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34 first try, retake?

Justin321Justin321 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
I took the ACT for the first time without really studying very much and was expecting around a 30, but my scores were

English 34
Math 32
Science 33
Reading 35
This gave me a composite of 33.5 which luckily gets rounded to a 34.

I feel like this is probably about as good as I can do on the test as a whole and it is a good enough score to get into any university I am looking at, but I want to get a full scholarship somewhere and I am involved in leadership and other activities so it's not impossible. Anyways, they offer a free ACT at my high school and I don't really want to take it and I feel like I have no chance of scoring any better, but everyone is telling me I should because most people score higher second time, and I just really don't want to get a lower score, so what do you all think is the best option?
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Replies to: 34 first try, retake?

  • LoveTheBardLoveTheBard Registered User Posts: 2,051 Senior Member
    A 34 is a fine score. I personally would be one and done. Where does a 34 put you percentile-wise for the schools that you are looking at?
  • Justin321Justin321 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    I'm not sure how to find the percentile of my school (I am looking at going to Lipscomb, a private Christian college), but the most prestigious college I'm touring is Vanderbilt which a 34 would put me right in the middle of the pack there.
  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff Registered User Posts: 2,446 Senior Member
    This question comes up a lot. If you got a 34 without really studying then what score could you get if you really studied for it? 35 might be a good amount of merit money at certain colleges. See if that makes for your situation. Most schools website will give you the information your looking for.
  • NEPatsGirlNEPatsGirl Registered User Posts: 2,877 Senior Member
    I'd suggest you try again,there are many merit scholarships out there that increase with with higher scores (obv). I'd study a bit for the Math and see if you can increase that a bit. Hey, its about ten hours out of your life and could save you thousands, why not?
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 4,573 Senior Member
    I’m in the one and done camp with a 34. Focus on the rest of your application.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 6,247 Senior Member
    edited March 5
    Have you taken the SAT ?

    With respect to retaking the ACT, it depends upon how much you can improve your math score as that was the lowest score of any section.
  • Erin's DadErin's Dad Super Moderator Posts: 36,131 Super Moderator
    edited March 5
    To see what stats prior year admits had google Common Data Set <college name> and look at section C.
    https://ww2.lipscomb.edu/oie/upload/file/94546/cds_2017-2018 lipscomb.pdf
    https://virg.vanderbilt.edu/virgweb/CDSC.aspx?year=2018

    As far as retaking, my D2 had similar scores and when I asked her about whether she wanted to retake her response was "Why would I want to waste a Saturday morning when I have a perfectly good score already?"
  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 Registered User Posts: 1,180 Senior Member
    edited March 5
    Anyways, they offer a free ACT at my high school and I don't really want to take it and I feel like I have no chance of scoring any better,

    First, find out if your school administered ACT isna state graduation requirement. If so, you will have to take it again.

    If not, I wouldn't take it again unless you are merit hunting and/or applying to tippy top stem-y schools where your 32 in math is not competitive (less than 25%ile).
  • TheSATTeacherTheSATTeacher Registered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
    Of course you should take it again. You said that you got a 34 with very little studying, yet you think you have scored as highly as you can. I am not sure I follow this reasoning. It sounds like if you studied more you would do better. I would especially work on studying the math and science sections as these are your two weakest sections. Also, remember that colleges look at your individual section scores, not just your overall score.
  • CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 2,900 Senior Member
    I would take it again as most schools are allowing super scoring on the ACT now. It won't guarantee admission but for those schools that are score centric it will help to move it to a 35 or 36.
  • gamom2023gamom2023 Registered User Posts: 43 Junior Member
    It depends on the schools you're interested in applying to. If you absolutely know a higher ACT won't get you anymore merit $ at the schools you're applying to, it may not matter much. However, sometimes even one point makes a difference. I've seen some schools that have one category of merit for 33-34 and a higher $ amount for 35-36. My DS didn't study the first time and did quite well. He didn't really want to take it the second time because he was focusing more on the SAT, but DH and I insisted. He ended up with a 35 without really studying more. It opened up opportunities for him, and he was quite happy we insisted he do it again. :-) So, I think you should definitely try again.
  • rickle1rickle1 Registered User Posts: 1,402 Senior Member
    Vandy is a very "score centric" school. 34 is a GREAT score! That said, there will be tons of 34s, 35s, and 36s applying to Vandy. If the rest of your application is great, you'll be quite competitive. However, they decline kids with perfect scores so there's that. Merit at Vandy is hyper competitive. I would try for a 35 / 36 to be as competitive as possible. I wouldn't take it again simply for admissions purposes as the 34 is great. For admissions, make sure the rest of you is great!
  • RW1RW1 Registered User Posts: 117 Junior Member
    Question: What are you doing with your time?
    If your looking at Vandy you either need to be fully engaged in something that limits your time for studying and or retakes or you need to be studying to get a higher score and seriously considering getting fully invested in some "spike" EC. If your a soph, I would spend some serious time studying prior to beginning of next year and the PSAT( which now closely mimics ACT performance) which could unlock full rides to many great schools.
  • Justin321Justin321 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    I live in TN and almost no one I know here is taking the SAT if they're going in-state which I am almost definitely staying in state unless I just get an unbelievable offer somewhere else.
  • Justin321Justin321 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    I am not super seriously looking at Vandy. Schools that I am actually looking at are Lipscomb, University of Tennessee Knoxville, and University of Tennessee Chattanooga. I threw Vandy in as an example because I will probably apply since it's close to home and I would have at least some chance of getting in, but I am not all that invested in going to Vandy. Thanks for the tip about the PSAT though
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