Most families and students know that many colleges use SAT and ACT scores to aid in making admissions decisions. What most of us don’t realize, however, is that the ways in which colleges look at these scores vary from institution to institution.
In the article, we will explore two approaches to score submission that are relatively common among many colleges, namely Score Choice and Superscoring.
Students intent on submitting a strong SAT and ACT score to colleges will frequently take either the SAT or the ACT multiple times. In fact, here at Tried & True we recommend that every student take the SAT or ACT at least once, and if a student determines that his or her score will be an important element in his or her application, we recommend that that student plan on taking the test two to three times.
This of course begs the question, “if I take the test two to three times, will colleges see all of those scores?” This is where Score Choice comes in.
Score Choice is a feature offered by both the SAT and ACT. This feature allows students to pick and choose which scores they wish to submit and to which colleges they want to.
So, if a student takes the ACT three times, and chooses to take advantage of the Score Choice feature, she would be able to choose her single strongest score and send that score to colleges she is interested in. If she did particularly well on two tests, and a college she is applying to Superscores (we will cover this shortly), she could potentially send both of those test scores to that college. She has the “choice” of which “scores” to send: Score Choice.
The only catch is that some colleges will not accept Score Choice. Some colleges will require that students submit all scores. To get a sense of which colleges accept score choice, view our College Testing Policies Table on our main SAT/ACT Info Center Page. There you will find a “Score Choice” Column. Using the search feature to look up colleges you are interested in, you can determine if those schools accept Score Choice. You will see that the vast majority do accept Score Choice, but there are some exceptions.
Imagine you scored a 1030 on your first SAT Exam (out of the possible 1600 points). You received a 550 in Reading & Writing and a 480 in Math.
Now, imagine that you take it again and score a 1000 this second time. You receive a 500 in Reading & Writing and a 500 in Math.
Your overall score is 30 points lower on this second exam (1000 versus 1030). However, your math score is 20 points higher on this second exam (500 versus 480).
If you could combine the strongest section scores from multiple test sittings, you could produce a “Superscore.” In this case, you could take the 550 in Reading & Writing from your first SAT and combine it with the 500 in Math from your second SAT to create an overall score of 1050. 1050 is your Superscore.
Some colleges will superscore exams for you. If you send them multiple SATs, they will take the strongest sections from each SAT to create a Superscore. If you send them multiple ACTs, they will take the strongest sections from each ACT to create a Superscore.
Some colleges will superscore only for the SAT or only for the ACT.
Still other colleges won't superscore at all.
To get a sense of various colleges’ Superscore Policies, view our College Testing Policies Table on our main SAT/ACT Info Center Page. There you will find “Superscore SAT” and “Superscore ACT” Columns. Using the search feature to look up colleges you are interested in, you can determine if those schools superscore.
ACT Superscore Report
As discussed previously, Superscoring is a college-by-college policy. Colleges that superscore will accept the score reports you send them. They will then make the calculation that gives you the best possible Superscore.
However, the ACT has decided to take things one step further and create a Superscore Report themselves. This report displays your best possible Superscore based on ACT exams you have taken. When you send this report it takes some of the heavy lifting off the shoulders of college admissions departments since the calculation is already handled.
This is an example of a Superscore Report:
Notice that when institutions receive your superscore, they will also get the scores from your single highest test event (“Highest Full Battery.”) So, even if they don’t accept ACT Superscores, they will still see your highest single exam score.
To submit an ACT Superscore Report to colleges you are applying to:
Take the test at least twice
Login to MyACT
View and send scores.
You can even have your ACT scores sent to other colleges and scholarship agencies.
Requests are processed after tests have been scored. If the score is available to be sent, it is usually sent the same day.
You can learn more about ACT Superscoring here: