Do Your Scores Matter Less to Universities than Before?

Chelsea Gates

As March approaches, students are scrambling to prepare themselves for the ACT, hoping to get a high score. They take practice tests, ask teachers to cover test material in class, and study for weeks. Some have already taken the test, or are retaking certain sections in order to take advantage of the recently instituted “superscore” concept, in which the ACT averages the best attempts out of all four sections out of all attempts. Others, such as a significant portion of the junior class, are taking the test for the first time. 

Students have always been told that the ACT is a dealbreaker. If a student gets a bad score, they can say goodbye to getting into a decent college or university. If they get a good score, their chances of getting into said school are increased significantly by how high they scored.

However, recently, teachers, college professors/students, and recruiters have noted that admission test scoring is becoming less significant as time goes on. Some colleges and/or universities do not even require a student to provide scoring for the ACT or SAT. Recently, colleges and/or universities have been focusing more heavily on extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, class rank, and common app essays. Even simple things such as scheduling a college visit, talking with admission officers, or attending an enthusiastic interview can show recruiters how much you want the opportunity to attend, and make a good impression. 

Of course, overall GPA, grades in CP and AP courses, and test scores hold considerable importance to admission officers, so this information does not mean that students should be nonchalant about the ACT and SAT, but it does mean that getting an average or below average score on the tests is not going to be the end of the world or nullify your academic career. Colleges look for more than just test scoring, and will be favorable in considering other factors in terms of why it would or would not be beneficial to them to have you representing their campus or alumni.