What Students Need to Know About Superscoring
A question we often receive is “what is superscoring?” College-bound students are often confused about what it means to superscore, which colleges do it, and how it impacts submitting their SAT or ACT scores. But we’re here to help! Here’s what students need to know about the logistics of superscoring and how it may improve your score profile when applying to college.
What Is Superscoring?
Superscoring is when a college chooses to consider your highest section score from multiple sittings of the same examination. For instance, if you sat twice for the SAT and on your first sitting scored a 590 on the Reading & Writing section, and at the second sitting I scored a 640 on the Reading & Writing section, a college would choose to take the highest score section (640) and combine it with the highest score section from the math section to create a new composite score. Colleges then use the new superscore to help inform their admissions decision.
While many colleges will superscore the SAT, policies can differ regarding superscoring the ACT. It’s important when doing your college research to find out each school’s policy on superscoring for both the SAT and ACT.
Score Choice and Superscoring
Colleges have different policies and recommendations for students regarding superscores and Score Choice. Score Choice is the action of choosing which score reports you would like to send to your select colleges. Instead of sending numerous sets of scores and having a college choose the highest across all test sittings to superscore, a student may send only one or two score reports for the college to review. A student who has taken the SAT multiple times can choose the specific test sitting scores they want sent to the college and abstain from sending other sittings. It’s important to check the college’s policy for Score Choice, since many colleges express preference to review all scores from every sitting.
What’s The Advantage Of Superscoring?
Superscoring gives students the opportunity to be evaluated based on a higher composite score in the admissions process. For example, let’s say you did really well on the Math section of the SAT on your first sitting, but struggled with the Reading & Writing. If you retest, and improve your Reading & Writing score (but maybe your Math score went down a little,) you can be evaluated based on a composite of both the original high Math score and the new, improved Reading & Writing score. Ultimately, this gives you the opportunity to create a new composite score – a superscore with your best results from each subsection across each test. Again, this concept can also be applied to subsections of the ACT, but superscoring policies for both the SAT and ACT vary by school.
What Are The Disadvantages?
A few things to keep in mind when adhering to superscoring:
- Not all colleges superscore. Please make sure to check the scoring policy for the schools to which you are applying. For instance, Cornell University does not superscore, but MIT does allow it.
- You can’t send just one section score from an exam. Unfortunately, you cannot choose to send to colleges just the ‘Math’ subsection of the SAT or merely the ‘Science’ section of the ACT. Superscoring requires students to submit their entire score report (containing all sections) so schools will see how you performed across the board.
- You can’t use superscore the old and new SAT. The Old SAT (out of 2400) and New SAT (1600) scores cannot be combined into a superscore.
- Sending too many scores can weaken your applicant profile. It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t sit for the SAT or ACT a dozen times in order to reach a high score on only one or more sections. At IvyWise we advise students to sit for the SAT or ACT no more than two or three times. First, scores tend to plateau after the third sitting, so unless you’re receiving intensive test prep, it’s unlikely your scores will improve dramatically. Second, if colleges want to see all of your scores across all sittings, and you have a ton of scores that are inconsistent, it can send up red flags and weaken your applicant profile. This is why it’s important to be strategic with your test prep and how you use your scores.
How To Send Your SAT Scores
Most colleges will require students to send official scores from the College Board, since most do not accept copies of online score reports or score report labels on transcripts. If you are wondering how to do this, check out your options below!
Before Test Day
- You can send your four free score reports to colleges every time you sit for the SAT.
- There is no fee, and this is the fastest way to send scores.
After Test Day
- If you did not send your score reports on test day, you are eligible to send up to four free scores reports to colleges up to nine days after the test.
- After this nine-day window, you will be charged a fee for sending score reports ($12 per report).
- How to Order After Test Day
- Sign in to your College Board Account.
- If you do not have a College Board account, you can create one – it’s free!
- Click the Send Available Scores
- Search by name, state, code, or country for the institution(s) you’d like to send your scores to.
- If you would like to Rush Report your scores, select the Rush Reporting option on the ‘Review Your Order’ screen.
- Before choosing to Rush Report, please check with your designated institutions that they will guarantee to process the scores quickly.
- Rush Reporting is only available for scores that have been already released.
- If you’re applying early decision or early action, check to see if the college or university accepts October and November scores to meet deadlines.
- Please keep in mind that there is a fee for Rush Reporting of $31/institution, in addition to the $12 score report fee.
- If you request a rush service, your scores will typically be sent to colleges within two to four business days (not counting holidays and weekends).
For additional information on sending scores, please visit the College Board’s Website.
How To Send Your ACT Scores
Most colleges will require students to send official scores from the ACT, since most do not accept copies of online score reports or score report labels on transcripts. If you are wondering how to do this, check out your options below!
Before Test Day
- You can send your four free score reports to colleges every time you register for the ACT.
- However, if you opt to do this, you will not able to view your scores before sending them to colleges. The ACT will automatically distribute your scores.
After Test Day
- If you chose not to send your scores on test day, you can order your scores from the ACT. Each regular report (non-archived) has a $13.00 per report fee. All priority reports (non-archived) has a report fee of $16.50 per report.
- How to Order After Test Day
- Order Online
- Sign in to your ACT Account
- Once you are in your ACT Account, you can click to View & Send your scores.
- Your payment must be made with a valid credit card.
- Order by Phone
- Only Priority Reports are available by phone.
- Payment must be made by valid credit card.
- Office Hours [8:00AM to 8:00PM Central Time, M-F].
- Phone Number: 319-337-1270.
- Order by Mail
- Fill out the form here.
- Payment must be provided with the form.
- Mail form and fees to: ACT, PO Box 451, Iowa City, IA 52243-0451.
- Order Online
- Before choosing a priority report, please check with your designated institutions that they will guarantee to process the scores quickly.
- Priority reports can only be sent within the United States.
- Processed within two working days after your request, priority reports are usually delivered three to four business days later.
- Fees: $16.50 per test date per report if you have tested after 9/1/2015 & $40.50 per test date per report if tested before 9/1/2015.
For additional information, please visit the ACT’s website.
Choosing what scores to send and how it factors into your college admissions strategy can be confusing. For help with your college application strategy, or improving your SAT or ACT scores in order to maximize your chances of admission to your top-choice colleges, contact us today.