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Question about reporting multiple ACT scores

chardonMNchardonMN Registered User Posts: 25 Junior Member

My child got a disappointing ACT score but with a 10 in writing. He and we are fairly optimistic that he can improve the ACT score, and he is studying now for a retake. When speaking with GC, we were told he should not retake the writing section. GC train of thought was that yes, he would have to report the disappointing ACT score in order to report the writing, but that colleges would look at the highest of the ACTs reported and not really worry about or consider the lower score.

Of course, there is no guarantee that the score will go up. But I was a little surprised by this advice, as the ACT tutor had advised us to sign up for writing again.

Likely will be targeting mostly LACs but still formulating a list.


Replies to: Question about reporting multiple ACT scores

  • drusbadrusba Registered User Posts: 9,536 Senior Member
    edited March 13
    The suggestion of the GC, which is based on the general rule that colleges use the highest test scores when multiple tests are submitted, assumes (a) the college will actually use the test without the essay to determine admission, and (b) it will also use the the 10 essay score in the first test. It actually depends on college:

    1. For a large number of colleges, (b) is wrong simply because they do not use the essay score at all to determine admission, but taking the test without the essay would, obviously, be fine.

    2. There a number of colleges that require the essay. Some of those may do what the GC suggests and use the higher scores from both tests. However, some of those will not even use a test without the essay to determine admission, even though you submit another one with the essay. It is thus for those for which the GC's advice could be deadly if followed. Moreover, those colleges seldom put on their websites what they will actually do if you submit a test without the essay and another with the essay, so you would need to actually contact them and find out the answer.

    3. There are a number of colleges that "recommend" but do not require the essay. Many of those that now "recommend" the test are ones that previously required it, including a number of high ranks.Those would definitely use the test without essay if it had the higher scores, but that does not necessarily mean they will consider the 10 score from the other test, i.e., some will use the combination of tests but others will use only the test with the highest composite; thus the issue there becomes whether the essay is of any real importance and that is often an unknown.

    4. There are a number of colleges that neither require nor recommend the essay but will "consider" the essay if submitted, or state that it is "optional." For those, you should be safe in taking the test without essay even if they will not use the second test with essay, because the essay likely has little bearing on admisision even if it might be considered.
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