Greeting Students & Families,
With the school year underway, juniors (class of 2021) may be wondering and likely planning their schedule of ACT & SAT exam preparation and testing. In my upcoming blogs, I also discuss the PSAT -and encourage both freshman (class of 2024) and sophomores (class of 2022) to take this test. Let’s chat about your testing schedule- knowing what’s required and discussing how to prepare. Please reach out by phone or email.
Seniors (class of 2020) are in the process of preparing college essays and submitting college applications and may be questioning if their SAT or ACT score is high enough for their dream school. If your score is below the suggested range, questions about the last acceptable dates to sit for exams are on your mind. All students may be wondering when or whether to take an SAT or ACT?
In my recent blogs- You’ll find answers to all these questions.
“What is the last scheduled fall SAT/ACT seniors can take to meet deadlines for submitting required scores as part of their CommonApp college applications?”
“Do I need to wait to submit my Common Application until after I take or submit my fall SAT/ACT exam scores?”
SAT VS. ACT – A BRIEF COMPARISON
We can all agree that the College Admissions process is complex and your application will most certainly be evaluated on several comprehensive criteria. There are now more than 1000 Accredited Colleges and Universities DE-EMPHASIZING ACT/SAT Scores to Admit Substantial Numbers of Students Into Bachelor-Degree Programs. This list can be found here at
Which format: ACT OR SAT?
SUPER SCORING and SCORE CHOICE
Super Scoring and Score Choice options should relieve some of the stress over your SAT/ACT scores. Many colleges “superscore” which means that your application is evaluated on a composite score based on the best sub-scores across different test dates. This list can be found here:
If you don’t see a university on the list, the second way to absolutely confirm is to explore the admissions tab and application requirements at a specific university by locating (use Google – much faster than the navigational challenges of most college websites) college admissions testing requirements.
Even if a college isn’t on the superscore list- your college admissions officer is human- and all the scores displaying in your application are taken into full consideration. No university has a “cutoff” that eliminates you from receiving an acceptance letter. College admissions is truly holistic– What do Admissions Reps Consider?
Let’s talk about SAT SCORE Choice -!
As part of your college application process, you’ll be submitting your test scores. It’s not as uncomplicated as it sounds-but the reality, different universities have unique policies on which test scores are required and how these are to be reviewed as part of your college application.
Score Choice is a policy offered through the CollegeBoard that allows the student to determine which scores to share with colleges and which scores to exclude when reporting actual test scores as part of your college application. The ACT has a similar option for sending your scores. This is an awesome opportunity to highlight the best SAT/ACT scores and SAT II subject tests and omit any disappointing or “practice” tests you have taken (or for that matter- scores earned when you weren’t at your best- perhaps a day of – allergies? )
That said, while the College Board allows a student to select scores, not all universities adhere to a Score Choice policy. Moreover, and unknown to most families is that your high school transcript may already have included all your test scores. The College Board and ACT do report your scores to your high school. Your high school very likely has these scores reported on your official high school transcript. Private high schools have a wide range of policies to honor and support students’ requests to remove disappointing test scores from their official high school transcript. Public high schools typically are responsive to family requests to exclude the exam scores from your transcript- but sometimes this takes a bit of little work to get through the well-intentioned red-tape.
WHY USE SCORE CHOICE?
As part of your test preparation, your tutor and you may have decided to experiment – test the waters. You may have sat for a baseline exam prior to beginning serious test preparation and the scores earned simply aren’t an accurate reflection of your abilities. Or maybe, you were sick the day of the exam and didn’t realize that you could skip the exam and the test fee (less a change date) could be applied to another testing date. Score choice is truly an invaluable option for test takers who experienced a huge improvement with more serious test preparation.
If the colleges you’re applying to participate in Score Choice- by all means be careful about choices of scores.
There’s a section of the Common App that asks whether you’ve taken any exams and have any scores to report. Here you will list test dates. So should you “omit” a date from the question if you don’t plan to report all your actual scores officially? This is a conversation to have with your college advisor. There is a final question on the Common Applicaiton — one you must agree to before you press the submit button– this question is an ‘honesty’- attestation-indicating you’ve answered all questions truthfully. So please make sure that your responses align and don’t try to deceive anyone. You must answer the Common App question about test dates- but you don’t have to share those scores. That’s why Score Choice exists.
That said, not all of your colleges will participate and many require you to submit ALL YOUR TEST SCORES. .
Here’s a sample of colleges that DO NOT allow for score choice. These colleges require that you submit all your test scores.
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Clarkson University
- Coker College
- College of Charleston
- College of St. Benedict
- Duquesne University
- East Georgia State College
- Elon University
- Georgetown University
- Gonzaga University
- Johns Hopkins University
- Loyola University, New Orleans
- Ohio Wesleyan University
- Seattle University
- Shorter University
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of South Carolina
- Yale University
It’s really important to stay up-to-date and check college admissions websites for the specific requirements on reporting tests scores, whether SATII subject tests are required and the dates by which scores are to be received.
As the 2019-20 academic year gets underway, whether you’re a senior working on college applications or a freshman just beginning your journey- it’s really important to understand the process ahead. Having annual goals and a college plan to achieve those goals can reduce the guesswork and stress of the college admissions process.
Schedule your Educational & College Admissions Planning Assessment with College Advisor Bonnie R. Rabin, PhD