Great Schools for Students with Not-So-Great SAT’s

Great Schools for Students with Not-So-Great SAT’s

By Elizabeth Hartley

Sometimes good students do not perform well on standardized tests. They make good grades, have a strong work ethic and will be successful college students but filling in circles with #2 pencils is not their forte.

Does this mean, as some people think, that a student’s only option is to attend a community college or a college with such low SAT standards that it’s not of the caliber they want? Absolutely not. Consider these options:

Choose a FairTest school – There are now over 800 four year colleges and universities in the US which do not require SAT or ACT scores for admission. This is in part due to the efforts of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest) whose mission statement says they are working “to end the misuses and flaws of standardized testing and to ensure that evaluation of students, teachers and schools is fair, open, valid and educationally beneficial. ” Their mission is in part based on research studies that reveal that a student’s success in college is not correlated to their SAT scores. Therefore, SAT scores are not predictors of academic success as was once thought.

Furman, Guilford, Wake Forest, Sewanee, Texas A&M and Wheaton are all schools you will find on this list, as well as a host of state schools. Read the fine print carefully, along with any footnotes for a school listed on this site. Some schools will allow you to omit sending SAT or ACT scores but still require some other form of test scores, such as AP exam scores, SAT Subject tests, etc. You may also find that some schools reserve the right to ask for SAT scores if an applicant doesn’t meet the GPA or class rank requirement or they may use the scores for academic advising purposes only.

So, if you feel that your SAT scores don’t reflect your true potential as a student, consider a FairTest school as an option. You can still get into an excellent school and have a great college experience. Visit for more details.

Choose a smaller college – Traditionally, medium to smaller colleges will be willing to look beyond a students SAT scores if they have an otherwise strong academic history and extracurricular record. Large state schools that receive 40,000 applications do not have the time or resources to look beyond the numbers but smaller schools do tend to view the whole student as more than scores, grades and a class rank.

Some colleges that may warrant extra investigation are the schools listed on the website. These schools have been evaluated by an independent, non-profit organization called “Colleges that Change Lives” and have been deemed exceptionally strong in creating a remarkable student experience and providing outstanding academics. Most of these schools are fairly small in size (2000 students or less) and often limit their emphasis on SAT scores.

Students who are motivated and capable should not despair if their SAT scores do not meet their expectations. By broadening the scope of the college search, considering smaller to medium schools and by looking into FairTest schools, an excellent college experience can still be well within reach.

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