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Super-score to Improve Scholarships

When planning for college, you will need to have your child take high school tests. You can find out all about high school tests in my article, High School Subject Tests Simply Explained.

When using high school test scores, some colleges will "super-score" test results. That means they will look at each individual sub score earned each time you have taken the test. They will choose the highest sub score of each test, rather than the highest overall test score. Colleges decide on super-scoring, not parents, but if a college does super-score tests, it can improve your child's statistics, improving the chance of colleges. Here is an easy example using simple round numbers.

Parents Do Not Super-score

If you are just beginning to think about record keeping, download this Homeschool Transcript Template and Record Keeping Samples. As with everything on the high school transcript, complete honesty is vital. Choosing the SAT® or ACT® sub scores you like, and combining them into an imaginary or desired test score can be perceived as lying.

Suppose your child got these score results:

May SAT® score: Reading 500 Math 600 Composite 1100
June SAT® score: Reading 600 Math 500 Composite 1100

If a college would super-score your test results, they use the best sub score from each section. Suddenly your child's test results look like this:

Super-score SAT®: Reading 600 Math 600 Composite 1200

Using the example above, the parent should not put "SAT score 1200" on the transcript, because that is not accurate. Misrepresenting a student can cause admission and scholarships to be withheld. Worse yet, it can call the entire transcript into question.

Parents Can Encourage Super-scoring

While you can't super-score a test result and place it on the transcript without explanation, you can encourage the college to super-score by giving a fuller and more complete description of test scores.

When you provide all scores side-by side, and clearly adding what a super-score might look like, you are encouraging the college to super-score without misrepresenting test results.

Let me explain it another way. In May and June, this child was in the 75th percentile for their score. By listing the super-score on your transcript in addition to each sub score, it encourages the college to super-score. That makes your student look better, increases the chance of scholarships, and is completely honest.

How should super-scoring look on a transcript? Here's an example:


May SAT® Score: Reading 500 Math 600 Composite 1100
June SAT® Score: Reading 600 Math 500 Composite 1100
SAT® Super-score: Reading 600 Math 600 Composite 1200

May ACT® Score: Math 24 Sci 18 Eng 26 Comp 23
Jun ACT® Score: Math 26 Sci 22 Eng 24 Comp 24
ACT® Super-score Math 26 Sci 22 Eng 26 Comp 25

Not All Colleges Super-score

Some universities will super-score tests. Others never super-score. Some will use the single highest test score. Some will use the most recent test score. To find out what your university wants, search for "Score use policy" with the college name. ACT® provides a super score calculator here: How to Calculate Your ACT Super-score. Regardless of their policy, you can still make it easy for the college to provide scholarships when you add a super-score to the transcript.

Need more help wading through college admission and test scores? Check out the College Launch Solution to get help as you guide your child through the college admission process.
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Thursday, 23 May 2024

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