A new year brings many new questions regarding standardized testing. One of the biggest sources of confusion revolves around what scores schools will actually look at. To help alleviate this, Summit has put together the following guide on Score Choice. For more information, be sure to check back next week when we will discuss Superscoring.
Score Choice is a score reporting policy, set by the testing agencies (College Board and ACT), that gives students control over their SAT and ACT scores. It allows students to decide exactly which scores they want colleges to see. The majority of colleges abide by Score Choice, but there are some?—?Stanford, and Yale for example?—?that request all test scores. Score Choice policies vary from school to school, so we encourage you to contact individual college admissions offices or a Summit Program Director to discuss the particulars of your situation.
How does Score Choice work?
Test scores are reported on a test date basis only. You cannot, for example, send your SAT Math score from one sitting without also including your SAT Reading & Writing score from the same test.
Will only my best scores be sent to colleges?
For the SAT, Score Choice is an option. By default, all scores will be sent. You must select the Choose Scores option when sending score reports. For the ACT, you will be asked to specify which test dates you want reported to each school. In either case, it is your responsibility to ensure that the colleges to which you apply are sent the correct scores in a timely manner.
What scores should I send?
If the colleges consider only your combined SAT or composite ACT score from one sitting, you may want to choose the test date with your best overall score. If the college superscores, then you will want to include test dates that maximize your combined score.
Is it true that some colleges want me to send all of my scores?
Yes. Not all colleges abide by Score Choice. A small number of colleges require students to report all scores so they can see a student’s entire testing history. We recommend that you discuss the specifics of your situation with your college counselor and with Summit, as score reporting policies vary. For example, Stanford and Yale are among a handful of selective schools that require students to submit all of their scores, partly to discourage excessive testing. Harvard, MIT, BU, and most other schools allow the use of Score Choice. Of the colleges that most students apply to, almost all accept Score Choice.
I’ve heard that Score Choice suggests that students should test ‘early and often.’
While this policy removes some of the anxiety over retesting, it does not change the fact that most students will not peak on the SAT or ACT until spring of junior year or fall of senior year. Taking an exam no more than two to three times is still the appropriate plan for most students. Most students considering taking a test as a “dry run” before January of junior year may be better served by taking a proctored practice test instead. The feedback our practice tests provide is more immediate and detailed. Aside from the cost and time involved, unprepared test performances can rattle a student’s confidence unnecessarily. Additionally, a student who tests numerous times could be forced to reveal this fact if he or she chooses to apply to one of the colleges that requires students to submit their entire testing history.