Gianna Cifredo 7 min read SAT Info and Tips, Standardized Tests

Which Colleges Superscore the SAT?

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There’s no doubt that SAT scores continue to be an important part of your college application. College admissions officers use SAT scores to get an idea of what your academic ability is and to make sure that you are prepared for the rigor of college courses. However, many colleges realize that your performance on the SAT may not reflect your true academic ability.

 

To balance out the unrepresentative nature of using a single test score, some colleges use superscoring to get a better picture of your ability. Here’s how to use superscoring to your advantage in college applications.

 

What is Superscoring?

 

Superscoring is a catch-all term for whenever colleges take the best section or test scores from multiple sittings for the SAT. This gives you a higher score that you might have possibly earned if you were performing at your peak on all test sections.

 

Here’s an example:

 

If you take the SAT twice, and the first time you got a 650 on the SAT Math and 720 on the SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW), and the second time you got a 680 on Math and 690 on EBRW, colleges who superscore will use the 680 Math score and 720 EBRW score to create a new higher score.

 

Why Do Colleges Superscore?

 

Why do colleges superscore? Colleges know that how you do on one test is not a perfect indicator of your academic ability. Many factors impact your test performance, like how much preparation you did, how well you slept and ate in the days leading up to your test, or dealing with personal issues that distract you from focusing on the test. Even if you tested under ideal conditions, measuring your performance from one day isn’t representative of how well you could do.

 

Colleges also know that many students take the SAT at least twice in preparation for college applications. While most students will score within the same range overall, they often have one section score that goes up the second time around.

 

It can also help colleges maintain a level of prestige. When they superscore, they are able to report higher test score averages overall across all of the admitted students, rather than focusing on what was achieved by a single test sitting.

 

If a college doesn’t superscore, they usually look at the highest single test sitting if they receive multiple score reports for the same student. For example, let’s say you took the test twice and the first time you got a 700 Math score and 640 EBRW score, and the second time you got a 730 Math score and 630 EBRW score. Schools that don’t superscore would use the second score because the total score is higher.

 

Why Does Superscoring Matter?

 

You may be wondering why superscoring matters. It’s true that for many students, they tend to have SAT scores in the same range, and the difference between their highest single sitting score and their superscore may not be that much.

 

However, if you have an effective study plan and strategically improve your score, you may be able to make a huge difference between your single sitting and superscore. This is especially true if your first scores were lopsided, where one score was much higher than the other.

 

For example, your first scores were 800 on Math and 600 on EBRW. By putting in the effort, you improve your EBRW score to be 700, but your math score also drops to around 720. Your superscore would be 1500 but your highest single sitting would be 1420, which is a pretty significant difference in score.

 

It also matters if you plan on applying to colleges early and want to avoid being deferred. Many students who are deferred are deferred because they are a borderline applicant, but having a stronger test score can edge you towards being a stronger applicant. You can learn more about applying early in our post Does Applying Early Decision Increase My Chances?

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Popular Colleges that Superscore the SAT

 

Many of the top schools superscore. We’ve included a few of them here for you, as well as a link to their admissions site to get you started on your college research. If you see other schools using similar language, you can bet that they superscore too!

 

School Name Official Statement Admissions Site
Boston College “If you submit multiple scores, we will superscore the tests for our evaluation.” Boston College Admissions
Brown University “If you have taken tests more than once, we concentrate on your highest scores. For the two components of the SAT we focus on your best scores, regardless of the date you took the test. “ Brown Admissions
California Institute of Technology “We strongly recommend that you report all of your available standardized test scores because the Admissions Committee will be certain to review the strongest score in each category, across all of the exam(s) you’ve taken.” CalTech Admissions
Carnegie Mellon University “While we’re interested in the general pattern of your scores, we give most weight to the highest score you’ve received on any of the exams.” Carnegie Mellon Admissions
Cornell University “For the SAT, Cornell considers the highest section scores across test dates.” Cornell Admissions
Dartmouth College “For the SAT, we take the highest section scores, regardless of the test dates.” Dartmouth Admissions
Duke University “Duke will use the highest available scores in each section, plus the two highest Subject Test scores, regardless of the date those tests were taken.” Duke Admissions
Emory University “Emory considers your highest section scores across all SAT dates submitted (also known as superscoring).” Emory Admissions
Georgetown University “If an applicant takes the SAT more than once, the admissions committees will consider the highest critical reading score and the highest math score from multiple test sessions when reviewing the application.” Georgetown Admissions
Johns Hopkins University We’ll consider your highest section scores across all SATs taken—even if they were on different test dates—in our evaluation of your application. Johns Hopkins Admissions
Massachusetts Institute of Technology “MIT uses superscoring.” MIT Admissions
New York University “If you’ve taken the SAT more than once, you can select which results you want to send to us using Score Choice. We will review the highest SAT scores you submit.” NYU Admissions
Northwestern University “For students taking the SAT, we will simply add together your highest scores in the (1) Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and (2) Math categories to make a higher total score. This is the only area in which we create a “superscore” for applicants.” Northwestern Admissions
University of Notre Dame “If you submit multiple scores, we will superscore the tests for our evaluation.” Notre Dame Admissions
Princeton University “Princeton will consider the highest individual section results across all sittings of the SAT and the highest composite score for the ACT, as well as the two highest SAT Subject Test scores.” Princeton Admissions
Rice University “When reviewing SAT scores, we use the highest score from each section across all administrations.” Rice Admissions
Stanford University “For the SAT, we will focus on the highest individual Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math scores from all test sittings.” Stanford Admissions
Tufts University “It is Tufts’ longstanding admissions policy to use a student’s highest score for each section of the SAT or the ACT regardless of the test date.” Tufts Admissions
University of Chicago “We superscore test scores, meaning that only your best testing results—your highest sub-scores and the best result of the two testing options, if you’ve taken both the SAT and ACT— will be considered in the review of your application.” University of Chicago Admissions
University of Southern California For students who take the SAT more than once, USC records the highest scores for each section — Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Mathematics — even if achieved in different sittings. USC Admissions
University of Pennsylvania “For the SAT (pre-March 2015) SAT scores will only be superscored with other pre-March 2015 SAT results. Current SAT scores (March 2015 onwards) will only be superscored with current SAT test results.” UPenn Admissions
University of Virginia “It has been the Office of Admission’s long-standing policy to consider the best test scores submitted by applicants. We use the top score from each section across all administrations of the same exam.” UVA Admissions
Vanderbilt University “Vanderbilt will super-score among SAT tests.” Vanderbilt Admissions
Washington University in St. Louis “We will “Super Score” within old sets of test scores or new sets of test scores, but not across tests.” Washington University Admissions
Yale University “When assessing SAT results, admissions officers will focus on the highest individual section scores from all test dates.” https://admissions.yale.edu/

 

Complete List of Colleges that Superscore the SAT

 

  • Amherst College
  • Babson College
  • Barnard College
  • Bates College
  • Boston University
  • Bowdoin College
  • Bucknell University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Clemson University
  • College of William and Mary
  • Colorado College
  • Columbia University
  • Connecticut College
  • Drexel University
  • Fordham University
  • Florida State University
  • Franklin and Marshall College
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Gettysburg College
  • Lehigh University
  • Loyola University Maryland
  • Miami University-Oxford
  • North Carolina State University
  • Oberlin College
  • Pepperdine University
  • Princeton University
  • Purdue University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Santa Clara University
  • Southern Methodist University
  • SUNY Binghamton
  • SUNY Buffalo
  • Swarthmore College
  • Syracuse University
  • The College of New Jersey
  • Tulane University
  • Trinity College
  • UNC Chapel Hill
  • University of Arkansas
  • University of Colorado-Boulder
  • University of Denver
  • University of Florida
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Miami
  • University of New Mexico
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Rochester
  • University of San Francisco
  • Villanova University
  • Wake Forest University
  • Washington State University

 

 

Tips for Applying to Schools that Superscore

 

Although you may think that applying to a school that superscores might be easier than one that isn’t, remember that many of these schools are competitive and will require more than just a strong test score to get in.

 

 

1. Review the average SAT score reports from the previous application year.

 

While this may be a superscored average, it will give you a good idea of what kind of score you should earn when you take the SAT yourself.

 

 

2. Pay attention to the application requirements and take them seriously.

 

Some schools require a combination of essays, letters of recommendation, and other forms of information. If they are asking for that information, it’s because they read it and take it seriously when deciding to admit you, so you want to make sure you do your best on every part of your application.

 

 

3. Take the SAT in your junior year.

 

To avoid preparing for the SAT while you work on your college applications during senior year (and stressing you out more than you need to), we recommend you take the test once in the fall and again in the spring of your junior year. If not, taking the test at least once in the spring of your junior year will give you an idea how much additional preparation you want to do before taking the test early in senior year.

 

Wrapping it Up: How to Use This List

 

We recommend that you use this list to jumpstart your college research process and begin planning for application cycles. Review the average scores, deadlines, and any other components so you can start your senior year with a game plan.

 

Even with superscoring, you want to prepare for the SAT and do well each time you take the test. After all, you will always want the highest score possible each time you take the test to make sure that your application is as strong as possible, and you can qualify for scholarships based on your SAT score.

 

When students work with our expert tutors, they see an average 250 point increase in their overall SAT score. Find out if our SAT program is right for you!

 

For more information about the SAT, check out these posts:

 

Should You Guess on the SAT?

Should You Send SAT Scores Straight to Colleges?

What is a Good, Bad, and Excellent SAT Score? Here’s How to Think About It.

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Gianna Cifredo
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Gianna Cifredo is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where she majored in Philosophy. She has six years of higher education and test prep experience, and now works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida and is a proud cat mom.