Plenty of students take the SAT more than once. In fact, it’s a relatively common suggestion by teachers and tutors, and many students find that their SAT test scores go up the second time around. That increase could be for a few reasons. First, because after having taken the SAT once, you know a little better what you’re in for, which could help to reduce nerves. Second, because it gives you an idea of the things you need to know and where to focus your efforts.
That said, there’s no guarantee your SAT test scores will go up consistently or in every category. What do you do if your best math scores, reading scores, and writing are all on different tests? Some students just submit whichever test has the highest total combined score. But depending on what schools you apply to, it might not be your only option when you send SAT scores. That’s because some schools accept—or even prefer—the SAT superscore.
What Is A Superscore?
If the schools you’re applying to accept it, superscoring your SAT could be a big advantage. The term superscore basically means that you look at all your tests by subject, and cherry pick the best version of each one, regardless of whether they all happened to be on the same test date. For example, imagine you took the test twice. On the first attempt, you rocked the math section. But you forgot to study for the reading and writing parts. So you cram for the reading session, and take it again—and rock it, but because this time your math scores slip. Thanks to schools accepting the SAT superscore, you can use both of those, and don’t have to try again a third time if you don’t want to.
Schools might process the SAT superscore in two different ways.
- In Version 1, a university considers the highest scores of each test that you submit to them. However, they’ll also look at any other scores if you decide to send them along. Basically, this means that the applicant has a lot of control over which tests they elect to send.
- In Version 2, a university only considers the highest SAT test scores when making their decisions. Each time you submit scores to them, they’ll update your application packet to reflect the highest scores in each section. In this version, they strongly encourage each student to send all of SAT results, to make sure they can be considered for any enrollment or scholarship opportunities.
Advantages of SAT Superscore
If you know in advance that the schools you want to apply to take the SAT superscore, you could use that knowledge to inform your testing strategy! Knowing you’ll only be using the best results means you can focus your preparation on one subject area at a time. In other words, you could spend all your time studying math in detail, and only worry about remembering those concepts, thus maximizing your chances at scoring a little higher there. Then, you could focus on practicing for the reading component, and the writing one.
Knowing that you have the opportunity to re-take your test if you need it may not only help you focus your studying. It could also help to reduce your anxiety about testing, because you know that you have another chance if you need it. That said, everyone’s studying and preparation needs are different, so make sure you talk to your teachers or mentors to figure out what might work best for you.
What to Know About the SAT Superscore
Each school you apply to might have a different approach to take when you send SAT scores. Make sure you have all the information you need about your prospective schools well enough in advance. Some questions you might want to make sure you can answer are listed below.
- Does the school in question accept superscores at all? If so, do they adhere to version one or two, or have their own unique process?
- How important are SAT test scores in the context of your whole application packet? Are your test scores a big priority for the school, or do they look more at other parts of your application?
- What is the timeline? Do you have application deadlines, or deadlines to qualify for aid or scholarships? Make sure you finish and submit all necessary scores prior to these dates.
- What is the minimum score you need to get to be considered for any opportunities you want (if any) or for admission? Does your program prioritize your performance on a certain section, or do they look only at the SAT composite score?
Example Schools that Superscore the SAT
If you’re looking for schools that superscore, you’re in luck, because a bunch of them do! Below are just a few examples of schools that, at the time of this writing, look at your highest scores by section, rather than by test date. If you want to apply to any of them, make sure you reach out to make sure you understand their full application process and their criteria at the time you choose to apply, in case any of it changes.
Adelphi University has been educating students in the New York City region since it was founded in 1863. At the time, it was founded as a prep school, Adelphi Academy. In the years that followed, it evolved to meet the needs of its students, until it became the Adelphi University we know and love in 1963. The main campus is located in Garden City, on Long Island, though they also boast a number of online classes and programs, which could be useful students who may not live in the area, need flexibility or don’t particularly want to relocate.
Adelphi has been recognized for its quality many times over the years, including 2017 and 2018. For example, US News & World Report listed Adelphi among the best national universities, business programs, and high school counselor rankings lists for 2018, and the Princeton Review named them as among the best northeastern universities. The online bachelors programs, and graduate programs were also recognized by US News & World Report.
American University, founded in 1893, offers both undergraduate and graduate programs, both on its campus in Washington DC, and online. AU leverages their location in DC to offer students unique educational experiences, from their renowned faculty, to guest speakers, and even internship opportunities. They also boast a strong study abroad program, an active campus life, and a campus culture that is welcoming to students from all backgrounds and a variety of lifestyles. And if you’re interested in sports, AU also has the honor of being a NCAA Division I school!
American University is consistently recognized by a variety of organizations for the educational opportunities they offer. For example, US News & World Report listed AU among the best national universities, best colleges for veterans, best value schools, business programs, best online business programs and MBA programs, and a swath of graduate school rankings. Similarly, the Princeton Review named AU among the best 382 colleges, best northeastern colleges, green colleges, best college cities, and more.
Boston University’s current and prior faculty include Pulitzer Prize winners, Nobel Laureates, Fullbright Scholars, and more. As a result, students at Boston University know they might have the opportunity to learn from some of the best in their fields. They’re known for the research opportunities they offer undergrads and graduate students. Their graduate schools include Law, Management, Medicine, Engineering, and Education. BU offers both online and campus programs. They offered one of the first study abroad programs in the United States, and even now sponsor a variety of international programs. Best of all, since they have an average classroom size of 27 students, and 10:1 student faculty ratio, at BU you could get the personal attention you need to thrive.
Boston University was ranked several times for 2018 in US News & World Report. Categories of recognition include national universities, colleges for veterans, best values schools, high school counselor rankings, business programs, and undergraduate engineering programs. They were also recognized among the best global universities, as well as for their graduate programs. They were listed by the Princeton Review as among the Best 382 Colleges, Best Northeastern Colleges, Colleges That Pay You Back, Green Colleges, and more.
Brandeis University is a private research university in Waltham, MA. Despite its distinct nonsectarian nature, Brandeis has roots in Jewish culture, tradition and values. In fact, the school was named for Louis Dembitz Brandeis, who was the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice. They offer more than 43 major degree programs, at the undergraduate and graduate level, and is a member of the Boston Consortium, which allows students to enroll in courses at a variety of institutions in the Boston region. Alumni and faculty of Brandeis include a Nobel Prize winner, a Fields Medal recipient, two Pulitzer Prize winners, Olympic medalists, authors, actors, musicians, politicians, and more.
US News & World Report recognized Brandeis University in 2018 in several categories. These include best national universities, best social policy graduate programs, best global universities, and more. The Princeton Review included Brandeis on their lists for schools most engaged in community service, best northeastern colleges, green colleges, and more.
California State Northridge
California State University Northridge—also referred to as Cal State Northridge, or even CSUN—is one of the largest schools in the California State University system in terms of student enrollment. They offer 134 options for bachelors and masters degrees, as well as three different doctoral programs. It’s even the home of the national center on Deafness. CSUN was originally founded in 1952 as a satellite campus to what is now known as California State University Los Angeles, and became known by its current name in 1972.
Cal State Northridge was ranked in multiple categories by US News & World Report for 2018. Those categories included Regional Universities West, Top Public Schools, Engineering Programs (no doctorate), and Business Programs.
Founded in 1906, Eastern Kentucky University is a rural university, offering a student-faculty ratio of 16:1, and more than 108 degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. EKU also maintains branch campus locations in six cities throughout Kentucky, as well as 40 online programs. Their degrees are administered through six colleges: The College of Business and Technology, College of Education, College of Health Sciences, College of Justice and Safety, College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences; and College of Science.
In 2018, US News and World Report ranked Eastern Kentucky University among Regional Universities South, and Top Public Schools. Additionally, The Princeton Review ranked them among the Top 50 Undergraduate Schools for Video Game Design.
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Founded in 1942, Fairleigh Dickinson University, or FDU, is one of the largest private universities in New Jersey. They offer more than one hundred undergraduate and graduate degree programs. In addition to their two New Jersey campuses and online programs, FDU has two international locations, in Vancouver, BC, Canada; and Oxfordshire, England. They also offer courses at a variety of off-campus sites, working to make higher education a possibility for as many people as possible. They serve more than eleven thousand full and part time students from all around the world.
FDU was ranked by US News & World Report in several categories, including Regional Universities North, Best Colleges for Veterans, Best Value Schools, Business Programs, and Engineering Programs (no-doctorate). Additionally, the AACSB-accredited Silberman College of Business was ranked among the best business schools by The Princeton Review.
Apply to Schools That Take The SAT Superscore
These are only a few examples of schools that superscore the SAT. If you’re not sure what this entails, or want to find out if a school accepts SAT superscores, then reach out to that school’s admissions office to find out more. You can find schools to attend, right here on eLearners! Either fill out the form to get matched, or use the menu to navigate to your desired degree and area of study.