College Criteria and SATs


From the time they start as freshmen, high school students work hard to learn and to prepare for college.


 Question: I am a parent of an eighth grade son and trying to decide where to send him to school next year. Recognizing that colleges will be looking for high SAT scores, how do the Catholic schools in the Diocese compare to national and area averages? Are students given SAT prep to help them excel?   

Response by Sr. Bernadette McManigal   

SAT scores (or ACT scores in some parts of the country), academic grades and curriculum are the three most important college admissions criteria.  Educational Testing Service (ETS), the non-profit institution that administers the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), is clear, however, that the SAT is just that: a measure of student aptitude.    

Students in the diocesan schools have exceptional SAT scores and out-shine their peers by a considerable margin in most of the public school districts in Northern Virginia, as well as on a national level. 

  Critical Reading Math Writing TOTAL
Diocese of Arlington 595 569 594 1758
Arlington County 541 548 521 1610
City of Alexandria 484 474 483 1441
City of Falls Church 568 577 567 1712
Fairfax County 552 569 543 1664
Loudoun County 533 535 525 1593
Fauquier County 517 520 494 1531
Prince William County 507 499 493 1499
Spotsylvania County 497 484 478 1459
Stafford County 506 504 484 1494
State Average 511 512 498 1521
National Average 501 515 493 1509

– As reported by the College Board for 2009   

Grades, on the other hand, depend upon the ability, quality, rigor and expectations of the student’s academic program, and the degree to which a student applies himself or herself to the program.  Each of the four diocesan high schools and the two affiliate high schools of the diocese offer high quality, rigorous programs that have been recognized by colleges and universities across the United States.     

As you look at high schools for your son, from the point of view of college preparation, I would encourage you to look at the quality of a school’s core curriculum, possibilities for honors and Advanced Placement courses, foreign language requirements and electives that will enhance your son’s high school education.   Colleges and universities will be looking at these items, what your son studied and his academic performance.   

For more information about the academic excellence, religious formation and safe environments in our Catholic high schools in the Diocese, check out the Web site and the Annual Report or contact the Office of Catholic schools at

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