Superscore vs Score Choice: What’s the Difference, and Which Applies?

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Julia de Raadt
Julia de Raadt

Julia has dedicated much of her career to education. Since commencing with Empowerly, Julia has looked after the research team which handles student questions on different topics about college admission.

As in-person testing returns to some normality and test centers have begun to offer more testing dates,  some students  may have several test scores for the SAT or ACT.   If you have taken the test more than once, but have scored differently on each occasion, how do you present this to the colleges you are applying to? Should you submit all or can you pick and choose which tests to submit? If you send in all your test scores, how will colleges assess them? Superscore vs score choice; what’s the difference? And which applies?

Superscore

For many colleges, SAT and ACT scores will be superscored if applicants decide to send in multiple tests. While superscoring of the ACT remains a  little less common practice than superscoring the SAT,  it’s fairly applicable for both (see our list of 130+ top  colleges’ score policies in the table below). 

Superscore means colleges will look at each test and combine the best scores from each section into one composite score which reviewers will then assess you on. Basically, it’s presenting the best version of your test scores when combining them together. And not only is it beneficial to applicants, colleges also look good (and raise their ranking) if they can present the highest scores.

Let’s take an example. If you receive the following scores on two separate test dates you will be assessed on your composite scores of 1500 (760+740) rather than your second composite score of 1480.

First SAT test score

Reading and writing: 620

Math: 740

Composite: 1360

Second SAT test score

Reading and writing: 760

Math: 720

Composite: 1480

Score Choice

Score Choice, on the other hand,  gives test takers complete control over what scores are submitted to colleges, allowing them to present their single best test score taken on one test date. For students who have done better on all sections on one test date, compared to another,  and want to be assured that only their best test scores are considered, they can select score choice.  Bear in mind that you can’t choose to send your Math score from one test day and your Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score from another test day, rather you have to send your best test score from a single sitting.

Despite the benefits of this option, some colleges don’t encourage it, recommending or in some rare cases requiring students to submit scores from all the times they have taken the test. 

How Many Times Should I Retake the SAT/ACT?

While it has its benefits, taking the test too many times may not be viewed favourably by colleges.  Harvard for instance states on their website that taking it several times has diminishing returns. We suggest taking it 2-3 times, as students will often score better the second time taking it. However we don’t suggest taking it more than this, it takes time and money to prepare and it can take away from other important activities including your school work and extracurriculars. 

Superscore vs. Score Choice Policies

If you are unsure what colleges score submission policy is, here is our table of 130+ colleges and their policies.

SchoolSuperscoreScore Choice
American UniversitySuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
Amherst CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Arizona State University—​TempeDon’t superscoreAccepts score choice
Babson CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Bard CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Barnard CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
Bates CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Baylor UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Bentley UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Berea CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Boston CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Boston UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
Bowdoin CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Brandeis UniversitySuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
Brigham Young University—​ProvoDon’t superscoreAccepts score choice
Brown UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Bryn Mawr CollegeSuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
Bucknell UniversitySuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
California Institute of TechnologySuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
California Polytechnic State University—​SLOSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
California State Polytechnic University—PomonaSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Carleton CollegeSuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
Carnegie Mellon UniversitySuperscore SAT onlyRequires all scores
Case Western Reserve UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Chapman UniversitySuperscore SAT onlyRecommends submitting all
Claremont McKenna CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Clemson UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Colby CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
Colgate UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
College of New JerseySuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
College of the Holy CrossSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
College of William and MarySuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
Columbia UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Cooper UnionSuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
Cornell UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice SAT; requires all ACT
Dartmouth CollegeSuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
DePaul UniversityDon’t superscoreAccepts score choice
Dickinson CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Drew UniversitySuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
Drexel UniversitySuperscore SAT onlyRecommends submitting all
Duke UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Emory UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
Florida State UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
Fordham UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
George Washington UniversitySuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
Georgetown UniversitySuperscore SAT onlyRequires all scores
Georgia Institute of TechnologySuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
Gonzaga UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Grinnell CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Harvard UniversityDon’t superscoreAccepts score choice
Harvey Mudd CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
Howard UniversitySuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
Indiana University—​BloomingtonSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Johns Hopkins UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
Kenyon CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
Lehigh UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Lewis & Clark CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Loyola Marymount UniversitySuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
Marquette UniversityDon’t superscoreAccepts score choice
Massachusetts Institute of TechnologySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Miami University—​OxfordSuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
Michigan State UniversityDon’t superscoreAccepts score choice
Middlebury CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
Mount Holyoke CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Muhlenberg CollegeSuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
New Jersey Institute of TechnologySuperscore SAT onlyRecommends submitting all
New York UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Northeastern UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Northwestern UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Oberlin CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Occidental CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Ohio State University—​ColumbusDon’t superscoreAccepts score choice
Oregon State UniversityDon’t superscoreRecommends submitting all
Pennsylvania State University—​University ParkDon’t superscoreRecommends submitting all
Pepperdine UniversitySuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
Pitzer CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Pomona CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
Princeton UniversitySuperscore SAT onlyRecommends submitting all
Purdue University—​West LafayetteSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Reed CollegeSuperscore SAT onlyRecommends submitting all
Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteSuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
Rice UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
Rochester Institute of TechnologySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Rutgers, ​New BrunswickSuperscore SAT onlyRecommends submitting all
San Diego State UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
San Francisco State UniversitySuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
San Jose State UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Santa Clara UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Scripps CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Skidmore CollegeSuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
Smith CollegeSuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
Stevens Institute of TechnologySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Swarthmore CollegeAccepts score choice
Syracuse UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTRequires all scores
Texas A&M University—​College StationDon’t superscoreAccepts score choice
University of ArizonaDon’t superscoreAccepts score choice
University of ChicagoSuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
University of Colorado—​BoulderSuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
University of ConnecticutSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
University of FloridaSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
University of Illinois—​Urbana-​ChampaignSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
University of Maryland—​College ParkSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
University of Massachusetts—​AmherstSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
University of MiamiSuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
University of Michigan—​Ann ArborSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
University of Minnesota—​Twin CitiesDon’t superscoreRecommends submitting all
University of North Carolina—​Chapel HillSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
University of Notre DameSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
University of OregonSuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
University of PennsylvaniaSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
University of PittsburghSuperscore SAT onlyRecommends submitting all
University of RochesterSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
University of San DiegoSuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
University of San FranciscoSuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
University of Southern CaliforniaSuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
University of Texas—​AustinDon’t superscoreRecommends submitting all
University of UtahDon’t superscoreAccepts score choice
University of VirginiaSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
University of WashingtonSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Vanderbilt UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
Vassar CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Villanova UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
Wake Forest UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Washington and Lee UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all
Washington University in St. LouisSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Wellesley CollegeDon’t superscoreAccepts score choice
Wesleyan UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Whitman CollegeSuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Whittier CollegeSuperscore SAT onlyAccepts score choice
Willamette UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTAccepts score choice
Yale UniversitySuperscore SAT + ACTRecommends submitting all

Do you still have questions about superscore vs score choice? If you would like to speak to an expert to develop your own personal testing and application strategy, contact us today for a complimentary conversation with the team.

Questions? Let us know!