SAT Superscore Comprehensive Guide

The college admissions process can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to understanding standardized test scores. One term that often confuses students is “SAT Superscore.”

In this comprehensive guide, we will demystify SAT Superscore, explain how it works, and provide valuable insights into its significance for college applications. Whether you’re a high school student preparing for the SAT or a parent trying to navigate the admissions process, this article is your ultimate resource.


1. What is SAT Superscore?

Definition of SAT Superscore

SAT Superscore is a term used to describe the highest possible score a student can achieve by combining the best section-level scores from multiple SAT test dates. It allows colleges to consider a student’s strongest performance in each section, regardless of the specific test date.

How SAT Superscore is Calculated

To calculate the SAT Superscore, colleges take the highest section-level scores from different SAT test dates and combine them to create a new composite score. For example, if a student scores 600 in Math and 650 in Reading on one test date, and 650 in Math and 600 in Reading on another test date, their SAT Superscore would be 650 in Math and 650 in Reading, resulting in a combined score of 1300.


2. Why is SAT Superscore Important?

Benefits of SAT Superscore

SAT Superscore offers several benefits to college applicants:

  1. Highlighting Strengths: SAT Superscore allows students to showcase their best performance in each section, emphasizing their strengths and potential.
  2. Increased Chances of Admission: By submitting a higher SAT Superscore, students can improve their chances of admission to competitive colleges that consider superscores.
  3. Reflecting Improvement: SAT Superscore accounts for students who have shown improvement over multiple test dates, demonstrating their dedication and growth.

How Colleges Use SAT Superscore in Admissions

Many colleges consider SAT Superscore during the admissions process. Instead of focusing on individual test dates, colleges evaluate applicants based on their highest section-level scores. This approach ensures that students are not penalized for lower scores on a particular test date and provides a more accurate representation of their abilities.


3. Understanding SAT Score Policies

Superscoring vs. Score Choice

While SAT Superscore refers to combining section-level scores from different test dates, Score Choice is a service offered by the College Board that allows students to choose which SAT scores they want to send to colleges. Score Choice enables students to select their highest scores from individual test dates, whereas SAT Superscore combines the highest section-level scores.

Other SAT Score-Use Policies

Apart from SAT Superscore and Score Choice, colleges may have additional score-use policies. Some colleges consider the single highest total SAT score, regardless of the test date, while others require students to submit scores from all test dates participated in. It’s crucial to review each college’s SAT score-use policy to understand their specific requirements.


4. How to Find a College’s SAT Score Use Policy

Using BigFuture to Determine Score Use Policy

To find a college’s SAT score use policy, you can visit BigFuture, a website provided by the College Board. Follow these steps:

  1. Visit BigFuture and click on “Find Colleges.
  2. Enter the name of the college you’re interested in and click “Go.”
  3. On the left panel, click on “Applying.
  4. Select the “Application Requirements” tab.
  5. Look for the “SAT Score use policy” under the “Test Policies” header.

Example: Stanford University’s SAT Score Use Policy

Let’s take a closer look at Stanford University as an example. According to their SAT score use policy on BigFuture, Stanford requires all SAT scores. This means that students must submit scores from all test dates, and the admissions committee will consider the highest section scores achieved across all tests.


5. How Many Times Should You Take the SAT?

Importance of Taking the SAT Multiple Times

Taking the SAT multiple times can benefit students in several ways:

  1. Demonstrating Perseverance: Taking the SAT multiple times shows colleges that a student is committed to improving their scores and willing to put in the effort.
  2. Showing Growth: By retaking the SAT, students have the opportunity to showcase their growth and improvement over time, which can strengthen their college applications.
  3. Increasing Score Sending Options: Having multiple SAT scores allows students to choose their highest scores to send to colleges, maximizing their chances of admission.

Strategies for Improving Your SAT Scores

To improve SAT scores, students can follow these strategies:

  1. Study with Official SAT Practice: Utilize the Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy, a free and comprehensive resource that provides personalized study plans and practice questions.
  2. Take Advantage of Test Dates: Plan to take the SAT multiple times, strategically scheduling test dates that align with college application deadlines.
  3. Focus on All Sections: Allocate sufficient time and effort to study and practice for each section of the SAT, as colleges consider the highest scores from each section for the SAT Superscore.


6. Colleges That Superscore the SAT

Ivy League Colleges’ Acceptance of SAT Superscores

In general, most Ivy League colleges accept SAT Superscores. This means they consider the highest score achieved in each individual section, even if those scores were obtained on different test dates. However, it’s essential to check with each specific Ivy League college for their admissions policies, as they may have additional requirements or guidelines for considering SAT scores.

Colleges in NYC That Superscore the SAT

Many colleges in New York City accept SAT Superscores. Some examples include Columbia University, New York University, and Barnard College. However, it’s always recommended to review the individual college’s admissions policies to confirm their requirements regarding SAT Superscores.


7. The SAT Superscore Calculator

How to Calculate Your Own SAT Superscore

Although there is no official SAT Superscore calculator provided by the College Board, students can calculate their own superscores using a regular SAT score calculator. Add together the highest scores achieved in each section from different test dates to determine the SAT Superscore. However, it’s important to note that colleges will calculate the official SAT Superscore during the admissions process.

Benefits of Using an SAT Superscore Calculator

While calculating your own SAT Superscore can give you an estimate, it’s crucial to remember that colleges will calculate the official Superscore. Nevertheless, using an SAT Superscore calculator can help you understand the potential impact of combining your highest section-level scores and provide insights into your overall performance.


8. Submitting Your SAT Superscore

How to Send Your SAT Scores

To submit your SAT Superscore to colleges, you need to send your SAT scores through the College Board’s official score-sending service. When you request that your scores be sent, colleges will receive a score report that includes your highest section-level scores and your overall SAT Superscore.

Requirements for Submitting SAT Superscores

While many colleges accept SAT Superscores, it’s important to note that some colleges may have specific requirements regarding score submission. Some colleges may require students to submit scores from all test dates, while others may only consider the highest scores. It’s crucial to review each college’s admissions policies to understand their specific requirements for SAT Superscores.


9. Frequently Asked Questions about SAT Superscore

As students navigate the SAT Superscore process, they may have several questions. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions:

What is the difference between SAT Superscore and Score Choice?

Superscore uses best section scores from multiple SATs to calculate the highest overall score, while Score Choice lets you choose which SAT scores to send to colleges.

Do all colleges superscore the SAT and ACT?

Not all colleges superscore the SAT and ACT. Superscoring uses best section scores from multiple tests to calculate the highest overall score.

Do Ivy League colleges accept SAT Superscores?

Most Ivy League colleges superscore the SAT, but check individual school websites for specific policies.

What colleges in NYC superscore the SAT?

Columbia, NYU, and Barnard superscore the SAT, but check individual school websites for specific policies.

10. Conclusion

The SAT Superscore offers students the opportunity to showcase their strengths and highlight their improvement over multiple test dates. By understanding the significance of SAT Superscores and knowing how colleges use them in the admissions process, students can strategically approach their SAT preparation and maximize their chances of admission to their dream colleges.

Remember, taking the SAT multiple times, studying diligently, and submitting your SAT Superscores can greatly enhance your college applications and open doors to exciting educational opportunities.