Erica must know how conflicted I feel about parents who want certain things for their kids, seemingly independent of what those kids actually want for themselves.
My gut reaction is to get pissy with the mom or dad and tell them to quit trying to impose their will on their adult (or nearly adult) children, but then I try to tell myself that doing so may come back to bite me when my own children are college-aged.
So, I’m proceeding with caution today and I resolve to answer this question with as little of an asshole-ish tone as possible. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…
Hello Judge Josh,
Thanks for all the wonderful advice you have been giving on here 🙂
You’re welcome, and thanks for reading, and for saying so.
Here’s my situation: I am a senior in high school, starting to think about colleges. My 4 most favorite schools are University of Rochester, Northwestern, Case Western Reserve University, and University of Richmond.
I like how all of these schools are on different “levels” so hopefully I’m bound to get into one of those schools.
I don’t know, I think I might disagree with you a bit about the “different levels” part — they’re all pretty high-level schools. None of these is a cake walk to get into. And when I say that, I’m making NO reference to your credentials at all — so I’m certainly not saying you can’t get into them.
I’m just saying, I don’t look at these schools and see a wide variety of admissions selectivity. They’re all halfway tough to get into.
My mom really wants me to get into Northwestern, which is a high reach school for me. (I have a 4.27/5.0 GPA and a 660 CR + 700 W + 730 Math SAT score). She believes that if I retake the SAT and score above a 2200 that I will almost be guaranteed into this school.
Well, first of all, do YOU really want to go to Northwestern? Because, with apologies to Mom, that matters much more than what Mom wants.
Second, with a 2090, you’re in about the 95th percentile of all test-takers. Your mom needs to relax, because: a) you’ll probably get in anyway, and b) “that’s not good enough, try again” is not the appropriate response when your kid scores better than 95% of all other kids in the country on the most important test you’ll ever take. I’m much more of a, “Wow, I’m incredibly proud of you” kinda guy.
As much as I love Northwestern, I really don’t believe I can score much higher than I did.
You would know better than I. But aside from that, I don’t see much point in taking it again, because you’ll probably get into all four schools with the score you have.
Though I do not think there is any harm in retaking the SAT, I just feel I will not show any improvement.
I agree there’s no “harm” per se, but there is the additional testing fee and the additional time you’ll undoubtedly be taking to study and prepare for it, and those count for something.
Should I just follow my mom’s advice and just suck it up and take the SAT again or would it be alright if I just didn’t take it?
I think you know my answer, but first, let’s talk just a wee bit more about the SAT, tests, and numbers.
It is absolutely true that numbers are extremely important in college admissions. I get a magazine from the National Association of College Admissions Counselors, and month after month it’s filled with counselors bemoaning the fact that the admissions process is driven by mathematical formulas more than ever before (because of a spike in applications that began a few years back).
So test scores are definitely important. However…you got a great one. You will not struggle to get into college. Personally, I think you’ll skate into Northwestern.
But even if you don’t, you need to do what you want to do. Northwestern is an elite school, but having said that, I don’t have any information about why your mom is married to the idea of you going there.
I won’t speculate on the reasons, because I don’t know her. But, generally speaking, there are honorable reasons for parents wanting their kids to go to particular school (e.g., because they’ll miss them and would love to have them close by, or because Great Grandma is at death’s door and won’t make it another four years until you’re back around again) and less honorable ones (e.g., so they can brag to the other moms about what schools their kids got into).
I do think it’s colored her judgment quite a bit, if she wants you to retake the SAT after you already got an outstanding score. So no, I absolutely do not think you need to take the SAT again.
All those other schools are great, too. Regardless of which you get into and attend, congrats are in order. I have no doubt you’ll kick ass at any one of them.
And thank you. Good luck!
— What about you guys? Any advice for Erica? For Mom? For Erica about Mom? Let us know in the comments below.