A student’s test scores from the SAT or ACT are crucial for college admissions. But it’s tricky to know when and which scores to send to which of the colleges on your list. Most colleges will use the highest scores sent to them, either from the same test day or highest score in each section over time, called superscore.
What is an SAT Superscore?
According to College Board, the creators of the SAT, Score Choice is “score-reporting feature that gives students the option to choose SAT scores by test date…in accordance with each institution’s score use practice.” This applies to student’s ability to send certain test scores (and not send other scores) to college. But what is each college’s “score use practice.”
Superscore is the process that “colleges will consider your highest section scores across all SAT test dates that you submit,” also known as “highest section across test dates” in chart below.
Many colleges superscore and College Board lists the SAT score use practice of all colleges here. College Board lists this chart as updated last in 2009, so information is likely to be not current. Instead, we provided a chart below, with each school marks their policy as “Highest Section,” “Highest Sitting,” or “All Scores.” What do those all mean?
Highest Section (aka Superscore)
The college superscores, or takes your highest section scores from across all dates.
Version 1: Send any scores you would like to send, but be sure to include the highest in each section.
Version 2: The college “strongly encourages you to submit your scores each time you take the SAT.”
Highest Sitting (no superscore)
The college takes your highest total score from a single test date.
Version 1: Send any scores you would like to send, but at least send the highest single test date.
Version 2: The school “strongly encourages you to submit your scores each time you take the SAT.”
The college “has indicated that it considers all SAT scores in its review process and requires that you submit all SAT scores from all test dates”, which means they don’t want you to use the Score Choice option.
Important note: Colleges that list their process as “All scores” school may still superscore.
For example, Stanford is listed as an “all scores” college, but here is their official policy: “Applicants must self-report and submit all SAT scores and all ACT scores. Applicants may not use the College Board’s Score Choice feature or “hide” any scores with either testing agency. For the SAT, we will focus on the highest individual Critical Reading, Math and Writing scores from all test sittings.” Therefore, this college requires all scores but then they also superscore.
Which Colleges Superscore?
There is a lot of confusion about the SAT score policies of different colleges. To make this even more confusing, the College Board sometimes lists the college’s score policy when students are trying to send their scores. This policy hasn’t been updated since 2012 and may be incorrect. Always check with each individual college’s website or admissions office to determine which test scores you should send.
Below is a chart of the policies of several schools, including Harvard, Baylor University, the University of Texas, Texas A&M, among many others. We tried to provide a quote directly from the college, along with the link to its source and this information was updated/verified in December 2015.
|College||Score Choice Policy||Policy from College Admissions Website||Link|
|Baylor University||Highest Section – Version 2||“Baylor combines subscores from tests taken on different dates. With regards to the SAT, we will only superscore scores from the same version of the test. So we will superscore an old version of the SAT with an old version. Likewise, we will superscore a new version of the SAT with a new version.”||Baylor admissions|
|Boston University||Highest Section – Version 2||“Boston University will allow students to choose College Board’s Score Choice; however, we strongly recommend students submit their scores each time they take the SAT. BU has always considered a student’s highest SAT section scores in making admissions decisions and will continue to do so.”||BU Admissions|
|Brown||Highest Section – Version 1||“We automatically focus on your highest test scores and therefore Score Choice is a bit redundant. With Score Choice, it is very important that you have the SAT Critical Reasoning tests and two SAT Subject Tests results available to us when we begin reading completed Early Decision applications in December.”||Brown Admissions|
|Carnegie Mellon||All Scores||“Applicants are required to submit all official results of either the SAT Reasoning Test or the ACT with Writing and SAT Subject Tests. While we’re interested in the general pattern of your scores, we give most weight to the highest score you’ve received on any of the exams.”||CMU Admissions|
|Columbia||Highest Section – Version 1||“Applicants may select the Score Choice option for the SAT or choose to submit specific ACT composite scores. When evaluating applicants, we consider only the highest testing results reported from individual sections of the SAT and the two highest required SAT Subject Tests or the highest composite score on the ACT.
If you are applying for fall 2017 admission, results from the current SAT and/or the redesigned SAT will be accepted. When evaluating applicants, we will consider only the highest testing results reported from one version of the test, not across both versions.”
|Cornell||All Scores||“Note that Cornell requires students to submit all scores from SAT tests taken and does not participate in the College Board’s Score Choice.”||Cornell Admissions|
|Duke||Highest Section – Version 2||“Duke requires that students send their full testing record for either the ACT or SAT and SAT Subject exams taken in high school.”||Duke Admissions|
|Georgetown||Highest Section – Version 2||“Georgetown University does not participate in the Score Choice option available through the College Board. Georgetown requires that you submit scores from all test sittings of the SAT, ACT, and SAT II Subject Tests.”||Georgetown Admissions|
|Georgia Institute of Technology||Highest Section – Version 2||“We use your highest section scores in the evaluation process. Each time you submit new scores to us, we will update your record with your highest scores.”||Georgia Tech Admissions|
|Harvard||Highest Section – Version 1||“You are free to use the College Board Score Choice option or the similar option offered by the ACT.”||Harvard Admissions|
|Johns Hopkins||Highest Section – Version 2||“We’ll consider your highest section scores across all SATs taken—even if they were on different test dates—in our evaluation of your application. We therefore encourage you to update your application with new test scores each time you take the SATs.
For students applying for entry in fall 2017 and after: We will combine the highest section scores from any test date within the current SAT and any test date within the redesigned SAT, but not across the two tests.”
|MIT||Highest Section – Version 1||“If you take the same test (SAT, ACT, or an SAT Subject Test) multiple times, we will consider the highest score achieved in each section. Students are free to use the College Board’s Score Choice option and the ACT’s option to submit the scores of your choice as well.”||MIT Admissions|
|New York University||Contact Institution for Information||“NYU reviews the highest section scores (Math, Critical Reading, Writing) students submit for those using the SAT to meet our testing requirements, combining scores to create a new composite “superscore” for each applicant. Since the new SAT will be different than the current SAT, however, we will not combine current and new SAT scores. In essence, we will not “superscore” the current and new SAT to create a new composite score for our applicants.”||NYU Admissions|
|Notre Dame||Highest Section – Version 2||“If you submit multiple SAT scores, we will superscore the tests for our evaluation. This means we will use your highest individual SAT Critical Reading and Math sub-scores from multiple testing dates to compute your composite score.”||Notre Dame Admissions|
|Princeton||Highest Section – Version 2||“Applicants are welcome to use the score choice option for standardized test score submission, but we encourage the submission of all test scores. “||Princeton Admissions|
|Rice University||All Scores||Admission at Rice University is an individualized and holistic admission process which examines the entirety of an applicant’s academic prowess, creativity, motivation, artistic talent, leadership potential and life experiences. In making a decision to admit a student to Rice, we are careful not to ascribe too much value to any single metric, such as class rank, GPA, or SAT/ACT scores.||Rice admissions|
|University of California||All Scores||“In the College Board’s Score Choice module, ensure that all scores are sent to UC. We require all scores and will use the highest scores from a single administration.”||UC Admissions|
|Texas A&M University||All Scores||“All test scores must include the writing/essay component Students may begin taking the redesigned SAT in March of 2016. The writing portion of the exam is required for admissions consideration.”||A&M admissions|
|Texas Christian University||Highest Section – Version 2||“TCU “super scores” both ACT and SAT meaning if a student takes an exam more than once, we will create the highest possible composite score from sub scores across multiple administrations. SAT tests taken before March 2016 cannot be super scored with SAT tests taken March 2016 and after due to the change in formatting.”||TCU admissions|
|Texas Tech University||Highest Section – Version 1||“Texas Tech uses the highest section across SAT test dates; writing portions of both tests are required, but not used in determining assured admission. We combine the highest SAT critical reading and math scores from multiple test dates. Writing portions of both tests are required, but not used in determining assured admission.”||Texas Tech admissions|
|University of Houston||Highest Section – Version 2||“Official SAT or ACT scores should be sent directly to UH from the testing agency. Highest test sections will be considered.”||UH admissions|
|University of Southern California||Highest Section – Version 2||“For students who take the SAT more than once, USC records the highest scores for each section – Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing — even if achieved at different sittings.”||USC Admissions|
|University of North Texas||Highest Section – Version 2||“All freshman applicants to UNT must submit SAT or ACT scores, including the writing portion of the exam. UNT uses the highest score from each section of the SAT.”||UNT admissions|
|Vanderbilt||Highest Section – Version 2||“Vanderbilt University has indicated that it considers your highest section scores across all SAT test dates that you submit. Each time you submit scores, Vanderbilt University will update your record with any new high scores.”||Vanderbilt Admissions|
|University of Texas- Arlington||Highest Section – Version 2||“SAT scores are calculated by adding the highest Critical Reading score with the highest Math score.”||UTA admissions|
|Virginia Tech||Highest Section – Version 1||“Virginia Tech wants to see all of your test scores. We will use the highest scores and even combine your highest test scores from multiple test dates when evaluating your application.
Those who plan to apply to Virginia Tech for the fall of 2017 and beyond, are required to take either the ACT or the redesigned SAT test, which will be available on March 6, 2016.”
|Virginia Tech Admissions|
|Yale||All Scores||“Yale does not participate in Score Choice for the reporting of SAT and ACT results. You should report all scores you have received on whichever test you choose to submit. If you submit both the SAT and ACT to Yale, you should submit all scores received on both tests.
When assessing SAT results, we will focus on your highest individual SAT Critical Reading, Math and Writing scores from all test dates.”
Should I use the College Board’s 4 free score reports?
The College Board has several options for sending your test scores.
- During test registration, students can send up to four free score reports (a $45 value). Students also have up to 9 days after a test to update which schools you would like to receive your scores. If the college you’re applying to “super scores” the SAT , then you will want to send all of your test scores to that school. In that case, go ahead and list that college at registration and save the fee.
- If your college does NOT superscore, but instead uses the highest test score from one date, you don’t want to send your scores automatically. For example if you took three tests, but one of them you were sick and performed badly, then you can use Score Choice to send the other two good scores.