Most colleges and universities are committed to empowering students to put their best foot forward in the admissions process. As such, many schools superscore the SAT and the ACT, taking your best score on each section of the test—drawing from multiple test dates—to create a so-called “superscore.”
On April 2nd, 2021, the ACT announced that it will now provide an automatically calculated ACT Superscore to all students who have taken the ACT more than once, including all test dates from September 2016 to current day. While many colleges and universities had previously superscored the ACT, most did not produce a new composite score based upon those higher test scores. In many cases, they simply just “took into consideration” different dates and scores. If a college did embrace superscoring to calculate a new composite score, admissions officers previously had to do the math internally.
With the ACT’s stamp of approval on superscoring, these new score reports do the work for admissions officers. For colleges that adopt superscoring as a policy, each student’s score report will include a breakdown of each test day, a corresponding composite score and sectional scores, and also their overall superscore.
What does this mean for students?
- Be sure to check the individual websites of all the colleges and universities that are on your list. Each school has its own unique policy on superscoring, and you’ll want to take these policies into consideration when developing your test prep plan. The new ACT score reports make it much easier for college admissions officers to superscore the ACT, and we expect more schools will unify their superscoring policies across both the SAT & ACT.
- Students are incentivized to take the ACT more than once. With superscoring, there is essentially no downside to retaking the ACT. Even if your overall composite score is the same, improvement on one or two sectional scores can improve your superscore even if another section or two doesn’t change or even goes down. We expect to see more students target the June and September ACT test dates if and when ACT superscoring continues to gain traction with colleges.
- Superscoring allows you to truly optimize your preparation. Remember that the ACT has four sections: English, Math, Reading and Science. If your target schools superscore the ACT, you may want to narrow your focus a bit while preparing for retakes. If you have strong scores locked in on English & Reading, consider focusing more of your prep time on Math & Science. Or vice versa. (Our score reports can help with that!)
Clearly, 2020 and 2021 have been filled with seismic shifts to the landscape of testing and college admissions. Many colleges now consider applicants without standardized test scores, Subject Tests have been eliminated, and AP Exams now reign supreme as standardized measures of academic achievement. And now, with the advent of ACT superscores, we may see further alignment in admissions policies regarding superscoring. At the end of the day, we’re confident that this is a positive step forward for prospective students.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 203.352.3500 or email us at [email protected]. We’re happy to help!