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Articles / Applying to College / Should I Submit Both the SAT and ACT scores?

Dec. 22, 2010

Should I Submit Both the SAT and ACT scores?

Question: I took the SAT twice and received 2210 both times. I took the ACT once and received a composite score of 33. I have been admitted through "early action" to a few of my chosen colleges. I did not send my ACT score to those schools and am now preparing my applications for some schools that may or may not admit me. Do you feel that sending my ACT score will help, hurt or be neutral on my chances for admission?


If you look at the "concordance tables" that compare SAT scores with ACT's, you'll find that a 33 is roughly equivalent to a 2190 on the SAT ... i.e., slightly below your actual SAT result. So I don't see any reason to send ACT scores to colleges unless there is something in the score breakdown that might jump off the page. For instance, if you plan to pursue a major in math or science (or engineering, computer science, etc.) and you got a perfect ACT sub-score in one of those areas, it might be worth showing this to colleges. Similarly, if you did significantly better in any one section of the ACT than you did on the comparable section of the SAT, you could send the ACT for this reason, too.

But overall, I don't feel that sending the ACT will have an impact one way or another on your college verdicts.

Congrats on your fine results on both tests and good luck with the rest of your admission decisions.

Happy holidays, too.

(posted 12/22/2010)

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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