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Is the SAT required to receive academic scholarships?

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Hi! My DD will be a senior in high School in the fall and she will be applying to several colleges with strong ballet programs. We live in Europe where the college application process is very different from the US. Standardized testing and class rankings are just a few of the things we do not do in the part of Europe where we live.

The colleges she is looking at do not require the SAT, but we are wondering if it would be an advantage to have this test? My DD has never taken a standardized test and it would probably require a lot of studying in order for her to get a good score. Would the SAT improve her chances of getting into the university program (not the dance program) and is a good SAT score required for academic scholarships or is it possible to receive academic scholarships without a SAT score? 


Edited by Snowmom
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Short answer: The SAT is not required to receive a scholarship offer. 

However... it really depends on what the COLLEGE is looking for in order to make up their freshman class.  My non-DD took the SAT, received a high score and received scholarship offers from every college that admitted her.   However, a friend of hers did NOT take the SAT, was admitted to a highly competitive college and received a scholarship.  The colleges can afford to be very, very particular in these past two years, so "it depends."

The last year or two for college admissions in the US have been CRAZY with the low acceptance rates.  As an example, one college my own non-DD applied to had a "normal" acceptance rate (given her class rank, GPA and SAT score) of 75%, which in normal years would be considered a "safety" school for her, but this year (given the number of applications) was down to a 3% acceptance rate (over 9,000 applicants for 600 slots).  Another college (in the mid tier for her at a normal rate of 44%) also had what equated to a 3% admission rate this year due to the very, very large number of applicants (according to the school at the accepted student day, over 30,000 students applied for 1,000 spots).   So, despite the fact that my non-DD had a great resume for a U.S. based high school graduate (including "gifted"/honors/advanced classes, many extracurricular activities, leadership roles, advanced musical abilities, great class rank and unweighted GPA, and a very high SAT score), because the pool of applicants was so large this year it was VERY competitive to be accepted anywhere.

There have just been SO MANY applications these past two years and colleges are looking at more than just GPA/SAT. The discussions we had with the guidance counselor at her school and among other parents (my sister's kids and friend's kids) indicated the same.  There were many, many kids who anticipated being accepted into schools based on their GPA and SAT and extracurricular activities and the college's previous acceptance rates but they were not accepted at all because of the high competition and large applicant pool this year and last.  The discussion I overheard between two students at an accepted student day at one college we were considering was that the top student in their class at their high school didn't get into ANY college because he didn't include any "safety" schools in his list.  (For whatever that is worth).  But it IS true that the colleges have been so swamped with applications that some are offering admissions, but deferring the admitted student's start until the Spring semester.  We even had one (unprompted) offer to defer my non-DD's acceptance until next year, with the promise that if she went abroad for a year and studied overseas, they would accept all her credits.  Suffice it say that it's been a CRAZY college application process this year.

I imagine next year might be a tad better?  But I wouldn't count on it.  So, if your DD has her heart set on a US college, and desires a scholarship offer, I would do everything in your power to increase her competitive advantages, including taking the SAT.  But, ultimately, if she has what a US college wants, they will accept her and, if they want her bad enough, offer her a scholarship to attend.

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Thank you Eligus for such detailed information!

I did not know that the acceptance rates at colleges have been so low for the past two years. We knew that the chance of getting accepted was small, but we thought the hardest part was getting accepted to the dance program. We did not realize that acceptance to the university also was this competitive.

My DD has attended three different college SIs this summer and really liked all the programs, so this is something she would love to do. At the same time she knows that she doesn’t want big student loans, so she really is dependent on scholarships for this to happen.

The info you provided is really useful and a reality check. She will have to decide if studying for the SAT should be a priority.

Thanks again!

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To be fair, Snowmom, from what I have heard from an insider in the college admissions process, if the college admission committee feels they need XYZ for their admission class (say a female ballet dancer of a specific height and academic major, for example), she will be accepted.  I didn't mean to discourage you.  After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  And applications are not outrageously expensive (usually around $50 - and can be waived).  Further, I am sure her interest in attending the college's SI and showing interest in their dance programs might elevate her from the regular applicant pool.  Finally, I have heard that college admission committees tend to like ballet dancers, since the art attracts serious, dedicated and disciplined artistic and creative individuals.  

The Kahn Academy web site offers full length practice SAT exams.  She could just take a practice exam or two and see about where she would score, and that could give her the answer.

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The Khan Academy is a great suggestion. We will look at that.

She will for sure apply to the three schools where she attended the SI as they also let her use the SI as her audition for the full time program. 
She just needs to decide what is the best use of her time for the next few months, if it is the college application/assay etc. or if she can find time for studying for the SAT on top of being a senior in high school and dancing every day. 

Unfortunately, there are not many college ballet programs in Europe (as far as we know). At this point she is considered too old for a lot of the schools here.



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