If your child plans to take the ACT test, you should know about ACT superscoring.
To understand what superscoring is, here’s some background:
Historically, college admission offices used a student’s composite ACT score that’s made up of four underlying categories:
The test maker averages the four subcores, with each ranging from 1 to 36, to create a composite average. Schools have traditionally only taken the composite score rather than cherry picking the best subscores. This practice penalizes teenagers who score better in some categories when taking multiple tests.
With this policy, a college will select a student’s highest subscores from each of the four categories and create what could be a more impressive superscore.
This practice, by the way, is standard procedure with the SAT. When a student takes multiple SAT tests, colleges routinely pick the best scores from the three SAT categories – math, reading and writing.
It makes sense for anyone, who suffers through the ACT test more than once, to ask whether a college superscores the ACT. Knowing what a school’s policy is towards superscoring is important because teenagers might be in a better position to gain admission to some schools or capture fatter financial aid packages or merit awards if their ACT results are superscored.
A Superscore Resource
Some of the big-name schools that superscore the ACT include Amherst College, Boston College, Brandeis University, Haverford College, New York University, Tufts University, U.S. Naval Academy, University of Maryland, University of North Carolina, Washington University in St. Louis and Williams College.
The best source that I have found for colleges that superscore the ACT is College Admissions Partners, which is an independent college consulting firm. You won’t necessarily find the test-optional schools on this list because, according to College Admissions Partners, the institutions that don’t require the SAT or ACT for admission almost always use superscoring.
You can learn more about test-optional policies by reading this article that I wrote for The New York Times: