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Articles / Preparing for College / To Send ... or Not to Send ... ACT Scores

To Send ... or Not to Send ... ACT Scores

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Nov. 23, 2020
To Send ... or Not to Send ... ACT Scores

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My son received a 27 on the ACT exam. We are grappling with whether or not to submit his scores or just let his application speak for itself. He has a 4.0 GPA, played hockey in school for four years, wrote a solid essay for his college application and has a decent amount of extracurricular activities. Do you think it makes sense to submit the 27 score to the four target and safe schools shown below? For the three reach schools, it's probably not a good idea to report the scores considering the 27 is below the ranges.

If your son were mine, I'd have him send his 27 ACT only to Penn State, UConn, UMass and URI. While Ohio State is borderline, "The Dean" has advised students and parents throughout this crazy COVID year (when colleges will be bending over backwards to evaluate applications using criteria other than test scores) to withhold SAT or ACT results that are below a college's mid-point (and I don't mean median range).

I'm assuming, of course, that your son is not being recruited for hockey by any of these universities. If he is, that's a different story, and he should definitely send his scores anywhere that a coach is after him.

I'm also assuming (because you didn't say otherwise) that your son is not an underrepresented minority student and he doesn't come from a disadvantaged background. If I'm wrong, please write back and explain. If not, then only submit his test scores to the last four colleges on the list.

Good luck to him — and to you — as you continue to navigate this maze.

About the Ask the Dean Column

Sally Rubenstone is a veteran of the college admissions process and is the co-author of three books covering admissions. She worked as a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years and has also served as an independent college counselor, in addition to working as a senior advisor at College Confidential since 2002. If you'd like to submit a question to The Dean please email us at editorial@collegeconfidential.com.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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