Should you submit both ACT and SAT scores to colleges?

College Admissions

It's something that we're hearing more and more of recently--students who are submitting both ACT and SAT score to the colleges to which they are applying. It seems to be a fairly new phenomenon; it's something that's become particularly prevalent (and that we've been asked more and more about) in the last couple of years.

The things students most want to know seem to be: Does it make sense to submit both ACT and SAT scores? Does it make your more competitive? Does it help your chances?

Here's how I see it:

  1. If you're an ace at the ACT, but not such a hotshot at the SAT (and your scores reflect that), then it doesn't make sense to send in both scores. Although your ACT score could potentially take the sting out of your SAT score, it's much more likely that your SAT score will take the shine off your ACT score. Same thing goes if you rocked out the SAT but didn't do so well on the ACT. Don't send in both scores just for the sake of sending in both scores. Focus on making the best case for yourself--and that means sending in things that highlight your academic prowess, not things that could cast a shadow on it.
  2. If both your scores are awesome and you want to send both in, make sure your school accepts both. Not all schools do. The last thing you want to do is spend money sending an unncessary score report and appear like you didn't bother reading application instructions.
  3. This should be a no-brainer, but it still bears mentioning: If both scores are so-so, pick the one where you did best (where, either score or percentile-wise, you appear most favorably). No use sending in two lukewarm scores. Make sure that the school accepts whichever one you choose--if it doesn't, send the other one.

My rule of thumb is always this: Send the scores that make you look the best. If your SAT is higher, send the SAT. If your ACT is higher, send the ACT. If they're both great, consider sending them both in. Will sending both improve or increase your chances? It might, since they both test different things and show different kinds of academic abilities, so they can have the effect of really bolstering a claim that you're academically well-rounded.

What are you planning on doing? Sending in just one test score? Sending them both in? 


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