Can my SAT score compensate for my high school grades?

January 9, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Posted in College Admissions, General SAT | Leave a comment

Absolutely the SAT can help compensate for sub-par performance in high school. Although some elite schools (think Harvard, Yale, Stanford) will want to see stellar performance in both high school and on the SAT, the SAT can go a long way towards convincing admissions officers of your potential. Furthermore, every high school has different standards for achieving grades, so the quality of the courses you took and the quality of the high school you attended will make an impact as well. The SAT stands alone as the only admissions criteria that is standardized across all students, no matter what their background, and for this reason it is given a lot of weight in admissions decisions.

Additionally, it is better if there are certain periods of your high school experience where you had significantly poorer performance than the rest, that you can explain because of some issue you were going through at the time. This can be anything from an illness in the family, divorce, or simply not being mature enough to try your best in school (this works best if you were a freshman when you got your worst grades). Of course, it is better if your grades have been consistently good throughout your high school career, but temporary periods of sub-par academic performance can be explained away more convincingly with a top notch SAT score.

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