Dear College Counselor: GPA Drama


Dear College Counselor, My GPA is great but my SAT isn’t high enough. Am I okay?



Yes, you are. Think of the whole college process as one big picture. Different puzzle pieces come together to represent who you are, so your SAT score is just one small piece out of many.

College admissions teams first read your transcript, which is more reflective of your work, and see how much you’ve done and how many demanding courses you take. Then they look at your testing scores (SATs, ACTs, etc.), teacher recommendations, extracurriculars, and so on.

“Standardized testing… remains the most misunderstood, misinterpreted, and least interesting piece of the college admission process to college counselors and admission professionals.” We can identify two uses of standardized testing as “a verifier of student achievement” and “a helpful diagnostic tool.” Also, remember that it’s not “the all-important factor in the selective college admission process” or “the golden ticket to success in college and beyond.”*

Going back to idea idea of puzzle pieces, your centerpiece is going to be your academic record, and other smaller pieces which come together to complete the picture, of which standardized testing is a very small part.


*From Mr. Stival’s essay on standardized testing.

(Copyright 2017 Emily Choi)