For the colleges that require ALL SAT scores, how badly will my lower March SAT score affect my chances?

I took the SAT last December and got 1510. Since I felt I underperformed, I signed up to take the SAT again in March.

Days leading up to the March test, I was contemplating whether to cancel my March test because I felt I wasn’t ready. However, I listened to my friend’s advice and took it because I was scoring around 1530-1560 in the 4 official tests the week before the test, and he told me colleges only care about my highest test scores, so there’s no risk in taking it.

Though I felt I didn’t do well during the test, my friend talked me out of canceling my score because there’s a chance that I’ll get a better score due to the curve, and there’s no risk in not canceling it. Yet, I ended up getting 1460 (20 and 30 points lower for English and Math) this time.

That would’ve been fine, but then I learned yesterday that some colleges require me to submit ALL my SAT scores, and this made me extremely frustrated, because I felt I made a horrible decision for not canceling the March test, as my lower 1460 will definitely hurt my chances to these schools that require all scores.

My questions are:

1. How big of an impact on my chances will my 1460 have on colleges that require all SAT scores, like UPenn and Georgetown? Did I ruin my chances of getting in to these schools for listening to his advice to take it and not cancel my score afterwards?
(My friend told me not to worry because my score on the common app is still going to be 1510, colleges will understand that I just had a bad test day, and getting lower scores doesn’t mean I’m a worse student, but I don’t quite believe him. If getting a lower score doesn’t matter at all, why would colleges want me to submit all scores??)

2. Should I take the SAT again in May/Aug/Oct and aim for 1550? I’ll make sure to spend A LOT of time studying for it this time.
(I took an SAT in 9th grade for really no reason, and I got 1340, so I’ve already taken 3 SATs. Since one shouldn’t take the SAT more than 3-4 times, my next one has to be my last one, and that gives me extra stress…)

3. Honestly, even with the extra studying, I’m not 100% confident that I’ll do well. If I somehow score below 1510 again, how badly will my SATs impact my chances then?
(If getting a lower score next time will further hurt my chances, I may not want to take it again…)

At this point, I feel like I am going to have a mental breakdown because the wrong decision to take the SAT in March hurt my chances of getting in to my dream schools, even if the impact is small… With acceptance rates being single digits for so many schools, a small impact will have a huge impact, and I can’t risk doing anything wrong.

Anyway, sorry for the long post, but thanks in advance for your advice.

I just got admitted to Georgetown and had a similar situation
I took the ACT

in my April test I got a
30 English
36 Math
33 Reading
31 Science

In my June test
31 English
31 Reading
32 Math
33 Science

My superscore remained a 33.

I was worried that the 4 point dip in Math would be bad, but honestly I think they just want to see the highest scores.

If you have the time I would definitely do the SAT again, I would have but I had no time, Good Luck!

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Thanks for sharing your experience. That’s very assuring!

Say if your composite scores were 33, 31, and 30, do you think colleges will think your ACT score range is 30-33ish (with your 33 being your “lucky” test and your upper bound score), whereas if you stopped after 33, maybe they’ll think your score range is 31-35ish (giving you the benefit of the doubt of +/-2), so it’s slightly better?

Are you sure UPenn requires all scores? This is straight from its website:

To ensure accurate super scoring (taking the highest composite score across multiple sittings), we recommend that you self-report each test you have taken to select the highest score in each section.

Testing | Penn Admissions


I originally found a blog post from P***Scholar with all colleges that require all scores. UPenn’s policy is really confusing because on the same page that you linked, it also says the following, in which I assume “encourage” means “I should” or “it’s better to”:

  • Score Choice: Although we permit Score Choice, we encourage students to submit their entire testing history for both ACT and SAT exams.

I haven’t finalized my college list yet, so I’m not 100% sure if I’ll be applying to Penn, but I see there are quite a lot of schools that I’m considering, like Barnard, Cornell, Yale, Rice, Texas A&M, etc. I stopped reading the entire list half way through because the more I see schools on the list, the more I want to cry…

Go straight to each college’s website for direction on reporting standardized testing, don’t use third party websites.

Georgetown is clear about needing to send all tests.

For Penn, and schools with similar wording re: standardized testing ‘encouraged to send all results’, no need to send/self report all tests. Good luck.

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I believe the only school left that is requiring all scores is Georgetown. Cornell dropped that policy a few cycles ago.

Many schools will continue to be test blind next cycle too.

The best thing you can do is have a well balanced list of schools to apply to. The reaches would still be reaches even if you scored a 1600.


1510 is a great score. By retaking, you run the risk of getting another lower score. The problem is that at that level, you only need to get one or two more wrong and it affects your score disproportionately.

I once read an article stating that 40% of top scorers will do worse on subsequent tests. And if you do worse, you’re creating a bigger problem if you are bound and determined to apply to Georgetown. It’s not worth the risk. Believe me, your already good score isn’t going to be what makes the difference.


And, the most obvious point in this whole story:

Why are you still listening to your friend??

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Also, who are you? b/c the person who started @nicolessanta08 posted about transferring colleges back in 2014. Now you are a HS junior. You have to post as yourself, not your friend/neighbor/big sister/etc

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