The CollegeFit Blog


By Anoushka Shenoy

With many universities moving towards a test-optional stance on the SAT and ACT because of the pandemic, it can be difficult for students to determine whether or not their scores are “good enough.” During the 2020-2021 admission cycle, I was a senior in high school trying to figure out if retaking the SAT, with the hopes of improving my score, was worth it given the full-blown pandemic and the newly adjusted test-optional policies. For many students, including myself, the decision to retake or not retake as well as to submit or not submit was made based on multiple considerations.

1. Will my score improve if I retake the SAT/ACT?

From writing application essays to maintaining good grades to keeping up with your extracurriculars, senior year can be a stressful time. If you are thinking about retaking the SAT/ACT, remember that one of the largest factors when trying to raise your score is the amount of time you have to study. Create a study plan to ensure adequate time for improving your score.

2. Does my score add or subtract from my overall application?

Academic markers in a college application consist of standardized tests such as AP scores, SAT or ACT scores, and GPA. If you believe your score on the SAT/ACT elevates your application, consider submitting it. It can be hard to determine whether or not your score adds to the academic side of your application so I have included a prepscholar blog that contains a conversion table of SAT to GPA scores as well as a table for ACT to GPA scores. If your test score is equivalent to or greater than the score correlated to your GPA, consider submitting it.

3. Is your score above the 50th percentile for schools you are considering?

Research the 50th percentile (median) score for all colleges you are applying to and determine whether your score is above or below that number. For example, let’s say my SAT score is a 1230. While School A’s median score is a 1100, School B has a 50th percentile score of 1410. I would submit my scores to School A’s application, however, I would withhold my scores from School B.

4. Do the academic interests or major you have written about in your application align with your subsection score?

While you might have a great interest in math and have written in your application essays about your passion for calculus, a low math subsection score (even with a high overall score) may adversely affect your application. If your prospective major and your subsection score in that subject do not line up, consider retaking the test with a focus on improving that subsection score.

5. Are you looking for merit scholarships/aid?

If you want merit aid, SAT scores can impact your chances of receiving scholarships. There are schools that provide information on guaranteed scholarships provided an accepted applicant has a score within a preset range. Here is an example from Texas Tech’s website for better understanding. Additionally, some schools require or recommend certain minimum SAT scores in order to achieve a competitive scholarship application. Here’s an example from Boston University’s website. After submitting a new SAT score, my merit scholarship was adjusted accordingly by many universities that I had applied to.

6. If you have taken the SAT/ACT more than once, should you submit multiple scores? Colleges love to see upward trends in applicants, be it improved grades from semester to semester or higher scores on tests. If your scores show a sizable improvement, consider submitting multiple scores because it reflects a hardworking applicant who is capable of growth.

You can also simply contact the schools you are interested in. A call to the admissions office or an email to an assigned admission counselor would be a great way to get advice directly from the source.

Navigating the college application process, especially when it comes to deciding whether or not to submit test scores can be confusing, so I hope these factors can help you determine whether or not you should submit your scores.

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Updated: Apr 18, 2021

Tomorrow (December 5th) is the runoff election for several local races, from Orleans Parish District Attorney to five different seats on the Orleans Parish School Board. CollegeFit encourages its readers to vote, if eligible. Additionally, CollegeFit is endorsing Antoinette Williams to represent District 5 on the Orleans Parish School Board, as she is uniquely qualified to be a voice for students.

As an educational nonprofit based in New Orleans, CollegeFit is a proud advocate for innovation in educational structures. From working with local organizations like Upward Bound tutoring or the Catholic Charities Immigration and Refugee Services to connecting mentees with college students on several different campuses, CollegeFit believes there are many avenues to creating equity and opportunity for students. One of these avenues is local politics.

On November 4th, New Orleans Public Radio published an article, Orleans Parish School Board Largely Undecided, about a tight and ongoing race for five of the seven seats on the Orleans Parish School Board. 20 candidates were vying for the seven seats, making this race twice as crowded and competitive as the 2016 race.

School boards are essential public bodies that determine educational policy affecting students in their districts. Since New Orleans became the first city to implement an all-Charter school system in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Orleans Parish school board has an unprecedented and uniquely influential role in the lives of local students.

If you are eligible to vote in one of the five districts heading into a runoff, CollegeFit strongly encourages you to head to the polls tomorrow. For more information on the candidates and districts, please read this article. For information on polling sites, voter eligibility, and voting safely during COVID-19, check out this article.

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By Kristen Jumes

Tours are one of the most exciting parts of the college application process! Visiting campuses, discovering some of the programs they offer, and talking to a few current students will only help you as you figure out what you want and don’t want from your college experience. Yet, with so much to see and so little time on a tour, it’s easy to walk away feeling like you didn’t get the most out of your visit. This was true for me on my first college tour to what became my new home for the next four years: Tulane University. While I’m more than satisfied with my choice, there are a few things I missed on my tour that I wanted to share. Hopefully these three tips will help you through the exciting yet overwhelming world of college tours!

Even if You Know it’s the One, Still Visit.​ It’s completely okay to know what you like or dislike, but college visits only give you more knowledge to figure all of that out. That dream school may be everything you imagined- or nothing like it at all. Go see for yourself! You’ll only fall more in love or realize it’s not all that you made it out to be and save yourself from four years of unmet expectations. Even if you’re unable to go in-person, schedule a virtual tour to get a feel for the institution.

Don’t be 100% Academics.​ A campus is more than a classroom. While it is important to select a school with programs that fit your interests and that you believe will challenge you to grow academically, pay attention to other factors on your visit. You spend much of your college life studying and growing intellectually, but your college experience is also about the town you’re in, people you’re around, clubs you’ll join, and memories you’re going to make. You don’t spend all your time in college in the classroom, so don’t spend all of your tour thinking about the academic prestige or great figures the university tries to sell you. These are important, but so is your work-life balance. Pay attention to the scenery, students interactions, and unique clubs and activities on-campus.

Talk to Students.​ One regret I had while touring was not asking enough questions. From tour guides to those students friendly enough to chat for a moment, asking questions only gives you greater insights into campus culture, academics, and student life. Don’t be afraid to ask students what they love and what they hate. Things they think their campus does well and things it does not. The more students you get to know, the more you’ll discover about the school.

I hope that you find these tips helpful as you schedule your college tours- especially with the added obstacle of the pandemic. This is an exciting time of exploration and preparing for the next step in your life!

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