The Pennsylvania Department of Education recently released the average SAT score for each public and charter high school across the state. Not surprisingly, many schools in our area are near the top of the list. You can see the list of the top 10 and search for other schools here: www.bizjournals.com/pa-sat (link will open in a new tab).
What does the school ranking mean for your student? At the end of the day, it will only have a very small impact on their college admissions, but there are two things it matters for.
The first is that colleges have a profile of high schools that include information such as the school’s size and racial and socioeconomic makeup; the grade point averages and college-admissions exam scores of its senior class; and its grading scale, graduation rate, and what kinds of advanced courses are available. Many schools post this information themselves, you can see an example of Conestoga here. In general, schools will look slightly more favorably on candidates who have separated themselves from their peers at their school, but it will only be one (minor) consideration among many. Far more important is the comparison to the national pool of students, GPA, if a student is taking easy or hard classes, and many other factors. In short, if your student is in a high-scoring district, don’t lose any sleep over this, it’s not going to keep them out of any school.
This does bring us to the second point – many students who come to us from high-scoring districts come to us with well above average scores, but say they feel “behind” because they hear about peers scoring at the top of the range. We have a consistent message on this: being above average in the national picture is a very good place to be. We are blessed in this area to have many of the top schools in the state, if not the country. In general, the Philadelphia suburban student population is NOT very representative of the country as a whole.
In fact, just look at the scores from the average (median) school in Pennsylvania, pulled from the Department of Education data linked to above. Millersburg Area School District (just north of Harrisburg) averaged 1050, a bit below the national average. Going a bit further down the list, Wilkes-Barre Area School District averaged 913. A number of Philadelphia city schools have averages in the 700’s.
At the end of the day, your student can only control how they do on their test. If they work diligently and acquire the skills the SAT will test them on, they are going to score great on the test. We often say, the SAT can only test on things a reasonable high school junior could know, given all the different schools and curricula around the country. Fortunately, we know exactly what those things are! It’s our job to teach each student, in a safe and supportive environment, so they can be proud of whatever they score on test day. Use the link below to see how we can support your student on their way to better scores.