Colleges That Superscore the SAT

January 6, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Colleges That Superscore the SAT: What High Schoolers Need to Know

The ACT has been a fundamental part of the college admissions process for decades. Despite the recent resurgence of the test-optional movement, there are still thousands of colleges and universities throughout the country that accept and even require applicants to submit the ACT or its counterpart – the SAT. It’s important that you know more about the colleges that superscore ACT.

Your ACT score is an accurate way for college admissions officers to determine your college readiness while making it possible to compare your performance with that of fellow applicants. After all, it’s difficult to accurately evaluate different applications without a standardized method of comparison. Standardized tests provide this method of evaluation.

Writing near book using a pencil. While most applicants are at least somewhat familiar with the standard ACT score, many are interested in learning more about the so-called ACT superscore. There are many colleges that superscore the ACT which can help improve the admissions chances of an applicant by combining and averaging different ACT scores.

Knowing the colleges that superscore the SAT is an important factor for many students when determining where to apply. Here, we’re going to take a deep dive into the purpose of the superscore, how it can benefit students, and which colleges are offering it.

What is the ACT Superscore?

The ACT superscore is an average of an applicant’s highest scores from each subject: English, reading, mathematics, and science. These scores are pulled from various times a student takes the ACT test. An ACT superscore is always going to end up being higher than the single composite scores you received after taking the standardized test once time.

Answering a test using a pencil. Every student who takes the ACT more than once will automatically receive an ACT superscore that’s accessible from within their MyACT account. If you want to gain a rough understanding of what your superscore might look like, you can use a free ACT super score calculator provided on the ACT website.

It’s crucial to know that you might not be applying to colleges that superscore the ACT. Some only look at your best singular performance instead of taking a composite. Although the ACT organization has come out in support of accepting the superscore in college admissions, each school sets its own policies in that area.

ACT Superscore Example

Still not clear on what an ACT superscore looks like? No problem! Let’s take a look at a hypothetical example of somebody who took the test three times. Their results were:

March  May  June

English

34 31 32

Reading

35 34

32

Science

27 24

28

Math 27 28

29

Composite 31 29

29

As you can see, the composite scores might not vary greatly between the different attempts but the scores of individual parts of the exam fluctuate. Furthermore, the test-taker didn’t have a linear progression of improvement. To calculate the ACT superscore, the highest scores of each section (highlighted above in yellow) are combined for a new composite. This represents the best possible score that can be gleaned from the applicant’s results. In this example, here’s the ACT superscore:

English 

Reading Science  Math 

Composite

34

35 28 29

32

In this hypothetical scenario, the highest ACT score the applicant was able to achieve after taking the test three different times was 31. That’s not a bad score, but the ACT superscore was even better with a total of 32. The superscore calculation isn’t going to automatically get you into your dream college,  but it certainly improves the quality of your application.

Why did ACT superscoring get started?

The entire point behind standardized tests such as the ACT and SAT is to help college admissions officers gain a better understanding of how a student would succeed at their schools. After all, applications don’t provide a ton of insight into a student’s objective abilities. GPAs and course curricula are good indicators but not everything.

Standardized tests provide an objective and standardized way for colleges and universities to compare and contrast the performance of various applicants on their performance with college-level material. The content of the ACT is more similar to what you’d see during your first year in college than your high school material.

Answering the ACT exam on a desk. By measuring your college readiness, the ACT gives admissions officers an additional way to gauge your eligibility for their school. On the flip side, standardized tests give applicants another way to catch the attention of admissions officers in a sea of other applicants. In other words, the ACT is an excellent opportunity to increase your chances of getting accepted.

So, how does the ACT superscoring come into play? Well, over the years, ACT researchers (yes, there is such a thing) suggested combining the top section scores over multiple ACT attempts to give students an overall improved score. But this recommendation didn’t just come out of sincere goodwill.

In fact, the ACT researchers found that this superscore calculation was actually a better indication of how a student would perform in college classes. In other words, the superscore gave admissions officers a clearer picture of how a particular applicant would do at their school if accepted.

These findings remained even when adjustments were made for a variety of different factors such as gender, ethnicity, race, and income. In short, this showed that the ACT superscore is a fair and equal way to measure the performance of students while also giving admission officers more accurate insights into the capabilities of applicants – two things that colleges that superscore the ACT want to take advantage of.

Seeing these undeniable results and with a considerable push from the ACT organization itself, colleges and universities around the country began to factor ACT superscores into their admissions decisions. Through automatic superscoring, you can send your ACT superscores to participating colleges without having to show your composite scores no matter how many times you took the exam.

An increased focus on ACT superscores.

SAT superscoring has been a practice at colleges for many years. Recently, there’s been an increase in schools applying the same calculation to applicant ACT scores.

This is partially due to the rising popularity of the ACT as more and more students choose to take it every year. In fact, the number of high schoolers taking the ACT has recently surpassed those taking the SAT.

Before applying to college, it’s important to understand its ACT superscoring policy. Although it’s an increasing practice, colleges that superscore the ACT are still in the minority. It’s not that applying to a school that doesn’t superscore is a bad idea. Instead, it’s just important to understand their scoring policies to get a better understanding of your competitiveness.

Two people holding a book open. Your chances of getting accepted to a school that superscores might be higher than at a school that simply takes your highest ACT composite score. As we mentioned earlier, your ACT superscore is always going to be higher than your highest ACT score.

Of course, there are a variety of other factors involved in determining your chances of acceptance, but it’s still an important consideration. If you can’t find a college’s superscoring policies online, feel free to contact their admissions officer. The number of colleges that superscore the ACT is always growing, so you can’t always trust outdated info online.

They’ll be more than happy to provide you with the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding their ACT superscoring practices. This information should get factored into your decision about which schools to apply to.

Colleges that superscore the ACT

It’s crucial to know the colleges that superscore the ACT to determine where this score is counted. Here, we’ve compiled a complete list of all colleges and universities that currently recognize the ACT superscore:

  • Adelphi University
  • Albion College
  • Allegheny College
  • American University
  • Amherst College
  • Antioch College
  • Appalachian State University
  • Austin College
  • Babson College
  • Bard College
  • Baruch College (CUNY)
  • Bates College
  • Baylor University
  • Becker College
  • Beloit College
  • Bentley University
  • Berea College
  • Boston College
  • Brooklyn College (CUNY)
  • California Institute of Technology
  • California Polytechnic State University
  • California State Polytechnic University – Pomona
  • California State University – Stanislaus
  • Calvary Bible College and Theological Seminary
  • Canisius College
  • Catawba College
  • Centenary College of Louisiana
  • Champlain College
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • Coastal Carolina University
  • Colby College
  • Colgate University
  • College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University
  • College of the Atlantic
  • Colorado College
  • Colorado State University
  • Connecticut College
  • Cooper Union
  • Cornell College
  • Davidson College
  • Denison University
  • DePauw University
  • Dickinson College
  • Drew University
  • Duquesne University
  • Earlham College
  • East Carolina University
  • Eckerd College
  • Elmira College
  • Elon University
  • Emerson College
  • Fairfield University
  • Ferris State University
  • Flagler College
  • Florida Southern College
  • Florida State University
  • Franklin and Marshall College
  • Franklin College
  • Furman University
  • Georgetown College
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Gettysburg College
  • Gonzaga University
  • Gordon College
  • Green Mountain College
  • Grinnell College
  • Grove City College
  • Hamilton College
  • Hampden-Sydney College
  • Hampton University
  • Hanover College
  • Harvey Mudd College
  • Haverford College
  • High Point University
  • Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  • Hofstra University
  • Hood College
  • Hunter College (CUNY)
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Indiana University Bloomington
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • Iowa State University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Juniata College
  • Kalamazoo College
  • Kenyon College
  • Knox College
  • La Salle University
  • Lafayette College
  • Lake Forest College
  • Lawrence University
  • Le Moyne College
  • Lehigh University
  • Loyola University
  • New Orleans
  • Lynchburg College
  • Manhattanville College
  • Marist College
  • Massachusetts College of Art and Design
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Menlo College
  • Mercer University – Macon
  • Merrimack College
  • Messiah College
  • Miami University
  • Middlebury College
  • Milligan College
  • Mills College
  • Millsaps College
  • Monmouth University
  • Montclair State University
  • Mount Holyoke College
  • Nazareth College
  • New College of Florida
  • Niagara University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Northeastern University
  • Occidental College
  • Ohio Northern University
  • Ohio Wesleyan University
  • Pomona College
  • Radford University
  • Randolph College
  • Randolph-Macon College
  • Regis University
  • Rhodes College
  • Rice University
  • Rider University
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
  • Sacred Heart University
  • Saint Leo University
  • Saint Mary’s College
  • Saint Michael’s College
  • Sarah Lawrence College
  • Schreiner University
  • Seattle University
  • Seton Hall University
  • Sewanee: The University of the South
  • Simmons College
  • St. Bonaventure University
  • St. John’s College (MD)
  • St. John’s College – Santa Fe
  • St. John’s University
  • St. Lawrence University
  • State University of New York – Potsdam
  • State University of New York at Geneseo
  • Stetson University
  • Stonehill College
  • Suffolk University
  • SUNY at Purchase College
  • Susquehanna University
  • Swarthmore College
  • Syracuse University
  • Taylor University
  • Texas Christian University
  • The Catholic University of America
  • The College of Wooster
  • The George Washington University
  • The University of Montana
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • The University of Tulsa
  • Trinity College
  • Trinity University
  • Tufts University
  • Union College
  • United States Coast Guard Academy
  • United States Merchant Marine Academy
  • United States Military Academy
  • United States Naval Academy
  • University of Arkansas – Fayetteville
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Colorado ­– Boulder
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Denver
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • University of Idaho
  • University of Jamestown
  • University of La Verne
  • University of Maine
  • University of Maryland – College Park
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • University of Miami
  • University of New England
  • University of New Mexico
  • University of North Carolina at Asheville
  • University of North Carolina – Charlotte
  • University of North Florida
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Pittsburgh at Bradford
  • University of Portland
  • University of Puget Sound
  • University of Redlands
  • University of Rhode Island
  • University of Rochester
  • University of San Francisco
  • University of South Florida
  • University of St. Thomas
  • University of Tampa
  • University of Tennessee – Knoxville
  • University of the Incarnate Word
  • University of Vermont
  • University of Virginia
  • Ursuline College
  • Valparaiso University
  • Vassar College
  • Villanova University
  • Virginia Tech
  • Wabash College
  • Wake Forest University
  • Washington & Jefferson College
  • Washington State University
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Webb Institute
  • Wellesley College
  • Wells College
  • Wesleyan University
  • Wheaton College
  • Wheeling Jesuit University
  • Whitman College
  • Whitworth University
  • Willamette University
  • William Paterson University
  • Williams College
  • Winthrop University
  • Wofford College
  • Xavier University

It’s important to note that the list of colleges that superscore the ACT continues to grow. You should always check with your intended schools to determine their most recent policies regarding the ACT superscore.

How many times should you take the ACT?

Since there’s no technical limit to how many times you can take the ACT, there’s technically no limit to how many times you can attempt to improve your ACT superscore. However, it’s important to keep in mind some practical limitations.

First and foremost, as a busy high schooler completing your senior courses while preparing applications for multiple colleges, you don’t have a ton of free time on your hand. Secondly, each ACT will cost you an extra fee.

Perhaps the most important factor to note is that admissions officers don’t like to see too many ACT attempts. It can weaken an otherwise strong application. We advise students to only take a standardized test around three to four times – enough to maximize their score without catching the negative attention of admissions officers.

How to optimize your ACT superscore.

Getting a stellar ACT superscore is no different than aiming for a fantastic ACT score. The only difference is you have the added benefit of taking the best performance of each section from each time you took the ACT. Still, the same rules of studying, preparation, and strategy remain unchanged.

One of the most effective ways to improve your ACT scores – and, as a result, your final ACT superscore – is to work with a professional ACT tutor. AdmissionSight is a highly experienced instructor with over a decade of experience helping students best prepare for this standardized test.

Student doing an exam in a table. We know what it takes to perform well on the ACT and can provide you with clear and personalized instructions to help you succeed. The high schoolers who work with our experienced instructors regularly score higher than 35 on the ACT! If you thought that score was out of reach…think again!

At AdmissionSight, we provide our students with real ACT exams that were formerly administered. This way, you can get an accurate understanding of what the exam is like, what material is covered, and how you perform. It’s one of the best ways to become familiar and comfortable with the contents of the ACT.

Typically, our students get to take a real ACT practice exam every week followed by an informative session with supplemental practice problems to more accurately determine a student’s strong points and weaknesses. Our instructors will custom-tailor instructions and practices to help students address their blind spots to optimize their ACT performance.

Work with a professional to increase your admissions chances.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed with the college admissions process? You’re not alone! It’s perfectly natural for high schoolers to enter this transition phase with confusion and uncertainty. That’s where working with a college entrance expert can help!

With over a decade of experience helping students get into the school of their choice, the AdmissionSight team knows what it takes to gain admittance into some of the top schools in the country.

We offer a wide range of personalized services aimed at helping students perfect all parts of their application for a better chance at catching the attention of admissions officers.

Whether you need a hand perfecting your college essays, getting the best letters of recommendation, choosing the best high school courses, or anything in between, we’ve got you covered!

Sound like a good match? Feel free to contact us to schedule a free consultation. We’d be delighted to answer all of your questions.

 

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