As you’re gearing up to submit your college applications, you’ll inevitably have to consider the ways your standardized test scores impact the strength of your overall standing. Different schools review your test scores in different ways, so it’s imperative to familiarize yourself with the distinctions between each method, and strategically frame your scores whenever possible. For the SAT, there are three ways colleges consider your scores: Score Choice, Superscore, and All Scores. Let’s review the differences now.
As it’s described by the College Board, Score Choice helps reduce the stress of test day by allowing prospective applicants to choose which set of test scores they will send to their school. Though you will have to submit the scores of all sections of a single test, a test-taker still has the freedom to decide which bundle of scores the college will review. This means you have the ability to take the test multiple times, but only submit your best set of scores.
Superscoring selects the highest scored sections across all SAT exams that you’ve taken, and makes one (super!) large composite score. This allows for the prospective applicant to hand select their highest scores, while the colleges can improve their class rankings by boosting their incoming SAT numbers. Although colleges do see all of the scores you submit, your composite score will be the one that counts!
By far and away the most restrictive option, All Scores method requires an applicant to submit all of their scores for review. This means that your college will consider your whole portfolio of scores when looking through your application. It is especially important note when schools use the All Scores method, as it means that you cannot afford to take a “practice” official test; all scores will be assessed with your application, meaning there’s no hiding those pesky weak scores!
Considering Score Choice, Superscores, and All Scores while strategizing your school list can be essential, especially when you have one or more section of the SAT that you’d consider weak. By strategically crafting a school list that considers these different methods, you have more control over the overall story that you’re crafting about yourself.
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Fear not! There's much more to read on this topic. Check out the following blog posts on the SAT: