Send a 32 ACT score?

Hello all,

I was deferred from Pomona in EDI back in December. Following that, I decided to do the Feb ACT as a way to add more evidence to my application. I scored a 32, which was literally a point (ok… maybe two points) lower than I wanted. What is so frustrating is that I got a 35 on Math and English, but a 28 and 31 on Science and Reading, respectively.

This was my first attempt at the SAT/ACT. (I tried doing the SAT three times in 2021, but all were cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.) Normally, I would just try the ACT again for a better superscore, but that is not an option.

My question is, do I submit this score despite it being on the edge?

A little more context:

  • I was an A/A- student in HS, but averaged B in my junior year. I did the IB Diploma.
  • I’m from NZL, which was COVID-free until the end of last year so we don’t really have a reason not to do tests.

Since getting deferred, I’ve been able to send Pomona extra info:

  • My final IB score was a 40. Good, but considering grade inflation in the IB, I think a 40 is the new 36-38.
  • A note that I’ve completed a few courses on coursera for computer science (which I want to study, but wasn’t able to in HS).
  • I’m considering an additional recommendation letter (I accidentally had three written for me because my counsellor was… not on top of things).

So, with all that extra information, will a 32 ACT hurt, harm, or do nothing.

Colleges that I’ve applied to and where I can’t decide if I send scores:

  • Pomona College [2024 middle 50% was 32-35, 2025 median was 34]
  • UChicago [2025 middle 50% was 33-35]

This isn’t a chance me. I just want people’s informed opinions about what they would do given my profile. I’ve done my own research but I feel that I have succumbed to confirmation bias. I don’t want all that time spent studying to go to waste.

Please help.

Have you tried the Collegevine chancing simulator? While its advice might not be 100% accurate, the Collegevine chancing simulator can give pretty sound advice on whether or not to submit scores based on past statistics of the school.

Personally, I think you should submit the score. In my opinion (as a fellow IB student), a 32 in the ACT will give more evidence to your academic skills and support your IB score.

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I would submit to Pomona but not to UChicago.

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I suggest you submit to both schools because of the relative importance of the English and math sections, on which you performed superbly.

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Agree with merc81: submit!

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I would also submit, to both schools.

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This past fall during a webinar a Pomona AO suggested that “you should try to stack as many positives in your application as possible,” and while she would not directly give a threshold for when to report scores, she did broadly suggest that applicants look at the mid-50 range of the current students at the colleges they are applying to. For the current first-years at Pomona, that would be: Composite 33/35; Math 31/35; English 34/36. For the current class, 29% reported ACT scores and 37% reported SATs.

Yes, this is all accurate … and U Chicago’s average accepted scores are even higher. However U Chicago is one of the colleges that pioneered TO test optional admissions. They are used to reviewing applications TO. Pomona and most other T20-30 colleges are not used to reviewing applications TO. It is new to them.

IB.alum, that is why I recommend submitting to Pomona (even though you are not hitting the 50th percentile) but not submitting to U Chicago, where you are even further away from the 50th percentile, but they are used to evaluating applications without test scores.

Even though your scores for Pomona are not optimal, I don’t think they are a deal breaker. I know multiple students accepted to Pomona in your range. U Chicago scores need to be even higher.

University of Chicago began full TO with the class of 2023, Pomona with the current class (2025). The composite of UofC current class is 33/35. It doesn’t publicly release its CDS so current class stats aren’t available for Math/English, but for the previous class it was (respectively): 31/35; 35/36. So, you’re in there for both schools on Math/English and slightly below on both for composite. But, both schools generally reject as many students with perfect scores as they admit, so scores aren’t everything for either.

You were asked on the Pomona specific part of the application whether you chose to have your test scores considered, and I’m guessing you answered “no.” I don’t know what they will think if you change your mind, but I do know that Pomona AOs have said that 1) they don’t defer many ED applicants, and 2) they generally defer because they want to see if a possible upward/downward trend is going to continue later in an applicant’s senior year. So, maybe they were concerned about your junior year, and wanted to see if you could pull things back up this year. My guess is that if you’ve demonstrated that, the test scores might not make any difference one way or the other - but congratulations, because they are very good! (And, I might lean towards updating them both).

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Just posting here if anyone reads this in the future. UChicago put me in the WL (and never took me off) and Pomona rejected me. I don’t think giving them my scores helped or hurt me. Other schools on their level gave me similar decisions without knowing my ACT score. For example, I didn’t send my scores to Haverford and Cornell and they put me on the WL and rejected me, respectively. My piece of advice to any future applicants would be: send your scores if they meaningfully boost your overall academic stats. If they reflect a similar level of achievement as your other stats, like mine did, consider not submitting. Test scores represent two hours of work, while your HS grades represent 1000s of hours of work. You might want some type of standardization in your apps, but APs, IB achieve this. Don’t let your urge to make your application file thicker undermine its quality. The SAT/ACT is meant to be short and simple to make it accessible and ultimately promote meritocracy, but the tests have been over-emphasized and gamed, so they’ve lost some weight (especially for ppl who were in the privileged position to take good HS courses and get ACT resources, like I was).

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