Superscoring and Score Choice Policies

By February 19, 2021 April 20th, 2021 ACT, College Admission Requirements, For Students, SAT


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. ACT has introduced its Superscoring report as of April 2021 as a convenient way for students to send their best scores. See our complete guide to the new report.

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. These schools’ 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 estimated ACT and SAT score ranges we also track.

10/29/20 Update: We will begin tracking which schools accept single section retakes for the ACT once it is made available. Section Retesting has been delayed by the pandemic, and ACT has not yet given a firm date for rollout.

SchoolSuperscore SATSuperscore ACTSuperscore ACT with Single Section RetakesScore 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 CollegeYesYesScore Choice OK
Appalachian State UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Arizona State University—​TempeNoNoScore choice OK
Auburn UniversityNoNoScore choice OK
Augustana CollegeNoNoScore choice OK
Austin CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Babson CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Baldwin Wallace UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Bard CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Barnard CollegeYesYesRecommends 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—​SUNYYesYesScore 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 UniversityYesYes*Score choice OK
Bryn Mawr CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Bucknell UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Butler UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
California Institute of TechnologyYesNo*Score 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 AngelesYesYesScore Choice OK
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 CollegeYesYesRecommends all
Chapman UniversityYesNoRecommends all
Christopher Newport UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Claremont McKenna CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Clark UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Clarkson UniversityNoNoScore choice OK
Clemson UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Coe CollegeNoNoScore choice OK
Colby CollegeYesYesRecommends all
Colgate UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
College of CharlestonYesYesRecommends all
College of New JerseyYesNoScore choice OK
College of St. BenedictYesYesRecommends all
College of the Holy CrossYesYesScore choice OK
College of William and MaryYesNoScore choice OK
College of WoosterYesYesScore choice OK
Colorado CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Colorado School of MinesYesYesScore choice OK
Colorado State UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Columbia UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Concordia College—​MoorheadYesYesScore choice OK
Connecticut CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Cooper UnionYesYesRecommends all
Cornell CollegeYesYesYesScore choice OK
Cornell UniversityYes*YesRequires all ACT; SAT Score Choice OK
Creighton UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
CUNY—​Baruch CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Dartmouth CollegeYesYesScore 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 UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Fairfield UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Florida Institute of TechnologyYesYesRecommends all
Florida State UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Fordham UniversityYesYesYesScore choice OK
Franklin and Marshall CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Furman UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Gallaudet UniversityYesYesYesScore 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 CollegeYesYesRecommends all
Haverford CollegeYesYesRecommends all
Hendrix CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
High Point UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Hillsdale CollegeNoNoScore choice OK
Hobart and William Smith CollegesYesYesScore choice OK
Hofstra UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Hollins UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Hope CollegeYesYesYesScore choice OK
Howard UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Humboldt State University YesYesScore choice OK
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 UniversityYesYesScore 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 CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Lipscomb UniversityNoNoScore choice OK
Louisiana State University—​Baton RougeNoNoScore choice OK
Loyola Marymount UniversityYesNoScore choice OK
Loyola University ChicagoYesYesScore choice OK
Loyola University MarylandYesYesScore choice OK
Loyola University New OrleansYesYesScore choice OK
Luther CollegeYesNoRecommends all
Macalester CollegeYesYesRecommends 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 UniversityNoNoScore choice OK
Middlebury CollegeYesYesRecommends all
Mills CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Millsaps CollegeYesYesRecommends all
Milwaukee School of EngineeringNoNoRecommends all
Mississippi State UniversityNoNoScore choice OK
Missouri University of Science & TechnologyNoNoScore choice OK
Morehouse CollegeYesContact collegeScore choice OK
Mount Holyoke CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Muhlenberg CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
New College of FloridaYesYesRecommends all
New Jersey Institute of TechnologyYesNoRecommends all
New SchoolNoNoScore choice OK
New York UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
North Carolina State University—​RaleighYesYesRecommends all
Northeastern UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Northwestern UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Oberlin CollegeYesYesScore 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 CollegeYesYes*Recommends 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 DesignYesYesScore choice OK
Rhodes CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Rice UniversityYesYes*Recommends all
Ripon CollegeNoNoScore choice OK
Rochester Institute of TechnologyYesYesScore choice OK
Rollins CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey—​New BrunswickYesNoRecommends all
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey—​NewarkYesNoRecommends all
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 UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Sarah Lawrence CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Scripps CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
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 UniversityYesYesScore 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 CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Stanford UniversityYes**No**Score choice OK
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 UniversityYesYesYesRecommends all
Texas A&M University—​College StationNoNoScore choice OK
Texas Christian UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Texas Lutheran UniversityYesYesRecommends all
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 UniversityYesYesScore 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—​SUNYYesYesScore 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 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 FloridaYesYesScore 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 MiamiYesYesRecommends all
University of Michigan—​Ann ArborYes*Yes*Score choice OK
University of Minnesota—​Twin CitiesNoNoRecommends all
University of MississippiYesYesScore 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 DameYesYesScore choice OK
University of OklahomaYesYesYesScore 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 RichmondYesYesScore choice OK
University of RochesterYesYesScore choice OK
University of San DiegoYesNoScore choice OK
University of San FranciscoYesYesRecommends all
University of South CarolinaYesNoScore choice OK
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—​AustinNoNoRecommends all
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 WashingtonYesYesScore choice OK
University of Wisconsin—​MadisonNoNoRecommends all
Ursinus CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Valparaiso UniversityYesYesRecommends all
Vanderbilt UniversityYesYesRecommends 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 CollegeNoNoScore choice OK
Wesleyan UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Western Michigan UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Westmont CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Wheaton College (IL)YesYesScore choice OK
Whitman CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Whittier CollegeYesNoScore choice OK
Willamette UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Williams CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Wofford CollegeYesYesScore choice OK
Worcester Polytechnic InstituteNoNoScore choice OK
Xavier UniversityYesYesScore choice OK
Yale UniversityYesYesRequires 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.”

**Stanford does not superscore ACT; however the website states, “For the ACT, we will review all subscores and focus on the highest Composite from all sittings.” For the new SAT, Stanford will superscore your Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math scores across sittings taken with the essay and sittings taken without the essay.

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

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.


  • Anisha says:

    Hi, Im currently a senior preparing for college apps. I got a 32 on my act and a 1380 (690 in M and R) on my sat. I’m taking the sat again hoping to super score my sat. If I am able to bring my super score to around a 1400-1420, should I send both scores or just my act. And if I do not receive a better score and can’t super score, should I only send my act score of 32, or both the 32 and the 1380.
    Im planning on applying to Virginia tech, uva, George mason, and VCU.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      A 32 ACT is concordant with an SAT score range of 1420-1440. I would stick with your ACT — no need to worry about superscoring — unless your superscored SAT is 1450 or higher.

  • Elena says:

    My son is applying to very selective colleges for political science, international affairs and possibly business programs. Which scores should we send?. Should we send both of his ACTs to schools with “lite” superscoring? Should we send his SAT score at all (we will be sending SAT subject tests scores, so there is no additional fees to include SAT)? Should we send his History subject test score? Would it make sense to retake SAT in an attempt to improve his composite score?

    Here his scores:

    October 2017 ACT– 35 composite: 36 Math, 36 Science, 36 English, 32 Reading, 10 Writing
    June 2018 ACT – 34 composite, 35 Math, 31 Science, 36 English, 35 Reading, 11 Writing

    April 2018 SAT-1540: 790 Math, EBRW 750, 23 Essay
    Junior PSAT 1490 with SI 224 –NMSF

    Subject test scores: Math 2 800, Biology M 750, US History 730 and Spanish pending

    • Art Sawyer says:

      I would go ahead and send his SAT scores along with his Subject Test scores simply because there is no reason not to. His 1540 is concordant with his ACT of 35, so it is not showing any weakness. Both Math and ERW are strong, and his Essay score is great.

      “Lite” schools typically take the best Composite scores and the best subject scores. The only difference from full superscoring is that they do not calculate a new Composite. Obviously your son’s October ACT is going to be sent. What would April add? His Reading is a 35 rather than a 32. I’d rate the Writing difference as inconsequential. I would send both test dates to these schools.

      I don’t like to discourage really motivated students. If your son wants to go for an even higher score, great! But I wouldn’t encourage it, either. I think the better plan is to focus on his applications and his schoolwork. He has an excellent testing portfolio.

  • Jo says:

    My daughter (Senior) took the ACT 1X – 34 composite score (36 Reading, 35 English, 34 Science, 30 Math). She is pursuing a liberal arts major and NOT a math/science related major. She wants to apply to some highly competitive colleges (possibly Ivy or Northwestern, Wash U, Georgetown, UCLA, Berkeley). For those category of colleges, does she need to be concerned with lower math score & try and retake? Or will 30 math in big picture not be an issue given composite score, intended major, and all other application components considered?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Many students have a weakest subject. Yes, Math is lower than her 34 Composite, but Reading and English are higher! Given her interests, I don’t think the 30 poses a problem. The only reason to retest would be if she felt that she could improve enough in E/S/M to boost her composite or her superscore to 35 or 36. She is already at about the 75th percentile among enrolled students at those schools, so restesting is probably not necessary.

  • Cheryl says:

    I am trying to apply to Rose-Hulman and am wondering if they superscore or not since it’s not on the list.

  • Sam says:

    Hi im a senior getting ready college applications and was wondering how the process of super scoring works. Do colleges value a raw score over a super scored sat score (for example, would a student with a raw score of 1390 be weighted more than a super scored score of 1390 or 1400). Also are the super scores completed by the colleges you want to apply to or do you have to do that yourself.

    Another thing, if your score varies drastically between the 2 sats you want to superscore, does this look bad. For example, a 750 in M and 600 in E one the first SAT, but a 590 in M and a 720 in E on the second.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      There aren’t universal answers to your questions, because not all colleges follow the same protocol. The colleges will handle the superscoring — you just need to send the applicable test dates. The only caveat is when you are self-reporting scores on the application. You’ll just want to follow any school-specific directions. On the Common App, you’d be providing scores by test date and, again, the college will handle superscoring.

      Consider why many colleges have opted for superscoring — it allows them to view students in a positive light. In the example you gave, an admission officer can see that the student is capable of achieving 750 in M and 720 in ERW. That said, even superscoring colleges sometimes consider subscores, too. How the scores are viewed in those cases is too dependent on the college and the admission officer for any firm rule.

  • Also, if I am planing on applying to Cornell’s LIR school, shoul I retest. I set out to get a 34 equivalent, and given the new concordance tables, I have obtianed my goal. However, I am not at the 75th percentile at Cornell, but rather slightly above the 50th. Should I retest?

    • Ash Kramer says:

      Hi Jacob,

      Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether retesting is likely to result in a score that would get you above the 75th percentile. Consider how much time you have to prepare and take practice tests to track improvement.

      Hope this helps and best of luck with your applications!

  • Jacob Ribotsky says:

    Hi. I took the SAT 3 times. I scored a 1430, a 1410, and a 1500. my highest ERW was a 730, and my highest math was a 770. However, my highest reading was a 400, and my highest grammar was a 390 (on my second test). I botched the grammar on the third time (-5). I was wondering if Cornell, which you put under as a “fake superscorer” will look at my grammar from my second test, reading from my third, and math from my third, giving me a composite of 1560. Or, do you simply mean ERW and math when you subsections. I really hope they will take my best grammar, math, and reading, for it boosts me expotentially!

    • Ash Kramer says:

      Hi Jacob,

      When we say superscore for the SAT – we mean highest sections score – ERW and Math. They do not separately look at your Reading and Writing & Language scores. Cornell would take your highest ERW and highest Math only.

  • Heidi says:

    Hello, our daughter scored a 32 on the ACT and really wants ND. She is number one in her class, 4.35 WGPA, has the highest number of service hours in her class (so far) NHS, SADD president and has been in choral ensemble and drama for 4 years. What do you think her chances are?? One young lady was accepted on a 30 from the class last year and the other young lady was waitlisted with a 31 and a legacy. Any information at all would be greatly appreciate.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      My expertise is in testing and test preparation rather than admissions, but I feel confident saying that the young woman accepted with the 30 obviously had an excellent application. For ND’s most recent class, they report 25th-75th percentile scores as 33-35. The examples you cite show that scores — and even scores+GPA — do not determine admission on their own.

  • Jeanne N. says:

    I appreciate your willingness to answer all of these personal questions. I have one to add to the pile.

    Son is applying to several elite schools as well as a number of what he calls “safety” schools. His test scores are pretty good, I think, but they could be better. Wondering if you think there’s merit to retaking the SAT (1490 = 710 ER/780 Math) or the ACT (34 composite = 36Eng, 31 Math (forgot to take his calculator), 34 Reading, 34 Science, 33 STEM). We’re waiting on SAT subject test results but expect Math 2 to be 800.

    He’s applying for engineering programs, not at the tech schools (MIT, Cal Poly, RPI) but at other elite and state universities with engineering schools.

    Any thoughts are appreciated. Thank you!

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Now I feel guilty for letting these questions pile up and taking a month to get back to you! I would consider retaking for two reasons: (1) engineering programs can be highly competitive and (2) superscoring. It would seem, for example, like the ACT Math would be an easy win for your son on a retake. Not every college superscores, of course, but he would not be any worse off. I try to remain aware of the big commitment it is for a senior to take a test again while also applying to college. I think it might be a positive thing in your son’s case.

  • Mark says:

    Hi Art,

    Question regarding the weighting of Essay score on ACT. My daughter took ACT for the first time and scored 33 Composite (36 English, 35 Reading, 32 Math, 29 Science), about which she was pleased. However, she just got her essay score (8), which was lower than every practice test, typically a 10. We were all relieved to be “one and done,” but is the writing score going to hurt her score presentation significantly enough to justify repeating the entire exam process?

    FYI she is looking at some selective colleges (Tufts, Amherst, Brown) …


    • Art Sawyer says:

      I would not recommend retaking because of the Writing score. The essay plays little to no role, and your daughter’s score is not really outside of the norm — even at the most selective colleges. If current trends continue, future classes of students may not have to worry about the essay at all!

  • Elena says:

    I have similar questions to the ones you have answered above.
    Which of my son’s scores to send? He is applying to some selective schools and very selective merit scholarships. Should we send both of his ACTs to schools with “soft” superscoring? Should we send his SAT score at all (we will be sending SAT subject tests scores, so there is no additional fees to include SAT)? Should we send his History subject test score? Would it make sense to retake SAT in attempt to improve his composite score?

    Here his scores:

    October 2017 ACT– 35 composite: 36 Math, 36 Science, 36 English, 32 Reading, 10 Writing
    June 2018 ACT – 34 composite, 35 Math, 31 Science, 36 English, 35 Reading, 11 Writing

    April 2018 SAT-1540: 790 Math, EBRW 750, 23 Essay
    Junior PSAT 1490 with SI 224, so most likely NMSF

    Subject test scores: Math 2 800, Biology M 750, US History 730 and English Literature pending

    Thank you so much for your wonderful blog,

  • Andy says:

    Hi there,
    For Stanford, you indicate that they require all SAT results.
    However, they only recommend 2 subject tests and indicate that they should be self reported on the application.
    Does this mean that all subject tests should be self reported…including situations where more than 2 subjects have been taken, and/or where subject tests have been taken more than once?
    Or should just the best two subject results be self reported?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Stanford requires all SAT results, but not all Subject Test results. You should self-report only the scores that best support your application.

      • Andy says:

        Thanks Art,
        I wasn’t clear if SAT 2 Subject tests fell under the heading of “all SAT results”. That’s good news that they don’t.

        • Andy says:

          Hi, Art,
          SAT subject scores were Math2 800 and Chemistry 770.
          Together with a SAT of 1520 (790 Math, 730 EBRW), would this be competitive for Stanford; MIT and Harvard….or should retakes be considered to improve any element?


          • Art Sawyer says:

            That’s a difficult question to answer. Among those scores, only the 730 EBRW would be at the low end of the 25-75th range for enrolled students at the most competitive schools. Whether retaking the SAT is worth it is a question you have to answer given your own standards and willingness. There is room for improvement if you do decide to retest.

  • Lisa says:

    My student will be applying to many highly selective schools including Ivys, Duke, GTown, Vanderbilt. She took the SAT once and got a 1510 (and 22/24 on essay). She also took the ACT twice. First time composite 30 (english 32, math 28, reading 33, science 26) and second time composite 33 (english 35, math 33, reading 30 and science 33). She is hoping to major in Economics and qualified to apply for the Hispanic National Recognition Program.

    My question: Is it worth sending in both ACT scores to get a Superscore of 34? But that means that the low math (28) and science (26) will be seen. Should she send in the 33 composite ACT with the 1510 SAT? Or maybe just the 1510 SAT only?

    Any advice will be appreciated. Thanks.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Your daughter’s 1510 and her 33 are roughly comparable. Given that the SAT is combined with a strong essay, that might be the easiest option. It does not have to be an all-or-nothing decision. She may want to consider the individual school policies. In some cases, schools do not superscore the ACT at all. At some, the schools will only consider a student’s best section scores (so the 26 and 28 will be ignored). At some superscoring schools, a new composite will be computed (34 in your daughter’s case), but the section scores will all be considered. Except in the case of “best section scores only,” I’d be leery of sending the 30. The only area in which she did better was the Reading, and her Math and Science are markedly lower. There doesn’t seem to be enough of an upside.

  • Cay says:

    Great blog! Thanks for all the detail. My son has taken the ACT twice, and sadly his composite score went down quite a bit from the first to second try, with 3 out of 4 subscores dropping. After lots of prep too, go figure.

    1st Try: composite score 31 – Eng 32, Math 31, Reading 28, Science 34
    2nd try: Comp score 29 – Eng 26, Math 31, Reading 29, Science 29

    My question is: will this drop disadvantage him in any way? Will colleges look down on scores that ago down? Should he try to take it again to get them up again? We were hoping to move on to all the other fun college application requirements. ;0)
    And – should he send both scores for those that “recommend all” – if you superscore and add the 29 in reading to the first score, it does bring the superstcore composite to a 31.5, which I believe would round to a 32. But the other scores all drop. Wondering what to do here. Thanks!

    • Ash Kramer says:

      Hi Cay,

      Thanks for the positive feedback. The answer to your question is…it depends! Each school is different but many do superscore. In that case, your son would indeed have a 32 composite. If a school is recommending you send all scores, then it probably will superscore. In which case, I would send both scores. Admission folks generally don’t care in what order the highest test score occurred and won’t penalize you for a “drop.” They’re looking to read your scores supportively.

      If a school doesn’t superscore, it makes sense to employ score choice and only send the first try.

      Whether you should call this complete or keep testing really depends upon the schools to which you’re applying. Does the 31 or 32 superscore fall at the higher end of their mid-range of scores? Or are you looking at schools that really expect > 32?

      Hope this helps and best of luck on your application journey!

      • Cay says:

        Hi again!
        My son went back and took the ACT for a 3rd time. He really pulled his reading score up, so for schools that superscore, he’s great. However, if a school is “Score Choice OK,” I’m not sure how to proceed. It’s clear that we should drop the second test, but the first and last tests have the same composite score, with very different individual scores (see below). Science and English are much better on Test 1 but Reading is much better on Test 3.

        For Score Choice schools, does that mean we have to pick only one test, or can we send Test #1 & 3? If not, which is better to send? (FYI he is applying to Industrial Design programs)

        Composite: 31. 29. 31
        Math: 31. 31. 31
        Science: 34. 29. 31
        English: 32. 26. 28
        Reading: 28. 29. 33

        One more detail: many of his schools do super score the ACT but “recommend all” when sending. Since, test #2 did not have any high scores (except writing), can we just leave it out and send #1 & #3 tests only?

        Thanks! Cay

        • Art Sawyer says:

          Unless a school specifically requires ALL scores, you can select the most favorable scores. I agree that there is no reason to send #2, and you can send more than one test. When a superscoring school says that they “recommend all,” they usually mean: “Since we superscore, there is no reason not to send us everything. We’ve seen too many students not send us the right scores.” Most students still prefer to do the selecting themselves. You’ve done the math correctly(!), and you can just send #1 and #3.

          • Cay says:

            Thanks, Art. For Score Choice schools who do not superscore, would you recommend we send Test #1 or #3? For example, Ohio State or University of Oregon. Or can we send both?
            And, for schools not on this list, I assume we’d have to reach out specifically to the school to find out their test policy?
            Thanks again! Cay

          • Art Sawyer says:

            I would still send both scores. Admission officers tend to read scores supportively. Even if they don’t superscore, they can still see your son’s best performances. It’s not a risky decision in this case because the composite scores are the same. Yes, it is always best to confirm testing policies, even when they are on the list!

  • Jill says:

    Love this blog! So much information! Do schools consider the English and Math sections of the ACT to be more important than the Science and Reading sections? I realize there is no “right” answer to this with limited information, but if a student has a strong composite “32” and scored higher in English and Math than Reading and Science, do schools consider that?

    • Ash Kramer says:

      Hi Jill,

      Most schools look at the Composite score and may look at individual test scores like science and reading. However, I’ve never heard of a school’s admission office weighing the English and math score more heavily than the other scores. I will say that it is quite common for a student to have lower science and reading scores. Hope this helps!

  • Beth says:


    Just wanted to add that I just checked in with the University of Washington re: score choice, since I no longer see the “all scores” requirement on their website. I was told by Admissions that they do not require (but they do recommend) that a student send all scores because they want to be able to superscore. Again, a situation relevant only if one accepts the premise that a student is unable to assess his own scores properly.

  • John says:

    Hi Art,
    As a huge fan of your blog, here is a question that I could not find anywhere. My child plans to take two SAT subject tests on the same date. When sending scores to colleges after test scores are released, does he have to submit both scores since they are taken on the same date? Can he just pick one subject score to send?

    Thank you so much in advance!

    • Art Sawyer says:

      That’s nice to hear, and thank you for lobbing an easy one my way. Your son can choose exactly which Subject Tests to send — even when they are taken on the same day.

  • Joanne says:

    Hi and Thanks for all this great information. Question: How often do you update the list of each college or university’s policy regarding superscoring? Your article at the top is from 2016. Thanks!

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Typically colleges update policies for the upcoming year in the spring or summer. We try to keep the table current — even when we neglect to update the date of the post!

  • ACT Dad says:

    What a very helpful website! Your articles are very thorough and informative. I have a question about Georgetown. My daughter took the Feb ACT and scored a 36. Her school requires all Juniors to take the SAT next month. She had not planned to prep for this test. Is it correct that she will be required to report the SAT to Georgetown, even though her preference would be not to take it all? She is planning to apply there. Thanks for your help!

    • Art Sawyer says:

      ACT Dad,
      Yes, Georgetown’s policy is that all scores be reported. I have to admit that I’d consider conscientious objector status from your daughter’s school SAT day. I understand that schools want to ensure that all students are college-ready, but sometimes blanket policies simply don’t make sense. It is flu season.

  • Tina says:

    This is a fantastic compilation and the best one I’ve found on the Internet! One follow up question – do you know if schools generally use superscored test scores for scholarship consideration (merit aid)? I’ve googled a few colleges’ scholarship pages, but really can’t find this information easily on their websites. My daughter’s 2 sittings of the ACT has a fantastic superscore (35), but I realize that this is for *admission* and not necessarily used for scholarship consideration.

    Thank you!

    • Art Sawyer says:

      It varies a good deal and, as you’ve found, colleges don’t always make it clear. As a generalization, fewer colleges superscore for merit scholarships than for admission, and I know of no college that does not superscore for admission but does superscore for scholarships. Despite that generalization, many *do* still superscore for merit aid.

  • Uma says:

    My daughter is a Junior and has taken SAT twice in 2017 (Nov- 1400 & Dec- 1450) . She is planning to apply to selective colleges. Would it look bad if she took a SAT 3rd time since most selective colleges are looking for ALL Scores or should she switch to ACT instead? Please advise.

    Nov. 2017: EBRW: 670, Math 730 Essay 4/6/6
    Dec 2017: EBRW: 650, Math 800, Essay 7/8/5
    Aug, 2017: Subject test – Math 2, 800

    • Art Sawyer says:

      It’s quite common for students to take the SAT 3 times, and your daughter should not have that as a concern. Many selective colleges allow for Score Choice. Even the ones that don’t won’t be bothered by a third score.

      Your daughter’s EBRW score is currently holding her back. I’d recommend that she try a practice ACT. It’s likely that her results will approximate those on the SAT — and we know that she can’t best the 800M — but sometimes students are surprised. Unless the ACT seems to be a strength, I’d advise your daughter to stick with the SAT.

  • Brian Zubatch says:

    When colleges recommend all scores, is there a negative to only sending the best composite score?

    • Ash Kramer says:

      Hi Brian,

      Most schools that recommend sending all scores also superscore. The general idea is that because they’re only looking at your highest scores, they want to make sure they have all of them so that you don’t miss sending something that would help you. There’s no real downside, however, to doing that work for them and only sending your best.

  • Alex says:

    If you took the SAT once and the ACT once, and are applying to UCs, could you just send the SAT or do you have to send both the SAT and ACT? Thanks.

  • Libby says:

    Thank you so much for all the time and energy that goes into creating this list. Much appreciated!

    I have a question about University of Washington. Your list says that UW requires all scores. However the UW website states “Scores from SAT or ACT are required for admission and must come directly from the testing agency.” I combed through the UW website but was not able to find where they say they require all scores (SAT and ACT). Did I miss something? Thank you.

    • Ash Kramer says:

      Dear Libby,

      Sometimes schools don’t publicize on their websites what their policies are quite as clearly as we might like! In this case, an admissions counselor from University of Washington reached out to us with the following information on Sept 15, 2017:

      Just wanted to let you know that the University of Washington has updated its policy last academic year and we now superscore both the SAT and ACT, but still require students to send all scores from both tests.

      I think it’s probably worth sending all of your scores!

      Hope this helps!

  • Jeanne says:

    I am applying to MIT. I know that they superstore, but I want to know if they will take into account my low scores. I have a 35 ACT from a single test date, which includes a 36 in science. But that date does not include the 36 in English that I scored on an earlier test. The problem is that my 36 in English also includes a 31 in science and a 33 composite. For MIT, is it worth sending the earlier score to boost my English from a 33 to a 36? It will not change my superscored composite enough to matter. I am hoping to major in business, not STEM, but MIT doesn’t consider majors for admissions. Thank you.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      MIT tends to have student-friendly policies (and a great admission department). I would take take their word on their superscoring policy, which is that they consider your highest score in each section. I would submit the lower composite score in addition to your 35.

  • David says:

    I just wonder if colleges could find out whether applicants had followed their score policy. I mean, for these colleges requiring all scores, if applicants didn’t send all SAT scores, do they have anyway to find out? I understand it’s a matter of honesty, but I am still curious.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Your curiosity is shared by many. In short, it’s an honor system just as it is with much of an application. There is no “official” route for colleges to know whether or not a student submits all scores, and I have never heard of any college trying to find out as a matter of policy. However, as with most honor systems, violations still do come to light (and consciences are always there). Although it is a declining practice, some schools record test scores on a student’s transcript, for example.

  • DC says:

    My daughter got a 31 composite on her second ACT, superscored with the first ACT she took she has a 32. However, her composite on the first test was a 29. On the first ACT she got a 36 in English, on the second a 34, but her math and science went up significantly on the second test to account for the increase to 31. For schools that do not super score she will send the 31 composite, but should she also send the first composite of 29 since it shows the perfect score in English?

    • Ash Kramer says:

      Hi DC,

      First of all, congratulations to your daughter on that perfect English score! Well done! Most schools view scores supportively, and even those who don’t superscore may look at the subscores from both tests. Sending both tests allows the admissions counselors to say that she’s clearly capable of a 36 in English AND those higher math and science scores. I’d probably send both unless you were really worried about them seeing a lower math or science score. Good luck!

  • Kim says:

    Thank you for this excellent blog! My question involves which of my daughter’s scores to send — ACT or SAT or both? (She is applying to some selective schools.) If we should send ACTs, which should we send? Her scores are as follows:
    June 2017 – 34 composite: 33 Math, 34 Science, 35 English, 35 Reading, 8 Writing
    June 2016 – 33 composite, 33 Math, 27 Science, 36 English, 34 Reading, 19 Writing
    Is it worth it to send both scores to achieve a superscored 35?
    We would send all her SAT scores, considering that she did significantly better in one area each time. Are we correct that all scores are sent if we do not select score choice?
    Aug. 2017: EBRW: 770, Math 690, Essay 4/6/6
    Jan. 2017: EBRW: 720, Math 770, Essay 5/5/5
    June 3, 2017: Subject test – History, 800; Math 2, 770; Biology-M, 760
    Thank you!

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Let me pick off the easiest parts first. Yes, ACT and SAT have different reporting policies. For the ACT, you send (and pay for!) each score report separately. College Board will send all scores unless you specifically opt out via Score Choice. I would definitely send all of your daughter’s Subject Test scores.

      There is not a universal answer as to which scores are best to send, as policies vary widely — require all scores; require all SAT or ACT; superscore SAT only; superscore SAT and ACT; and probably a few more. Her June 2017 ACT is the best single-day performance and is as good or better than even her superscored SAT. My recommendation would be to send the June 2017 ACT. Should she send June 2016? The fact that she did better in one subject (by 1 point) would usually not be enough to offset concern about her lower Science score. As you point out, though, she happens to be just on the cusp of a superscored 35. I would only send the 2016 results in cases where all scores are required or where a college is explicit that they superscore and consider a student’s best results.

  • Lisa says:

    Hi, thank you for all the information which is not readily provided anywhere else. What happens to the essay with the College Board’s SAT Score Choice? It does not appear that one can be selected with score choice to send to the colleges.

    • Ash Kramer says:

      Hi Lisa,

      My understanding is that you cannot select a separate essay score to send to colleges, so the test date(s) that you do decide to send will include the essay score if it was taken at the time.

      Good luck with applications!


  • Diane says:

    My daughter took the ACT twice
    30 composite 31 composite
    Eng 30 Eng 32
    Math 29 Math 30
    Reading 34 Reading 32
    Science 26 Science 31

    Question should we send both scores to Super score or just the 31 composite since it has the most consistent scores?

    • Ash Kramer says:

      Hi Diane,

      That’s a good question! I would say that if a school superscores, it’s definitely worth sending both scores because her superscored composite would be a 32. If a school superscores, the admission counselors really only look at those highest sections—I’ve never heard anyone talk about score consistency as an issue that would sway them.

      Good luck!


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Margaret says:

    Does Michigan superscore? According to this doc by the SAT (https://secure-media.collegeboard.org/digitalServices/pdf/professionals/sat-score-use-practices-participating-institutions.pdf) 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Ken says:

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

  • 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).

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

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