Q:

I took the SAT last spring as a junior and did not do as well as I had hoped. However, my scores are probably good enough to get me into one of our state colleges. Is there any reason for me to retake this test? What is most important to colleges when making admissions decisions: SAT scores or grades? -- Weak Test Results

A:

There is not a lot of time left for you to retake the SAT and get your scores to many colleges before their application deadlines. Why don't you call the admissions office at the colleges where you are applying and ask for their advice about whether to retake the test?

Remember, there is far more to getting into college than your scores on the SAT or ACT, although these scores have become dramatically more important in recent years. The National Association for College Admission Counseling reports that the number one factor in being admitted to most colleges is grades in college-preparatory courses followed by standardized test scores. Class rank is no longer nearly as important as it once was. Schools also consider the difficulty of the courses you took, your personal essays on applications, teacher and counselor recommendations, extracurricular activities and personal interviews.

One of the differences between private and public colleges is that selective private schools pay more attention to recommendations from teachers and counselors, your application and essays, and your special talents and leadership skills.