Superscoring ACT and SAT and Score Choice


Many in college admission talk about reading applications holistically and supportively; one way they can do this is by “superscoring” standardized tests. This means that if you take the SAT more than once, the admission office will take the highest section score across test administrations and assign you a new, higher total score. For instance, if you scored a 650 EBRW and 670 Math (Total 1320) in March and a 700 EBRW and 650 Math (Total 1350) in May, your superscore would be 700 + 670 = 1370. For the ACT, this process generally takes the form of taking your highest test scores across test administrations, but may not result in a new Composite score because colleges use test scores individually.

Score Choice

The College Board and ACT have adopted policies, generally referred to as “Score Choice,” designed to give students some control over how SAT, Subject Test, and ACT scores are reported. Colleges, however, have the final say over what scores applicants should submit and how those scores will be used. Students should carefully review the score-reporting policy of each college to which they plan to apply.

  • Require all scores: These colleges explicitly require applicants to submit all test scores.
  • Recommend all scores: These colleges recommend but do not require that applicants send all test scores. Often these admission offices will create superscores for applicants, and counselors do not want students to inadvertently neglect to send a high section score.
  • Accept score choice: These colleges will accept whichever scores an applicant elects to submit.

In the table below, you will find the superscore and score choice policies of many popular colleges. We are working to build out this database to include the 360 popular colleges whose ACT Writing and SAT Essay policies, SAT Subject Test policies, and estimated new SAT score ranges we also track.

SchoolSuperscore SATSuperscore ACTScore Choice
Abilene Christian UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Adelphi UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Agnes Scott CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Albion CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Allegheny CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
American UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Amherst CollegeYesYesRecommends all
Appalachian State UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Arizona State University—​TempeYesNoScore choice OK
Auburn UniversityNoNoScore choice OK
Augustana CollegeNoNoScore choice OK
Austin CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Babson CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Baldwin Wallace UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Bard CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Barnard CollegeYesNoRequires all SAT or ACT
Bates CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Baylor UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Beloit CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Bennington CollegeYesYes*Score choice OK
Bentley UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Berea CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Berry CollegeYesNoRecommends all
Binghamton University—​SUNYYesNoScore choice OK
Biola UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Birmingham-​Southern College YesYesScore choice OK
Boston CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Boston UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Bowdoin CollegeYes*YesScore choice OK
Bradley UniversityNoNoScore choice OK
Brandeis UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Brigham Young University—​ProvoNoNoScore choice OK
Brown UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Bryn Mawr CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Bucknell UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Butler UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
California Institute of TechnologyYesYesScore choice OK
California Lutheran UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
California Polytechnic State University—​San Luis ObispoYesYesScore choice OK
California State Polytechnic University--PomonaYesYesScore choice OK
California State University--FresnoYesYesScore choice OK
California State University--FullertonYesYesScore choice OK
California State University--Long BeachYesYesScore choice OK
California State University--Los AngelesYesYesRequires all SAT or ACT
California State University--Monterey BayYesYesScore choice OK
California State University--NorthridgeYesNoScore choice OK
Carleton CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Carnegie Mellon UniversityYesNoRequires all SAT or ACT
Carroll CollegeNoNoRecommends all
Case Western Reserve UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Centre CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Chapman UniversityYesNoRecommends all
Christopher Newport UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Claremont McKenna CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Clark UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Clarkson UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Clemson UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Coe CollegeNoNoScore choice OK
Colby CollegeYesYesRecommends all
Colgate UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
College of CharlestonYesNoRecommends all
College of New JerseyYesNoScore choice OK
College of St. BenedictYesYesRecommends all
College of the Holy CrossYesNoScore choice OK
College of William and MaryYesNoScore choice OK
College of WoosterYesYesScore choice OK
Colorado CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Colorado School of MinesNoNoScore choice OK
Colorado State UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Columbia UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Concordia College—​MoorheadYesYesScore choice OK
Connecticut CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Cooper UnionYesYesRecommends all
Cornell CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Cornell UniversityYes*NoRequires all SAT or ACT
Creighton UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
CUNY—​Baruch CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Dartmouth CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Davidson CollegeYesYesRecommends all
Denison UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
DePaul UniversityNoNoScore choice OK
DePauw UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Dickinson CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Drake UniversityNoNoScore choice OK
Drew UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Drexel UniversityYesNoRecommends all
Drury UniversityNoNoScore choice OK
Duke UniversityYes*Yes*Score choice OK
Duquesne UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Earlham CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Elmhurst CollegeNoNoScore choice OK
Elon UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Embry-​Riddle Aeronautical UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Emerson CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Emory UniversityYesNoRecommends all
Fairfield UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Florida Institute of TechnologyYesYesRecommends all
Florida State UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Fordham UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Franklin and Marshall CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Furman UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Gallaudet UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
George Mason UniversityYesNoRecommends all
George Washington UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Georgetown UniversityYesNoRequires all scores
Georgia Institute of TechnologyYesYesRecommends all
Gettysburg CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Gonzaga UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Goshen CollegeYesYesRecommends all
Goucher CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Grinnell CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Gustavus Adolphus CollegeNoNoScore choice OK
Hamilton CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Hampden-​Sydney CollegeYesYesRecommends all
Hampton UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Hanover CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Harvard University YesNoScore choice OK
Harvey Mudd CollegeYesYesRequires all scores
Haverford CollegeYesYesRecommends all
Hendrix CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
High Point UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Hillsdale CollegeNoNoScore choice OK
Hobart and William Smith CollegesYesNoScore choice OK
Hofstra UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Hollins UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Hope CollegeNoNoScore choice OK
Howard UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Humboldt State University YesYesRequires all SAT or ACT
Illinois Institute of TechnologyYesYesRecommends all
Illinois Wesleyan UniversityNoNoScore choice OK
Indiana University—​BloomingtonYesYesScore choice OK
Iowa State UniversityNoNoScore choice OK
Ithaca CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
James Madison UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
John Brown UniversityNoNoScore choice OK
Johns Hopkins UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Kalamazoo CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Kenyon CollegeYesYesRecommends all
Knox CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Lafayette CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Lake Forest CollegeYesYesRecommends all
Lawrence UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Lehigh UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Lewis & Clark CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Lipscomb UniversityNoNoScore choice OK
Louisiana State University—​Baton RougeNoNoScore choice OK
Loyola Marymount UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Loyola University ChicagoNoNoScore choice OK
Loyola University MarylandYesYesScore choice OK
Loyola University New OrleansYesYesScore choice OK
Luther CollegeYesNoRecommends all
Macalester CollegeNoNoRecommends all
Marist CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Marquette UniversityNoNoScore choice OK
Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyYesYesScore choice OK
Mercer UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Miami University—​OxfordYesYesRecommends all
Michigan State UniversityNoNoScore choice OK
Michigan Technological UniversityNoNoRecommends all
Middlebury CollegeYesYesRecommends all
Mills CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Millsaps CollegeYesYesRecommends all
Milwaukee School of EngineeringYesNoRecommends all
Mississippi State UniversityNoNoScore choice OK
Missouri University of Science & TechnologyNoNoScore choice OK
Morehouse CollegeYesContact collegeScore choice OK
Mount Holyoke CollegeNoNoScore choice OK
Muhlenberg CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
New College of FloridaYesNoScore choice OK
New Jersey Institute of TechnologyYesNoScore choice OK
New SchoolNoNoScore choice OK
New York UniversityYesYes*Score choice OK
North Carolina State University—​RaleighYesYesRecommends all
Northeastern UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Northwestern UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Oberlin CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Occidental CollegeYesYes*Score choice OK
Ohio State University—​ColumbusNoNoScore choice OK
Ohio UniversityYesNoRecommends all
Ohio Wesleyan UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Oklahoma State UniversityNoNoRecommends all
Oregon State UniversityNoNoRecommends all
Pacific Lutheran UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Pennsylvania State University—​University ParkNoNoRecommends all
Pepperdine UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Pitzer CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Point Loma Nazarene UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Pomona CollegeYesYesRecommends all
Pratt InstituteYesNoScore choice OK
Presbyterian College (SC)YesYesScore choice OK
Princeton University YesNoRecommends all
Providence CollegeYesNoRecommends all
Purdue University—​West LafayetteYesYes*Score choice OK
Queens University of CharlotteYesYesScore choice OK
Quinnipiac UniversityYesNoRecommends all
Randolph-​Macon CollegeYesYesRecommends all
Reed CollegeYesNoRecommends all
Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteYesNoScore choice OK
Rhode Island School of DesignNoNoScore choice OK
Rhodes CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Rice UniversityYesNoRequires all SAT or ACT
Ripon CollegeNoNoScore choice OK
Rochester Institute of TechnologyYesYesScore choice OK
Rollins CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey—​New BrunswickYesNoScore choice OK
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey—​NewarkYesNoScore choice OK
Saint Louis UniversityNoNoScore choice OK
Samford UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
San Diego State UniversityYesYesRecommends all
San Francisco State UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
San Jose State UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Santa Clara UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Sarah Lawrence CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Scripps CollegeYesNoRequires all SAT or ACT
Seattle UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Seton Hall UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Sewanee—​University of the SouthYesYesScore choice OK
Siena CollegeYesNoRecommends all
Simmons CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Skidmore CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Smith CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Soka University of AmericaYesYesRequires all SAT or ACT
Southern Methodist UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Southwestern UniversityYesNoRecommends all
Spelman CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
St. John Fisher CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
St. John's College AnnapolisYesYesRecommends all
St. John's University (NY)YesYesScore choice OK
St. Lawrence UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
St. Mary's College (IN)YesYesScore choice OK
St. Mary's College of CaliforniaYesYesRecommends all
St. Mary's College of MarylandYesNoRecommends all
St. Michael's CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
St. Olaf CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Stanford UniversityYesNoRequires all scores
Stetson UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Stevens Institute of TechnologyYesYesScore choice OK
Stonehill CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Stony Brook University—​SUNYYesNoRecommends all
SUNY College of Environmental Science and ForestryYesYesScore choice OK
SUNY—​GeneseoYesYesScore choice OK
Susquehanna UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Swarthmore CollegeYesYes*Score choice OK
Syracuse UniversityYesYesRequires all scores
Taylor UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Temple UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Texas A&M University—​College StationNoNoScore choice OK
Texas Christian UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Texas Lutheran UniversityYesYesRecommends all
The Catholic University of AmericaYesNoScore choice OK
The CitadelYesNoRequires all SAT or ACT
Thomas Aquinas CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Transylvania UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Trinity College (Hartford)YesYesScore choice OK
Trinity UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Truman State UniversityNoNoScore choice OK
Tufts UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Tulane UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Union College (Schenectady, NY)YesYesScore choice OK
United States Air Force AcademyYesYesScore choice OK
United States Coast Guard AcademyYesYesScore choice OK
United States Military AcademyYesYesScore choice OK
United States Naval AcademyYesYesScore choice OK
University at Albany—​SUNYYesNoScore choice OK
University at Buffalo—​SUNYYesNoScore choice OK
University of AlabamaNoNoScore choice OK
University of ArizonaNoNoScore choice OK
University of Arkansas—​FayettevilleYesYesScore choice OK
University of California—​BerkeleyNoNoRequires all SAT or ACT
University of California—​DavisNoNoRequires all SAT or ACT
University of California—​IrvineNoNoRequires all SAT or ACT
University of California—​Los AngelesNoNoRequires all SAT or ACT
University of California—MercedNoNoRequires all SAT or ACT
University of California—RiversideNoNoRequires all SAT or ACT
University of California—​San DiegoNoNoRequires all SAT or ACT
University of California—​Santa BarbaraNoNoRequires all SAT or ACT
University of California—​Santa CruzNoNoRequires all SAT or ACT
University of ChicagoYesYesRecommends all
University of CincinnatiNoNoRecommends all
University of Colorado—​BoulderYesYesRecommends all
University of ConnecticutYesYesScore choice OK
University of DallasYesNoRecommends all
University of DaytonYesYesScore choice OK
University of DelawareYesYesRecommends all
University of DenverYesYesScore choice OK
University of FloridaYesNoScore choice OK
University of GeorgiaYesYesScore choice OK
University of Hawaii at ManoaYesYesScore choice OK
University of Illinois—​ChicagoNoNoScore choice OK
University of Illinois—​Urbana-​ChampaignYes*Yes*Score choice OK
University of IowaNoNoScore choice OK
University of KansasNoNoScore choice OK
University of KentuckyYesYesRecommends all
University of La VerneYesYesScore choice OK
University of Mary WashingtonYesYesScore choice OK
University of Maryland—​College ParkYesYesScore choice OK
University of Massachusetts—​AmherstYesYesScore choice OK
University of MiamiYesYesRequires all SAT or ACT
University of Michigan—​Ann ArborYes*Yes*Score choice OK
University of Minnesota—​Twin CitiesNoNoRecommends all
University of MississippiNoNoScore choice OK
University of MissouriNoNoScore choice OK
University of Nebraska—​LincolnNoNoScore choice OK
University of New HampshireYesNoRecommends all
University of North Carolina—​Chapel HillYesYesScore choice OK
University of North Carolina—​WilmingtonYesYesRecommends all
University of Notre DameYesNoScore choice OK
University of OklahomaNoNoScore choice OK
University of OregonYesNoScore choice OK
University of PennsylvaniaYesYesScore Choice OK
University of PittsburghYesNoRecommends all
University of PortlandYesYesScore choice OK
University of Puget SoundYesYesScore choice OK
University of RedlandsYesYesRecommends all
University of RichmondYesNoScore choice OK
University of RochesterYesYesScore choice OK
University of San DiegoYesNoRecommends all
University of San FranciscoYesYesRecommends all
University of South CarolinaYesNoRequires all scores
University of South FloridaYesYesRecommends all
University of Southern CaliforniaYesNoScore choice OK
University of St. Thomas (MN)YesYesRecommends all
University of TennesseeYesYesRecommends all
University of Texas—​AustinNoNoScore choice OK
University of Texas—​DallasYesNoScore choice OK
University of the PacificYesYesRecommends all
University of TulsaYesYesScore choice OK
University of UtahNoNoScore choice OK
University of VermontYesYesRecommends all
University of VirginiaYes*Yes*Score choice OK
University of WashingtonYesYesRequires all scores
University of Wisconsin—​MadisonNoNoRecommends all
Ursinus CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Valparaiso UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Vanderbilt UniversityYesNoRecommends all
Vassar CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Villanova UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Virginia Commonwealth UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Virginia Military InstituteYesYesRecommends all
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Wabash CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Wake Forest UniversityYesYes*Score choice OK
Washington and Jefferson CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Washington and Lee UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Washington CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Washington State UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Washington University in St. LouisYesYesScore choice OK
Wellesley CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Wesleyan UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Westmont CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Wheaton College (IL)YesYesScore choice OK
Whitman CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Whittier CollegeNoNoScore choice OK
Willamette UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Williams CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Wofford CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Worcester Polytechnic InstituteYesNoScore choice OK
Xavier UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Yale UniversityYesNoRequires all SAT or ACT
Yeshiva UniversityYes**Yes**Score choice OK

* Weak Superscoring—This school falls somewhere between “highest composite” and true superscoring. For instance, Cornell, Duke, and NYU look at the highest subscores even though they do not build a new composite score. We find this to be almost a distinction without a difference, especially since some colleges do the same thing behind the scenes but label it “superscoring.”

Post a comment or send an email to with questions or recommended changes.

Updated 7/12/17

Ash Kramer

About Ash Kramer

With a career in test prep and higher education that began in the late 90s, Ash has held a variety of educational roles from tutor to administrator. She is currently a PhD candidate at USC and the Director of Curriculum at Compass, where she is lucky to lead a brilliant team creating the very best learning materials for students and their tutors.


  • Vijay A says:

    Ash, this is wonderful data, thank you. It seems unfair that some universities superscore SAT but not ACT. What’s the logic? My son has a 33 English, 34 Math, 28 Reading and 30 Science for a superscore composite of 31 over two sittings but his highest composite is 30. He’s aiming for some of the schools that don’t superscore or do true superscore and is trying to improve his superscore composite to 32 but afraid he may not get that composite score in one sitting. What would your advice be for him?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      The practice of not superscoring the ACT has historical roots having to do with score reporting and a false sense that the Composite was somehow indivisible. That practice is slowly dying off — at least 50% of top colleges now superscore the ACT (and not all colleges superscore the SAT). The number one thing to consider is not superscore vs not superscore, since your son’s scores are similar (30 vs 31). More important is deciding what sort of scores he’ll need — and can reasonably obtain — for his target colleges. Some students are thrilled with a 30/31 and are done with testing. At the most competitive colleges, a 33 or 34 is more likely to put him in the mix.

  • Ethan W says:

    I heard that Clemson is now superscoring the ACT. Do you know if this is true

    • Ash Kramer says:

      Hi Ethan. Your question prompted me to reach out to the university. According to one of their admission counselors, they do not superscore the ACT. They take the highest composite score from one sitting.

  • William Ma says:

    Hi, Ash, Thank you for your sharing. It is really helpful for my son’s application. I have two questions. Where can I find the superscore info on CSU website? I can’t find the ACT superscore info for CSU. My son took two ACT tests with score 32 on the first time and 34 on the second. But his math is dropped to 34 on the second test from 36 on the first one. He wants to apply for computer science major. My second question is there is any benefit to send both to UC (University of California). Thank you very much. William

    • Ash Kramer says:

      Hi William,
      Those are strong scores! Our research into schools is done through a combination of searching out statements and contacting admission offices directly. I just spoke to the admissions office at Cal Poly, Slo (one of the more competitive CSUs) and the admission officer I spoke with confirmed that they will be superscoring the ACT. As for the UCs, they do not superscore but they do require that you send all scores. I can’t promise they would pay attention to that 36 Math on the 32 composite score, but it can’t hurt to send it! Good luck!

  • Ashwin Inala says:

    Hello Ash,

    This was super helpful! Can you elaborate on the difference between “Requires all scores” like Georgetown and “Requires all SAT or ACT scores” like Rice?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      I think I can answer this one for you. Georgetown wants all of your SAT and ACT scores — period. Rice is saying, in contrast, “If you are going to send SAT scores, you need to send all SAT scores. If you are going to send ACT scores, you need to send all ACT scores.” If you took both tests and performed poorly on the ACT, there is no obligation to report it to Rice. Georgetown would want to weigh the ACT score along with your SAT score(s).

  • Ken says:

    Stonehill College superscores the SAT, but does not superscore the ACT. I have confirmed that with the Director of Admissions.

  • Hariram says:

    I am an student from Nepal. I took SAT twice.
    My October SAT score is CR-560 M-740 Total-1300 Essay-5,4,5
    My December SAT score is CR-600 M-770 Total-1370 Essay-0,0,0
    I have sent both of my scores to University of Mississippi, Olemiss.
    Which of my score will be considered for scholarship decision?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Ole Miss has a wide range of scholarship programs. It is best to contact the university directly given how specific your question is. Different criteria are sometimes used for scholarships than for admission, and international students often face yet another set of standards.

  • Jennifer says:

    I heard a rumor that if a school does super score the ACT, it will only do so if the student does the optional reading portion on both tests or does not do the reading on both tests, but they won’t super score one test with the reading and one without. Does that make sense to you? Is it a myth?

    • Ash Kramer says:

      Hi Jennifer,
      Great question! While the ACT does have a reading test, it’s not the optional section; the Reading test is the third portion of every test and it is required. I suppose you could technically sit through it and not answer anything and hope that superscoring means it’ll be ignored, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend it.

      So I think you’re asking about the optional essay test at the end. Three things to note: (1) schools who superscore are trying to read your application supportively, so throwing out a test because you didn’t take the optional essay test would undermine their aim, (2) relatively few schools require or recommend the ACT essay, and (3) a superscore doesn’t include the optional writing score because the composite score is always only made up of English, Math, Reading, and Science.

      Of the 360 schools that we track, only 8 require the ACT and superscore: Claremont McKenna College, United States Military Academy, Soka University of America, Westmont College, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, Olin College of Engineering, and United States Coast Guard Academy. If any school was going to refuse to superscore an ACT with the optional Writing test with one without, it would likely be one of these. But we haven’t run across this policy in our research.

      So I would say it’s 99% a myth, but to be certain, you should always check in with the specific universities to which you’re applying!

  • Diana says:

    Good morning! Enjoy reading your blog and all the data you and Art share, thank you!

    Few questions…

    First, our son is a junior and has sat for both SAT and ACT, earning the following scores:

    January SAT
    RW-670 M-730 Total-1400 Essay-6,5,6
    Reading 34, Writing & Language 33, Math 36.5, Science 36 , History 32

    October SAT
    RW-690 M-680 Total-1370 Essay-7,6,7
    Reading 35, Writing & Language 34, Math 34, Science 31, History 36

    October ACT composite score 33
    English 35, Math 32, Reading 34, Science 32, Writing 9

    Which test would you recommend he submit when applying later this year… ACT or SAT? If the latter, which sitting?

    Second, his October PSAT/NMSQT score was 1460 (RW-750 and M-710) with SI of 221. If he were to make the cutoff for semifinalist in California, do you recommend he take the SAT again or are his scores enough to confirm his PSAT? Third time may be a charm???

    With gratitude,

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Thank you. For some students, the strategy varies from college to college because of differing policies. The good news in your son’s case is that his October ACT score trumps his SAT scores and even his superscored SAT score. I think he should keep it simple and submit the ACT. There are a few schools — Yale and Georgetown are the most prominent — that expect students to send all test scores — SAT and ACT. If he abides strictly be these policies, again, the choice is simple — he’ll be submitting everything.

      It looks like his SAT scores will fall just short of confirming level, which was at a 209 SAT Selection Index last year. He may want to reserve a date in the fall for a retake (Oct/Nov/Dec are all acceptable) once he finds out his status.

  • Vinit says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    My son took both SAT and ACT. He scored 33 composite score on ACT (35 Math, 33 Sci, 30 Eng, 33 Reading). In SAT he scored 1460 (790 Math and 670 reading). We are not sure which one he should attempt second time – ACT or SAT? Also, can you elaborate on “For the ACT, this process generally takes the form of taking your highest test scores across test administrations, but may not result in a new Composite score because colleges use test scores individually”.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Your son’s scores fall into what we at Compass consider the “judgment call” range. His ACT score is a little stronger based on a pure concordance, but it is not a runaway winner. Nothing leaps out at me as a great indicator of which test he should repeat. His Math scores are almost topped out on both exams. His writing/reading scores are his weakest area on both tests — a bit weaker on the SAT. I would recommend focusing on the ACT. It’s a higher starting point, and there is not an obvious case for the SAT.

      Yes, this is a fine point. Let’s say a student has scores of 30E, 31M, 29R, 30S, 30 Composite and 32E, 29M, 31R, 32S, 31 Composite. A school that adheres to full superscoring would combine those scores into 32E, 31M, 31R, and 32S. The Composite for those scores would be recalculated as 32. A school that uses “superscoring lite” uses the same combination of of tests scores — 32E, 31M, 31R, and 32S — but it does not say “that’s a 32 Composite.” Is there much of a difference? No, not in the vast majority of cases.

  • Margaret says:

    Does Michigan superscore? According to this doc by the SAT ( they take the highest section (version 2) – but I do see “No” under superscore on your list? Thanks!

    • Art Sawyer says:

      It seems like College Board would know something like this, but one reason we compile our list is that it’s information is often wrong. Here is a direct quote from Michigan’s FAQ: “The University of Michigan does not superscore an applicant’s test results.” If you read their interpretation, you can see why simple labels are sometimes inadequate. In effect, they say “we will use your best score from a sitting, but we are going to consider all of them, but really only if they are better.” This starts to blend into what we sometimes call superscore-lite. The most important thing from students’ perspective is that additional scores will never hurt them.

  • Shelly says:

    If a college “requires all scores,” does that only apply to SAT/ACT scores, or does it also apply to Subject Test Scores? I’m thinking if it’s one of the four schools that actually requires subject tests, and it’s a school that requires all scores (i.e. Harvey Mudd) , it probably means all SAT/ACT and Subject Test scores. But if it’s a school that “requires all scores” like Georgetown, which only “recommends” subject tests (even though we all know they are essentially required there!), can I safely assume that the student must send all SAT/ACT scores, but the student may choose which subject test scores to send? Thanks!

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Your rule of thumb is a good one, although Georgetown is an exception that proves the rule. “Georgetown requires that you submit scores from all test sittings of the SAT, ACT, and SAT II Subject Tests.” I think Georgetown takes glee in being the exception. My colleague verified with Harvey Mudd that a) they expect all Subject Test scores and b) they only consider the highest scores (Math 2 being required). That b) is true at many colleges when it comes to Subject Tests. College Board doesn’t help matters by not distinguishing between the SAT and Subject Tests when it comes to Score Choice. For example, students submitting scores to Yale will be told that Yale requires “All scores.” In fact, Yale recognizes Score Choice for Subject Tests. Ultimately, the student is in control of his or her scores.

  • P's parent says:

    First of all your blog is really helpful for a parent like me(first generation going to college in USA)
    My son is a Junior in High School. He took the SAT twice and the 2nd time he got 1500, 800 in Math and a 700 in English (on a 1600 scale) with an essay score of 7/7/7. She took ACT once and got only 30.
    Also, his cumulative GPA is 3.91 (with 6 AP classes and 7 Honors) and 21 credits. He is planning take 3 more AP classes in senior year.
    He is an active participant in First Robotics club and team Captain this year. He is also part of Science, Model UN and Chem club.
    He is passionate about Electronics/Robotics. Also, he has built RC planes from scratch and also works with Arduino.
    He is very interested in programming and has learned 5 programming languages (C++, Java, JavaScript, HTML, CSS) in the last couple years.
    I was wondering whether you can answer below question:
    1) Is he eligible to get any Merit Scholarship?
    2) He is interested in applying to MIT for Aeronautical Engineering. Do you think his overall performance have any scope to get into this college?
    3) Does he need both SAT and ACT scores to get into MIT or just SAT is enough?
    4) Do you recommend that he takes the SAT again or is his scores enough?
    Waiting for your valuable opinion?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      P’s Parent,
      1) Is he eligible to get any Merit Scholarship?
      If you are referring to National Merit, he must first qualify based on his PSAT score. See our NMSF post about the scores he would need. If you mean merit scholarships, in general, things are far too complicated to answer simply. His grades and test scores would make him eligible at many colleges. Keep in mind, though, that at many of the most competitive colleges, financial aid is determined by need rather than by academics (the idea is to use finite resources to help students who might otherwise not be able to attend). You will need to research individual colleges.
      2) He is interested in applying to MIT for Aeronautical Engineering. Do you think his overall performance have any scope to get into this college?
      MIT is one of the most selective institutions in the country. Even among highly qualified students such as your son, the chances of admission are long. Your son seems to be within a GPA (as long as the 3.91 is unweighted) and score range for MIT, but so are thousands of other students. MIT is one of the few colleges still requiring Subject Tests. As an engineering applicant, I would recommend Math 2 and physics or chemistry. If he can excel at more that 2, that’s great, as well. MIT has a wonderful admission office that will be happy to give you more information.
      3) Does he need both SAT and ACT scores to get into MIT or just SAT is enough?
      He does not need the ACT, but he will need Subject Tests (I got ahead of myself on the last answer).
      4) Do you recommend that he takes the SAT again or is his scores enough?
      This is a hard one to answer. Despite how well he did on the SAT, a 1500 would probably put him at the low end of the range when compared to admitted students at MIT. Raising his score could be useful. Since MIT superscores, he won’t “lose” his 800M even if he does poorer on a retest. In order of importance: Subject Test (because they are absolutely required) and SAT retest (because it could help him).

      While I’ve focused my answers on MIT, the important thing is for him to consider a wide range of colleges. MIT turns away many excellent applicants. He should be able to find a number of great aeronautical engineering programs to which he can apply.

  • Annika says:

    Hi Ash,
    I looked at CMU’s website and they say that they require applicants to send all test results of the SAT and ACT. However, in your database I saw that you put Score Choice was OK for CMU.


    • Ash Kramer says:

      Thanks for the note, Annika! You are totally correct and we’ve changed our table to reflect that Carnegie Mellon requires all of either your SAT or ACT scores.

  • Mary says:

    Hi, my son had an ACT test when he was 8th greader, he got 35 out of 36. In high school, he has PSAT, SAT , and two SAT subjects all perfect scores, and eight AP with five. In this case, I am thinking not to summit his old ACT store, but his consoler thinks he can still submit it since 35 is still a good score and it was done when he is in 8th grande. What you recommend?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      I’m siding with mom on this one. The ACT adds no new information for an admission department, and they are unlikely to consider the fact that he got the 35 in 8th grade. His testing portfolio is, quite literally, perfect.

  • Garrett Wood says:


    This is a great article! One question – if a college’s website doesn’t specifically state whether or not it super-scores the SAT or ACT, how do you determine whether you should put “yes” or “no” on this chart? I am a recent employee of Mississippi State University’s Office of Admissions, and we have never super-scored either test. Before I commented, I checked with a former co-worker in that office who is still working there to see if anything has changed since I left a few months ago, and they confirmed that MSU still does not super-score either test.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Thank you for sharing your knowledge. We based our note on MSU’s pathways to admission. One of the paths to admission is meeting the NCAA standards for Division I athletes. Because the NCAA superscores, this would seem to allow students to qualify under the NCAA standards using superscored SATs or ACTs. I believe — please correct me — that this MSU pathway is applicable to all students and not just to athletes. Of course the NCAA standards also include certain requirements about core classes used to calculate GPA, but this post is only meant to reflect the testing requirements.

      We’re happy to clean this up if you and your former colleagues feel that it is misleading.

  • TheRock says:

    Do I look like a slacker if I only took the ACT once and got a composite score – 33 ? Is that good enough for Ivy League that don’t require writing ?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Colleges would never hold one-and-done testing against you. If you got the score you wanted, you should be grateful that you can focus on other things. The second part of your question is hard to answer. Plenty of students get into top colleges with a 33. On the other hand, students with higher scores get admitted at a higher rate. Repeat testing depends on a number of factors. Two of the biggest are your motivation level and your confidence that you can improve.

    • MBradley says:

      For what it’s worth, my son got a 33 on the ACT, had great grades and did not get into any Ivys. He also took it once and was told that that was high enough but it wasn’t. Best of luck!

  • Paul says:

    Daughter has PSAT 1400 690 Verbal 710 Math SAT 1380 700 Verbal 680 Math ACT 32 English, 29 Math, 34 Reading, 32 Science and 32 Composite.

    She is planning on taking ACT again to see if she can get the Math up from the 29 and maybe pick up a composite point

    However in light of super scoring I think she should also retake the SAT’s for the chance to get those scores up as well. Thoughts on this.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      This is a personal decision, because being prepared for both tests can put a burden on the student — one that some students are happy to bear. Your daughter’s ACT Composite is a good deal better than her current SAT scores. She would need to raise her SAT score by at least 100 points to match her 32. Compass’ advice is generally to focus on one test at a time, as this increases the odds of lifting that score.

  • Pranav says:

    Do colleges superscore the new SAT essay? I took the new SAT 3 times with all essays and got a 7/7/7 on my highest, and 6/6/6 lowest. Which would they consider, especially since I am superscoring my SAT scores? I am unsure how the essays would work.

    Also, does score choice apply for subject tests too? If a college does score choice, I am only required to send my higher subject test score while if they do not score choice, I am required to send both? Is this how it works?

    Thank you!

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Superscoring colleges will generally superscore the essay, as well, so your 7/7/7 would be used.

      Not only does Score Choice apply to Subject Tests, even most colleges that consider themselves “non-Score Choice” allow an exception for Subject Tests. This is confusing, because College Board’s website will warn you that a college expects all scores (in other words, their site is not smart enough to distinguish between choice for the SAT and choice for the Subject Tests). You should check individual college policies, but in almost all cases you are allowed to submit your highest scores.

  • David says:

    Does University of California—​Irvine really accept score choice? I am a little confuesd since it seems that all other UC colleges require all SAT or ACT.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      This is a good example of where our fact checkers ran into the obstacle of believing the campus admission office. 😉 The UCs have a uniform policy against Score Choice. The thing to keep in mind is that Score Choice is completely irrelevant for the UCs. They will only consider a student’s highest combined scores and best Subject Tests (which are not required). Withholding scores provides no benefits. We will update the UC policies.

  • Lisa says:

    Hi! If on the ACT my son got a 34 composite with a breakdown of 35E, 31M, 35R and 33S then took it again with a 33 composite with a breakdown of 34E, 33M, 30R and 34S, does it look bad if her composite went down a point even though 2 individual scores went up? We are not sure if we should send the second test to schools that superscore. If we sent both, how do they see it visually? Do they see 34, 33 or do their systems automatically superscore so all they see are the highest individual sections? In other words – we are worried about them seeing that 30R in his 2nd test.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Your son is in an interesting situation. Normally I would advise to simply send both scores. Some superscoring colleges only show the highest subscores to admission officers, while others show the original scores and the superscore. However, the intention of superscoring colleges is to view test scores in a supportive manner, and I think that you can trust colleges to do this. The small twist in your son’s case is that his superscored composite would be no higher than his first composite. He achieved a 33.5 (rounded to a 34) on his first test and has a 34.25 (rounded to 34) when superscored. So colleges focusing on the composite will see no difference. It’s best to assume that colleges will see all of his subscores. I would still come down on the side of sending both scores.

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