Taking the SAT in San Ramon is a definite pressure cooker. While some students make it through testing successfully, others do not.

To those who receive SAT scores that are lower than expected, they would ask: Can I still go to college? The answer is definitely yes! Having low scores (or scores that are not satisfactory to you) doesn’t mean you won’t be able to study in college. There are different ways to get yourself admitted to a good college even though you get a low SAT score.

The first option that you may want to consider is to re-take the test. Keep in mind that re-taking the exam may not significantly improve your scores. But with diligent practice (either by yourself with your practice book or by hiring a tutor) then the chances of improving your scores will go higher. The good news is that most colleges will consider your best scores, and overlook the lowest scores as they consider them as irrelevant.

If you think you’re not good at taking the SAT, you may want to take the other standardized college entrance test — the ACT. If you think these two are the same, think again! The ACT is designed to test what you have learned in high school, while the SAT is designed to test verbal and reasoning skills. But compared to the SAT, (a longer) time is not your side in the ACT. So if you decide to take the ACT, you should start to work on your ACT time management so that you can comfortably work at your own pace (and avoid struggling under time pressure) on the actual test day.

But if you think you cannot (or you don’t want to) re-take the SAT or take the ACT, there are other options! You will be surprised to learn that there are over 800 colleges and universities that still accept students despite their low SAT scores. Let’s say, if your score is 1500, you will still be accepted. But what if your score is below 1500? Do not worry! There are many colleges and universities that will happily accept students with below-average SAT scores.

Instead of looking at your overall SAT score, many of these colleges look at your highest scores in some sections as the basis of your admission (such as Math). Some colleges, on the other hand, would disregard your SAT score altogether and instead consider other things such as your high GPA, your excellent academic record, or your extra-curricular activities. Even a well-written essay, a glowing letter of recommendation, or a strong college interview will get you in!

Do not be misled into thinking that colleges or universities that accept lower scores are not as good as the prestigious schools. They are, in fact, excellent schools! Many of these test-optional colleges offer four-year courses, as well.

There are also vocational or career colleges or community colleges — these colleges generally do not require any standardized test scores at all. You can stay at these colleges for the first two years, and after receiving an associate degree you can transfer to the 4-year school of your choice to pursue your bachelor degree.

Education is for everyone — it is a right and not a privilege. It is the key to an individual’s future growth. Even to those who did not score high on the SAT in San Ramon should not be denied the right to study in college.