SAT Archives - Write Track Admissions
What are your options and next steps if you have been denied by our top choice colleges?
Reading Time: 4 minutes   So, you’ve been denied to your top choice school, and you must be wondering: “what do I do now?”.  Let me break this down into three parts to better outline next steps in the process:
  1. Why did you get denied.
  2. What you can do better next time.
  3. What you can do TODAY!
  1. Qualifications: Your SAT/ACT/SAT IIs were not competitive enough for that year OR your GPA was on the borderline.
  2. Application Materials: Your essays, resume, application questions etc. did not help you stand out as a unique/must-have candidate.
  3. Timing: You may have applied too late in the admissions season (for example I first applied to LSE in late January so I was denied by mid-Feb. The second time I applied was in October and was admitted with a scholarship less than a month later).
  4. Oversubscribed: The major you applied to was oversubscribed (many many people applied) so while you had a great application, when push came to shove you didn’t make it through the final cut.
  1. Re-take your Standardized Test: If you take a year out (like a gap year) then you can retake the SAT. Even if you do marginally better you still show the school that you are trying (FYI – I took the SAT three times, the LSAT three times and the GRE twice…in each case I represented to the school that I was so keen to gain admissions to their school that I bothered to do the exam again and again, but there is a point of overkill and after 3 times its not worth it anymore (aka diminishing returns)).
  2. College Credit Courses: If you want to take a year out (not do community college) then take some college credit courses and if you do well you can submit those to the schools and that may help (specifically if your GPA was on the lower side). 
  3. Get Admissions Guidance: I can’t tell you how many times I have worked with someone who was denied the year before because they applied on their own and were blind to so many issues that could have otherwise made their applications amazing. An admissions expert or at least someone very familiar with the admissions process and ready to give you their time, will help you find YOUR ideal story, make sure you properly surface your qualifications, and ensure you have a unique application to truly stand out. 
  4. Start EARLY!: I can’t emphasize this enough. Even if you are applying for programs that do not have rolling admissions, you need to give yourself plenty of time to prepare your application materials. And for those programs that do have rolling admissions then your chances of admissions when you apply early are 2–3 times greater then if you wait until the last minute. Moreover, the earlier you apply the higher the chances of admissions (I received a lot funding when I applied early to Cambridge and Harvard). 
  5. Diversify: Make sure you apply broadly to reach, attainable and safety schools so you can give yourself the highest chances of admissions. 
  1. Feedback: Find out from some of the schools why you got rejected. Not all schools will give you candid feedback but some will and this will help you better understand what to do and improve.
  2. For College Applicants – Community College: If you are in the U.S. I would definitely advise applying and attending a local community college that can feed directly into the one or more of your ideal universities. Here is a great article on how to maximize the community college to university transition: Tips for Transferring from Community College (U.S. News). Additionally this will give you guidance on why Community College to University route: Should I go to community college and then transfer to a university?
  Hope this helps!   Read more helpful tips on our Quora account and stay tuned to other blogs on our Write Track Admissions Page.   ~ Hamada | Write Track Founder
How to ACE the Strengths and Weaknesses Essay
Reading Time: 5 mins   The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted countless lives across the globe. From financial troubles, unstable home lives, and unchartered school plans, students, in particular, have been disrupted greatly by the pandemic. Given the difficulties that students have faced this past year, the Common Application for example as well as many other schools, have placed a new question asking students about the impacts of COVID-19 on their lives:    Community disruptions such as COVID-19 and natural disasters can have deep and long-lasting impacts. If you need it, this space is yours to describe those impacts. Colleges care about the effects on your health and well-being, safety, family circumstances, future plans, and education, including access to reliable technology and quiet study spaces. For more information, check out our COVID-19 FAQ.   Students are asked to check “yes” or “no”, and if they choose to share (i.e. press “yes”) then students are given up to 250 words to address the prompt. However, many students are unsure as to what is suitable information to put in this section. A few reasons students might want to respond to the prompt include:   Grading changes: If your school decided to change the grading system or standards, then this would be a great place to let your colleges know about what was changed!   Unique circumstances: If you experienced significant changes to your daily life (such as the loss of a parent, forced evacuation from home, etc), then this would be the perfect spot to inform your colleges about the circumstances. Keep in mind, however, that most applicants faced some type of hardship during this time, so make sure you’re specific!   Testing: If you were unable to take required tests (IB, SAT, ACT, TOEFL, etc.), then be sure to make your colleges aware that your tests were cancelled. Although most colleges are being lenient with their testing requirements due to the pandemic!   The COVID-19 pandemic hit the world quite hard, and it continues to impact and change most of our everyday lives. The aforementioned ideas are just a few of the things that you might like to include for the COVID-19 prompt; include what you see fit. If you have been impacted by the pandemic, in any significant, unique way, then you should be sure to make your colleges aware. The better you explain your circumstances and your story, the better your chances. Remember, the college application is like a little film about YOU; all you have to do is tell your story!   ~ Sam Saba Write Track Admissions — College Expert
It’s Not the End! 6 ways to get ahead of the 2019 SAT Cancellations
Some of you woke up on October 16, 2019 to this message from the College Board (the administers of the SAT Exam):  

letter from College Board

        This is SUPER confusing, alarming, and unfair to all those that studied hard and took this exam without cheating! Yet this is not a new phenomenon. In fact, this year alone scores of international students, especially from Egypt, had their scores cancelled in March, May, and now October 2019! This has also taken place in the U.S., Morocco, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and China in recent years (you can track all the international test closings here).    For those students applying Early Decision (ED) and Early Action (EA), this does place them at a disadvantage, as there is no international testing date in November. In fact, the next available date would be December 7, 2019 (registration ends November 8, 2019), which is well after the November 1, 2019 ED and EA deadlines.   So what can you do to get in front of this issue especially for those who need an SAT score before applying?    Here are some of Write Track’s recommendations that will give you the guidance you need to plan out next steps:   1. Submit EA & ED applications. Submit your Early Decision and Early Action application if applicable for the November 1st deadline even if you do not have an SAT Score.   2. Write an Addendum. After submitting your application, write an addendum to respective offices of admission. We would be happy to help you draft this addendum to strengthen your case. We would also advise appending a letter from your SAT tutor (if applicable) to explain what you were averaging over the course of your lessons. It is imperative that the SAT tutors are honest and accurate as the letter would essentially serve as an affidavit.   3. Sign-up for the December test date. Though this would be after the deadline for early applicants, if you are placed on a waitlist, an improved score can help you in the long-run. Make sure to sign up as soon as possible to reserve spots (registration ends November 8, 2019), as many will be attempting to re-take the SAT in December.   4. Take the SAT test in neighboring countries. While there is no test date in November anywhere in the Middle East, consider these other country options in December, as there is consistent targeting scores in Egypt specifically.   5. Take November SAT in the U.S. We know this may be an incredible financial burden and time investment. Yet, this is just an option to consider if it is feasible for you.   6. Consider the ACT. Less students internationally take the ACT exam and therefore there is less of a chance for systemic cheating, which could otherwise impact your score. The ACT exam is deemed to be more straightforward than the SAT and many schools take the ACT in lieu of the SAT. Even though its not administered in November, you can still take it in December.   We recognize the significant burden and confusion of this cancellation and are here to help you and/or your child navigate this difficult time.    Please contact us directly (+1(323) 628-1640 | with any questions so we can best help your child move forward and submit successful applications for the 2019-2020 admissions cycle!   ~ Hamada | Founder, Write Track Admissions