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Q: Required Scores and Grades to Get Into Columbia Univ. ( Answered,   3 Comments )
Subject: Required Scores and Grades to Get Into Columbia Univ.
Category: Reference, Education and News > Education
Asked by: parfunkel-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 05 Aug 2002 20:29 PDT
Expires: 04 Sep 2002 20:29 PDT
Question ID: 51063
My daughter, a soon to be senior in High School, very much wants to go
to Columbia University to study in the theatre department as a
dramaturg.  She carries a 4.432 at her high school due to advanced
placement and honors courses, (they get graded on a 5.0 scale for
these classes, if all classes were on a 4.0 scale, she would have a
3.870 gpa.)  Her class ranking is 11th out of 658, she recently got a
710 verbal (96 percentil) but a 590 math (73 percentile).  She also
took the ACT and got a 30 overall.

My question is this, we are arguing about whether she should take the
SAT over again to try and improve her score, particularly her math
score.  She is usually very good at math and we thought she'd get at
least mid-600's based on her scores in the past several years on the
PSAT.  She seems to think that the 710 verbal is enough with her other

So, I know you can't make any guarentee's, but do you think she is ok
not to take it again?   Does she have enough other things going her
way?  What are the likely credentials she needs to get into the
theatre department at Columbia?
Subject: Re: Required Scores and Grades to Get Into Columbia Univ.
Answered By: blader-ga on 05 Aug 2002 21:16 PDT
Dear parfunkel:

Thank you for your question. From what I can see from the numbers,
your daughter does have an excellent GPA for admission into Columbia
University (Columbia College). The average GPA for incoming freshmen
at Columbia is 3.65. In addition, the fact that she has a 4.432
weighted GPA with AP and Honors courses shows that she has taken a
very rigorous curriculum, and in my opinion she is a prime candidate
for admission. However, I wouldn't say that your daughter's SAT score
couldn't benefit from a small increase.

The average SAT composite score at Columbia is 1394. The middle 50% of
SAT I scores (Class of 2006) was 1370 - 1510, which would
unfortunately place your daughter's score of 1300 in the bottom 25% of
admitted students. Keep in mind that these are admitted students, so a
student with a 1300+ SAT I is more than  respectable and in all
likelyhood, would be admitted. The chances however, are perhaps a bit
lower, but probably not by much.

Also, you would need to remember that the SAT I at most colleges
carries significantly less weight than the combination of GPA and SAT
IIs, despite all the hype. Depending on these and other factors, such
as recommendations, essays, and extracurriculars, a slightly lower
than average SAT should make little difference in terms of making or
breaking the decision. If you could provide me with an estimation of
the quality of her other admission factors (essay, recommendations,
extracurriculars, grade trends), I could provide you with a better
estimation of your chances. Extracurriculars and personal qualities
are particularly important in a liberal arts major such as Columbia's
Drama and Theatre department.

That said, if this is the first time she has taken the SAT I, and you
both feel that there is room for improvement based on past experience
(PSATs), then I see little reason why you should not take the chance!
As a Kaplan P/SAT I instructor, it's been my experience that a PSAT I
score is reflective of the SAT I score. The two tests are basically
identical. If she received a significalt higher score on her PSAT math
section, then she has a good chance of improving her SAT I score
beyond that of what she had received.

Besides, Colleges definitely do not penalize for taking the SAT I
twice, and since they only count your highest score (up to a point),
why not go for it? Based on past experience with my students, a retake
of the SAT I, on average, garners a 10 - 20 point score increase.

To sum up, a small score increase of 20 - 50 points probably would not
make or break her chances of admission at Columbia, but as is always
the case, every extra bit helps! You have absolutely nothing to lose
to take the SAT I one more time, so why not go for it?

If you would like a second opinion on this question, you could try the
Prince Review discussion boards. The board was very helpful when I was
applying to college, and it is filled with students of impeccable
calibre, a significant portion of whom are Ivy League bound, some even
already at Columbia. Usually, they're very helpful. You can find the
PR College discussion board here:

Google Search Strategy:

     columbia university theatre admission

I hope this helps! If you need any clarifications, please don't
hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to assist you further.

Best Regards,
Subject: Re: Required Scores and Grades to Get Into Columbia Univ.
From: c_hagin-ga on 05 Aug 2002 21:38 PDT
Well, you should consider the possibility of the test accurately
reflecting the abilities of your daughter.

You do have two tests to compare with.  One can, possibly, determine
the ability of your daughter to score higher than her ability exists
through a mathematical equation I set up to compare SAT I scores to
ACT scores.  I used this formula on a scholarship application that I

Utilizing the common ratio of SAT I to ACT as 1600 to 36, we can find
the rational relationship between the two.  Thus, a SAT I score can be
converted to an ACT score by multiplying the SAT I composite score by
0.0225.  Your daughter's converted SAT I score of 1300 is 29.25 when
converted to ACT composite.  When looked at like this, the 30 on the
ACT, looks like a confirmation of the SAT I.

I'd say, don't go through the hassle (and torture) of retaking the SAT
I.  It probably accurately measured your daughter's abilities.  And
don't fret!  A 1300 isn't that bad :)  I'm sure she'll be a prime
candidate with the GPA and Scores she has.

Besides, a drama major with a 710 verbal is really going to take
notice.  Unless she wants to double major in Mathematics and Drama :)

Charles Hagin.
Subject: Re: Required Scores and Grades to Get Into Columbia Univ.
From: jyovanoff-ga on 05 Aug 2002 23:06 PDT
As blader-ga noted, there is really no harm in taking the SAT I a
second time. Most schools will take the highest combined score for the
SAT. Your daughter is clearly very intelligent and i would imagine it
unlikely her score would go down significantly - it can only help her.

I took the SAT I twice, the first time I thought I did fine and got a
650 on math, the second time I didn't think I did significantly
better, and was similarly prepared, but got a 730.

If a bit of studying and one three hour test can help to ensure her
entrance to Columbia, it's a no-brainer, go for it!
Subject: Re: Required Scores and Grades to Get Into Columbia Univ.
From: research_help-ga on 06 Aug 2002 06:37 PDT
All of the above answers assume that grades and SATs alone will get
you in to a top college.  As a graduate of an ivy league university
and friend to many who applied, I have some experience that says that
other factors are very important.  Top colleges look heavily at life
experiences and extracurricular activities.  For example, a person
with a 3.0 and a 1200 SAT score who was president of their class and
started a small business would be a better candidate than someone with
a 3.9 and 1400 SAT who did nothing but study. I recommend taking the
SAT again to get the best possible score, but don't rely on that to
get you in.

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