SAT scores

I thought this would get a better response in MPSIMS than in GQ. A few weeks ago GW Bush and Al Gore released their academic records to the public, including their SAT’s. Bush got 566V, 640M; Gore got 625V, 730M.

The score of 566 seemed strange to me because I always thought that the scores had to be divisible by five (or possibly ten, which would make Al’s 625 an anomaly as well.) I took the SAT’s in the 80’s. Everyone I ever talked to about this has scores divisible by 10 (or possibly five-- it’s been a few years.) Does anyone know when the verbal scoring system changed to make the numbers round?

A story about this can be found at:

I took the SATs in the mid-sixties, and neither my verbal nor my math scores were divisible by five.

I took the SAT in December 1969. The scores that I got were 719 Verbal and 772 Math. At that time the scores weren’t rounded to the nearest 10 points. They were given just as the nearest integer. It wasn’t until the early '70’s (I think) that the SAT scores began being rounded to the nearest 10 points. They do this because giving them as full-precision integers was making people think that the tests were that accurate, when actually you can expect someone’s scores to vary by 10 or 20 points each time they take the test.

Please note the following: I got 719 V, 772 M, for a total of 1491. I had a high school average of 3.63. Gore got 625 V, 730 M for a total of 1355. He had a high school average in the B- range, according to the news stories I’ve read. Let’s say that it was around 2.80. Bush had scores of 566 V, 640 M. According to the news stories I’ve read, he had a high school average in the C+ range. Let’s say it was around 2.30.

Despite that, Bush got admitted to Yale and Gore got admitted to Harvard. I got turned down at Yale. Furthermore, you can’t say that Harvard and Yale were taking them because they figured that otherwise they wouldn’t get any students from their high schools. Bush went to Andover and Gore went to St. Alban’s. Probably each of their graduating classes had several dozen people who went to Ivy League or comparable quality colleges. On the other hand, I went to a third-rate rural high school. My total score of 1491 was probably 150 points higher than anyone else before or since has ever gotten at my high school. Bush’s scores and grades normally wouldn’t have gotten anyone admitted to a top college, even someone who went to Andover. Only someone from a rich and powerful family gets into an elite college with such mediocre scores and grades. Gore’s scores and grades were marginal for someone going to a top college, even someone who went to St. Alban’s.

You could get the idea from college mailings that most elite colleges want to broaden their student bodies. In fact, most admissions people hate people who went to lousy high schools and will find any conceivable reason to reject applicants from such backgrounds (with one exception, which I will get to in a second). It’s clear to me that Yale looked at my SAT scores, teacher’s recommendations, and high school grades and said, "Wow, these are high scores. All these teacher’s recommendations are great too. But he went to a lousy high school, and he comes from a relatively poor family. We’ve got to find some other reason to reject him. Oh, look, he has less than perfect grades. There’s our reason to reject him.

However, there is one circumstance in which top colleges will take students from third-rate high schools. They like to recruit athletes from those kind of high schools. That way they can say that they do regularly take a few students from such schools, even though in fact they don’t take anybody except athletes from those schools.

One of my classmates got into Dartmouth. I suspect that the two of us were among the few people in the history of our high school to apply to an Ivy League school. His grade average was slightly lower than mine, perhaps about 3.45. His SAT scores were about 600 in each category. However, he was a very good football player in high school (and our high school team was highly rated), and the football coach at Dartmouth pushed the admissions people there to take him. In college, he turned out to not be a particularly good player, and he quit the team after his sophomore year. After scraping though to his bachelor’s degree, he came back to my high school and became a guidance counselor.

For those of you that are wondering why I didn’t play football, since that’s obviously the only way to get into a top college if you went to my high school, well, perhaps the fact that I’m 4’11" has something to do with my lack of interest in football.

I’m no help because I took the SATs in the 90’s. I received a 700V 710M. 3.9 GPA and I was an all state golfer. I think that I am now ready to tackle and problems this country has to throw at me. Now I just have to find a party that will fund me. I don’t even really want their support, just their money.

The computer has brought more problems to man then any other invention in history. That is unless you consider Tequilla an invention.

I’m going to have to take the trophy for highest proprotion of SAT scores to GPA (1490 combined with a 2.01 GPA). :smiley:

No matter where you go, there you are.

710M and 800V with a 3.97(damn french classes) average. Got into the college I wanted to as well(of course I was on the wait list(god was that horrible).

Profanity is the crutch of the inarticulate mother-fucker.

710V, 650M, 4.0 GPA. I have no idea how I managed that. :slight_smile:

Birth. School. Work. Death.

695M, 730V. So it must have been pretty recent that they started rounding to the nearest 10, if that’s what they do now.

Geez, I post a rant and nobody bites. Doesn’t anyone else have any stories about not getting into a good college despite having good SAT scores and grades, or getting into a good college despite having mediocre scores and grades?

OK, Wendall, I’ll bite. 740 V, 740 M. My GPA wasn’t the highest in the world, but it was decent – 3.5 or thereabouts. Rejected summarily from Brown (my first choice) and Swarthmore. Everybody I know who has made it into an Ivy League school had either personal connections or a hard-luck story. (I was accepted at Columbia for grad school – without funding, unfortunately – and I put this down to being recommended by a professor who went there.)

I don’t remember my SAT scores. They were a tool for me to get into college. I got in, attended a semester and a half, hated it, ditched it and joined the Navy.

I’ve subsequently gotten a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. The SATs nor the degrees really don’t matter to me anymore. I like my job. I have to, it pays shit.

Voted Best Sport
And narrowly averted the despised moniker Smiley Master

Forward deployed until 18AUG00

Wendell Wagner:

Well, if it makes you feel any better, I never even had to take the SAT to get into college. I graduated at the end of my Junior year and was accepted based on my PSAT scores (which I couldn’t remember if you held a gun to my head). I didn’t go to an Ivy League school, but I did attend what was (at the time - don’t know how it ranks now) ranked one of the top 10 business schools in the country (The University of Missouri). Does that help?

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” - Anne Frank

Define “hard luck story”. Do you mean that applications committees go, “Well, we have an applicant here who grew up on a farm in Nebraska and neither of his parents graduated from high school. He has scores of 730 V and 740 M and his high school average is 3.96. But that’s not good enough. His father didn’t die when he was five, forcing him to work full-time along with going to school. His mother wasn’t an alcoholic. He didn’t lose his legs in an automobile accident, leaving him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He didn’t suffer enough. Instead, let’s take this son of a rich alumni with scores of 590 V and 610 M and a high school average of 2.84. His father has threaten that unless we do we’ll never get another cent from him.”

Wow!..How did this get turned into an “SAT score contest”? The original poster just asked if scores were divisable by 5?
We had an officer on board my Boat in the navy that was dumb as a post! HE got into Annapolis.Why? His Dad was a retired Admiral.Go figure.

Rich G7subs,

It got turned into something else because I decided to highjack the thread. Put up your hands and don’t make any sudden moves. This thread is going to Cuba.


SAT scores and degrees don’t have much to do with your job. An interesting point, and a worthwhile highjack of the thread, but it’s not going the same direction as the way that I want to highjack it. My point is that top colleges don’t make more than a minimal effort to recruit good applicants from poor high schools.


Given that you were accepted out of your junior year, I suspect that you did have good PSAT scores. I’m not sure that the University of Missouri is pretentious to count as a top college, but, in any case, did you go to a good high school?

I just KNEW that mentioning “SAT’s” in a post would eventually turn it into a “what was your SAT score” thread, but I didn’t expect it to happen on the second reply! As others have mentioned, that wasn’t the point of the thread at first, but my original question has been answered-- thanks Wendell and everyone else! I guess the thread HAD to devolve into either an SAT thread or a Bush-and-Gore-are-morons thread.

Your high school can have all sorts of weird effects on your chances at some top schools. I went to a top ten college (that is, if US NEWS is to be believed-- a whole thread in and of itself :slight_smile: ), and a couple of years after graduation I went with some other alumni to interview a dozen or so applying seniors at a well-respected private school. I found that most of the applicants were eminently qualified to get in, and suspected that if they each came from a different high school, and each of those schools had few or no other applicants to the college, most of them would get in. But there would be no way they could get in if they all came from one small private school. My graduating class from college had about eleven hundred people in it, and I think the most highly represented high school had five students in my class, and that was a public high school.
I was the only applicant to my college from my high school, though I bet a few of my classmates could have gotten in.