To send or not send ACT scores? High English/reading, low math/science

Hi! My DD (senior) is applying as an English major to some LAC’s and some larger state universities. She has ACT of 33 and 34 reading and english score and Math 24 and Science 25.
ACT Composite of 29. She is just below the 25th percentile ACT at a few schools but fine for most.
Should she send her scores or would the low math and science just hurt her chances? Anyone have any experience with this? Thank you for any input, appreciate it!

25%ile? I would say…if test optional, do not submit.


I agree. Wherever that score is in the bottom 25%, she should not submit it. Even where it is below median, I would consider not submitting it.

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Lots of factors to consider. If she plans to major in English, she wants the schools to see those nice English/Reading scores, and depending upon the school, they might not heavily weigh the low math/science scores.

If the student is an under-represented minority, err on the side of sending scores that are below the median, but probably not below 25th%. If the student is White or Asian, err on the side of not sending, assuming that their other achievements look good.

Sounds like my kid.

How selective are the colleges she is looking at? My D22 applied to all safeties and got in all of them with those scores. Actually her scores were even more divergent. Reading was a 36, English 32 and her Math scores were worse than your daughter’s. Her composite was a 28.

The schools she applied to were good-not-great, and great-not-excellent schools, and not super selective – like around 70%. Looking at the CDS for Agnes Scott, the school that I thought was her “reachiest” her ACT was 1 point above the 25th percentile.

So if you are looking at schools that are very selective, then I would say, maybe go test optional, but if you are looking at less selective schools and she wants to go into English I don’t think her scores will hurt her.

Also look at the Common Data Set and see how many kids submit scores. Sometimes it’s really low. If she has other ways on her app to demonstrate her skills in English (good GPA, extracurriculars, etc) then she may not need to use the ACT to show she does well in English-related endeavors.

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Sounds very similar! The super reach schools are William & Mary and University of Richmond,
Target schools (according to naviance) are Furman, Dickinson, Wofford, Elon. She does have some good safety schools like Auburn, UT Knoxville, Belmont University, Indiana. She has a 4.4 weighted and 3.8 unweighted. Excellent English grades and 5’s on AP English and History. Doing the Pre-law program at high school. so we’re thinking schools with 70% are almost safety schools, but maybe we are wrong. Hard to know.

I would definitely go test optional at William and Mary and Richmond.
Dickinson is test blind.
I don’t know about the rest.

My D had almost the same, 35 in reading, 33 in english, 27 in science and I think a 24 in Math. Her composite I think was a 30. She applied as a journalism major and sent them to all schools. She got into all of them but none were as selective as W & M and Richmond. She attends Elon but also got into Fordham, Dickinson, American, Loyola Marymount, Hobart, Catholic, Gettysburg, and several others. Her UW GPA was also a 3.8 but her weighted was lower than your daughter’s. EC’s were pretty minimal. This was in 2020.

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Are W&M and Richmond where she is just below the 25th percentile? I would think maybe skip submitting there. Since she’s got a 5 on the AP English and APUSH tests that demonstrates her strengths in those subjects w/o also pointing out her weaknesses in math and science.

I’m thinking maybe go test optional although I would guess the score would not hurt her at Elon, etc, but you can look it up on their Common Data Sets.

I think her chances are excellent at Elon, etc.

My D21 had very similar scores, she had a 36/34 english/reading and then 24s in science/math with a 29 composite. She applied as a political science/international studies major and submitted her scores everywhere including LACs (Kenyon, Oberlin, College of Wooster, Denison, Macalester, St. Olaf). She was accepted everywhere except Macalester, where she was waitlisted. She got very nice merit offers from all the schools.

I think your daughter has excellent stats and I can’t say for sure, but I wondered if bc my daughter wasn’t pursuing anything STEM related, that those scores were not really factored in.

Good luck!

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As an English major, the English test scores + her English writing potential as shown through her essays, I believe, will be the key, not the science and math scores.

It’s just like the opposite at tech/geek/Einstein-however you call them schools. They’ll look heavy on the math and science, overlook poor English scores.

So if the tests are high in the desired major, sure!

My D23 had similar ACT scores and she went test optional on the schools (three of them) where she wasn’t in their middle 50%. Two of the three were reach schools, but the program she is applying to at the 3rd school likely has higher average scores than the school as a whole. So, even though she was in the middle 50% there as a whole, she didn’t submit her scores.

Definitely submit scores at Wofford as their range is 27-30, they also tend to favor kids with high Reading and English scores, and really minimize the Science portion anyway. They tend to be pretty generous with merit aid, too with your daughters scores.