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the SAT and ACT middle 50% ranges

giselegisele Registered User Posts: 101 Junior Member
okay, ive noticed something kind of weird. for a lot of the colleges that i am looking at, I look at the middle 50% of the score ranges for the SAT and the ACT. personally, my SAT score is higher than my ACT score (but not by a lot) I have found that my ACT score puts me higher in the 50% range than my SAT score does. For example:

at UChicago, the range for the SAT is 1380-1500 and the range for the ACT is 28-32.
I have a 1390 and a 30 (SAT and ACT, respectively)

i guess my question is why is my theoretically lower ACT score higher in the 50% range than my SAT score is??
Post edited by gisele on

Replies to: the SAT and ACT middle 50% ranges

  • admanrichadmanrich Registered User Posts: 425 Member
    Less people submit the ACT, and I guess they accepted people with lower ACT scores.
  • iljets10iljets10 Registered User Posts: 541 Member
    Athletes oftentimes take the ACT in place of the SAT at some schools.
  • CharchazwickCharchazwick Registered User Posts: 389 Member
    If I had it to do over again, I would take the ACT only. It's so much easier than the SAT and colleges give it the same weight.
  • hfordhford Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    I'm going to be a senior this year, and I've only taken the ACT. So, will I still have a good chance to get into college if I don't take the SAT?
  • DianeRDianeR Registered User Posts: 1,541 Senior Member
    Hard to say about the percentiles. I don't know how many people submit the ACT to UChicago -- it IS in the midwest after all.

    It could be that it is fewer people submitting the ACT at some schools. I have heard the athletes thing before, but I've never seen any documentation of it nor can I think of any reason that athletes would necessarily do better on that test. (The NCAA Clearinghouse, even though it is located on a street named something like ACT Drive, does take the SAT.) Or it could be that schools have developed their own conversion charts, or solid ACT scores are correlated with higher grades than theoretically higher SAT scores. Or people who are willing to do the unusual (like submit the ACT at some places) are also the type who demonstrate something attractive elsewhere in their applications and so get accepted. Or maybe some adcomms harbor a secret preference for the ACT (mentioned at http://www.math.com/students/kaplan/satoract.html). There are probably some other possibilities that don't occur to me right now.

    I'm not sure anyone could tell you for sure!
  • DianeRDianeR Registered User Posts: 1,541 Senior Member
    Oh, I meant to reply to you, too, hford. Yes, you can get into college without the SAT. (For instance, my daughter didn't take the SAT even though we are in SAT country; she was accepted at Brown, UChicago, and UNC Chapel Hill [OOS], as well as her safety U Missouri - Columbia [which grants admission to anyone scoring at least 24].) Of name schools, the only one that doesn't take the ACT that I know of is Harvey Mudd. Check out potential colleges' web sites to make sure. (I've debated the SAT/ACT thing for years -- Harvey Mudd is the only school that has been mentioned as solely SAT that is still that way. The other places have changed their policies. So if you go to that Kaplan link I posted in message #6 -- don't pay attention to that "the majority of schools" take both tests point. The link itself is several years old and I've seen a number of schools change policies in the intervening years ...)
  • drusbadrusba Registered User Posts: 9,030 Senior Member
    There are two reasons the ACT range appears lower than the SAT range. First, you are making the mistake of relying on conversion tables you find on-line which many colleges do not follow. All those conversion tables you find on-line are derived from the College Board's conversion table that it has on-line. That conversion table is outdated (and thus all the others you find are too). It is based on test scores of students in the Southeast who took both tests in 1994 to 1996. It compared percentile rankings of the scores for the two tests at that time. Though some colleges still rely on that College Board coversion table, many colleges today create their own conversion tables that rely on more modern data as to test scores and percentile rankings from the last few years and that data shows that the old coversion table is off anywhere from 20 to 60 SAT points per comparison and any particular ACT score is now closer to a higher SAT score than it was in 1994-96.

    Second, the SAT range also tends to be a little higher than the ACT because majority of colleges take highest subscores from multiple SAT tests to get your composite and for the ACT they consider only that test with the highest composite and don't mix and match subscores from multiple tests.
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