Myth: If I Have A Low ACT / SAT Score I’ll Never Get Into My Dream School

A low test score doesn't mean your dream school is out of reach.

Flickr user John Morgan

Your ACT/SAT score is only one of many factors that are used to assess your college application. A low ACT/SAT score decreases your acceptance odds. However, don’t rule it out completely. Colleges look at other factors, which means students can compensate their lower ACT/SAT scores in other ways. You can still get into your dream school.

Some things you can do to compensate for a low ACT/SAT score are:

  • Make sure you have an outstanding academic record. Earning a high GPA will definitely increase your odds.
  • Write a compelling personal essay that gives the reader an insight into your passion for the program you are applying for. Read through the essay and correct all errors before you submit it.
  • Show off your personality and passions with your extracurricular activities and strong community involvement.
  • Impress the admissions authorities by being well-prepared for a college interview. This is your opportunity to show them that you are more than a tidy application.
  • Get a strong recommendation letter from teachers that know you well

Focusing on improving all areas of your application will boost your chances of getting accepted into your dream school, regardless of a lower ACT/SAT score. Remember, colleges look at your application as a whole, not just individual sections. A low ACT/SAT score lowers your odds; however, colleges take many factors into account.

How to Boost Your ACT/SAT Score

However, even with all that in mind, you should still try to aim for a higher ACT/SAT score. If you have the time, retake the test and study hard for it. Not only does your ACT/SAT affect acceptance odds, but higher scores can qualify you for more scholarships as well.

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