Should I apply to colleges if my admission-test scores or grades are below their published ranges?

Yes. The admission scores and grades that colleges show on their websites are averages or ranges—not cutoffs. There are students at every college who scored lower (and higher) than the numbers shown.

Remember that colleges consider many factors to get a more complete picture of you. For example, they look at the types of classes you take, your activities, recommendation letters, your essay and your overall character. Colleges are looking for all kinds of students with different talents, abilities and backgrounds. Admission test scores and grades are just two parts of that complete picture.

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