process of applying to colleges, you know that the SAT is pretty important; however, you can still get into many good schools with poor SAT scores. To recover from bad scores, you can retake the test, focus on getting good grades and become involved in your school and community.

Retaking the SAT

Depending on when you’re planning on starting college, there may be time to retake the test. According to Business Insider, the average SAT scores for the class of 2014 were:

  • 497 for critical reading
  • 513 for math
  • 487 for writing

Keep in mind that these scores are average – approximately 50 percent of students score lower for each section, and many of them get into colleges that they happily attend for two or four years. The majority of colleges are willing to accept students’ best scores when reviewing applications, so you can take the SAT multiple times if you want to. Some colleges will only take your best set of scores, but others will take your highest score in each of the three subjects even if the scores were earned during different tests.

Getting Good Grades

The SAT is a way to test your knowledge, but grades are often a better indicator of college success. This is because your grade point average, or GPA, will tell admissions officers how hard of a worker you are. Graduating high school with a high GPA but poor SAT scores might tell people that you aren’t very good at standardized tests; however, it can also tell them that because you may not be the most academically-inclined person in your class, you had to work harder than others to earn good grades. No matter how far along you are in your high school career, it’s never too late to work on raising your grades. Even if you still have a mediocre GPA when you graduate, colleges will notice the upward trend in your grades and take that into account – the later it is in your high school career, the more your grades will matter to colleges.

Becoming Involved in Your School and Community

Colleges and universities often take a holistic approach to reviewing applications. This means that your grades and SAT scores aren’t the only things that matter – your involvement in extracurricular activities matter too. Join a sports team, become a member of a club or two or volunteer in your community to let admissions officers get to know you as a person. To really stand out, become a captain of your sports team or get voted into a leadership position of your favorite club. You can also become an activist for a cause that you believe in, put together a fundraiser or start a new community service project by yourself or with the help of your friends.

If you’ve recently found out that your SAT scores are less than stellar, don’t worry too much. You can retake the test to get better scores, or you could focus on making the other parts of your application shine. Poor SAT scores might seem like the end of the world, but they’re really just one factor in a whole list of things that colleges consider.