Should D16 retake a 33 composite?

D16 just got her ACT scores back and got a 33 composite which is a great score! But, she wants to apply to HMC ED2 and her math score was 30. She ran out of time on the math section and had to bubble the last 3 questions randomly. On her practice tests, she was getting 32-34 on the math sections.

This was her second time taking the ACT. First time, last December, she had a 30 composite and a 26 math. She’s an excellent math student, but several of the math concepts on the ACT weren’t taught in school until this spring (after her first ACT). We’re in Canada and the math sequence is significantly different than in the US.

Should she retake to get the math score up? Does she have any chance at HMC with a 30 math?

If she has plenty of time to take the test, and apply EA/ED, then I would say retake it. A 33 is a great score, but if you think she can do better, and be able to apply to colleges early, I would retake.

I think for HMC she should probably work to get the math score up. Here is this year’s admit info (unfortunately, they don’t break out ACT Math for you, but you can compare with SAT Math).

Standardized Tests (Middle 50%):

SAT Critical Reading: 690-790
SAT Math: 740-800
SAT Writing: 690-780
SAT Math II: 760-800
ACT Composite: 33-35

She should retake the ACT only if she believes she can score higher, which it sounds like she can. I only realized this after applying to colleges, but if you look at the counselor section of a college’s website, it gives a somewhat more accurate reflection of what the college is actually looking for. It seems like grades and courses taken matter most at Mudd, followed by essays, then extracurriculars, with test scores as the least-valuable part of an application.

Counselor Page:

Thanks for the link @randomnumber53. I didn’t know about counselor pages before. I’m off to read that now.

Thanks to @ClaremontMom and @ChiefMonger too. D16’s school doesn’t have college counseling and her guidance counselor is responsible for 500 students and doesn’t really know about admissions to US colleges and universities, so I’m trying to figure this all out myself with the help of CC.

They say this… but honestly, they can afford to be super picky because they get so many applicants, and most students admitted DO have very high test scores unless they have some other hook. I’d retake. But even if she doesn’t manage to bring her score up, she should still apply. I don’t hear about tons of Canadians applying to Mudd (although I am sure there are some), as a female and from a country where they don’t get a lot of applicants, she might have a slightly improved chance of admission, at least over some other international applicants.

We went on the HMC tour and info session last year. It was my favourite info session because the person leading it was very direct with regards to test scores. She said that as long as the scores were 700 and up, then they were fine. An ACT of 30 on the math section is equivalent to 680 on the concordance tables. Uggh.

@intparent She will most likely apply. She is a dual US/Canadian citizen, so although her address and high school are international, she is not. The last FAQ on HMC’s website says that they like US citizens from abroad. Maybe it will help that Maria Klawe is Canadian too?

Every little bit helps. :). What are her subject test scores? A very high Math II score could help, too.

No subject test scores yet. Precalculus is a 12th grade subject in Canada. Both precalc and calculus are taught in 12th grade. She’ll finish precalculus in January. Biology, chemistry and physics are taught over 2 years (11th and 12th grades). She was scheduled to take the Bio subject test in June, but she didn’t have time to prep and the one practice test she managed to find time for was disappointing. She would have had to learn all of molecular biology. They’ve only learned environmental and a little anatomy so far.

She’s at a month-long summer program in tech and entrepreneurship right now. We’ll see if that lights her fire for that type of career or turns her off. She will have over 5 weeks in August to finalize her college list, start working on applications and study for the Subject tests. She’s scheduled to take subject tests in October, but we’re probably going to leave Math 2 for the last possible date, so that she can get as much instruction and practice in as possible.

Yes… although then there is no time for a retest if she isn’t happy with her scores, too. My kid struggled to get a good score on Bio – there is SO much material, and so many kids take it. She ended up with better scores on Lit, which is fairly easy to prep for. If your kid is good at reading and English (which I am guessing she may be, given her overall ACT score with the 30 on math), she might consider that one. They don’t assume you have read specific literature, but you do need to be familiar with the various types of lit, poetry, etc. But that is pretty easily studied from a prep book, just a small amount of memorization compared to something like Bio. And Mudd does like kids with an interest in STEM and in other subjects.

I agree with you @intparent. It’s a risk. I’ll be discussing timing of tests, which subject tests to take and whether to retake the ACT with D16 in August, so the timing isn’t set in stone.

D16 had sooo many things going on with her extracurriculars, final exams and the June ACT that I didn’t want to overload her with a discussion about about all of this before she went to her summer program. I had told her that if she got a 33, she was done with the ACT. I figured a 33 composite should include a higher math score.

Both the June subject test date and the ACT test date were right in the middle of her school finals. She did a practice bio test the weekend before the subject test date. Did poorly on that, so then she tried a practice lit test a couple of days later, the Tuesday before the test date. Both practice tests were with no prep. Although she got a much higher score on the Lit test than the Bio practice test, both were below 700, so we decided to wait until the fall.

There are so many moving parts with the applications, a lot of tests, application strategies, application essays, it’s a little overwhelming for both of us. I’m trying to handle the logistics of test dates and whether or not to retest myself so that she doesn’t get overwhelmed. She’s always been somewhat indecisive, so I’m trying to lessen the number of decisions she has to make herself and give her more direction.