Preparing for College

Submitting ACTs that are Lower Than SATs

Question: My daughter got a 730V, 760M on her last SAT I, which has been sent to the colleges she's applying to. We just got her ACT score, which is a 32. (English 30, Math 30, Reading 33, Science 36). Would it help or hurt to have the ACT score also sent to the colleges? The correspondence tables show a 32 equivalent to an SAT I combined score of 1420, which is lower than the 1490 she got earlier this fall.

You are right to observe that your daughter’s ACT composite is somewhat below her SAT combined score on the concordance charts. Ordinarily, we might suggest that there’s really no reason to send those ACT scores to colleges, but what jumps out at us is how well your daughter did on the science portion of the test. Has she taken SAT II Subject Tests in any sciences? If so, did she score above 750?

Our advice is this: if your daughter has already submitted an SAT II score in a science that is 750 or above, there isn’t any compelling reason to send her ACT scores to her target colleges. On the other hand, if she has not taken an SAT II test in any science field or if she received sub-750 scores, then we would recommend that you submit her ACT results.

A 32 may not compare with a 1490, but it’s nothing to sneeze at either. (The average ACT range at Stanford and Yale is 29 to 33; at Harvard it’s 30 to 34.) It would be a very good idea to make sure that colleges see your daughter’s strength in science standardized testing, which the SAT I doesn’t show at all.