Should I send multiple ACT scores to colleges?

ACT scores play a pivotal role in deciding the chances of you getting admission or scholarships. Hence most students take multiple tests to get the best scores. However deciding which and how many scores to be sent needs to be a wise decision because it can make or break the deal. In this article we shall see Should I send multiple ACT scores to colleges?

Some colleges mandatorily ask you to submit all your ACT scores. In colleges where you have the choice to select the number of test scores to send you should check the score reviewing criteria. If the college just takes one best score into consideration then send just that. If the college makes a ‘super-score’ while reviewing then sending multiple scores can be beneficial.

Should I send multiple ACT scores to colleges?

College Requirement

Before deciding how many scores to be sent you need to check the requirements of your prospective college. Three types of conditions are possible:-

  1. The college mandatorily asks you to submit all your test scores: In this case you don’t have any choice and you need to send all your scores, however the way they review your score can still differ from college to college.
  2. You can choose which and how many scores to send: Here you take into consideration the college policy of reviewing the score (which would be discussed below) and then decide.
  3. It is not mandatory to send ACT scores: Very few colleges have this option where sending ACT scores is optional, however 90% of students still choose to send the scores. You can send your best score in this case.

Score Reviewing Policy

When you submit multiple scores, the way your scores are taken into consideration can vary to a large extent from college to college. The most frequently used policies are discussed below however in order to understand the specific policy and requirements of your prospective college it is advised to check their website and get further clarifications through email or call.

  • Best Score: Out of the multiple scores some colleges simply select your highest composite score. You should check the college policy beforehand and just send the highest score to these colleges (if it is not mandatory to send all scores).
  • Super Score: The best score from every section is selected from all test scores submitted, then a composite score is made from the selected scores. The final score is called a super score. 

For example consider that you have taken 3 exams then the super score will be calculated in the following way:-

Attempt 13230323432
Attempt 23131332931
Attempt 32633303130
Super score3233333433

The super score in the above example is 33 which in this case is higher than the individual scores. You can also make an estimate of your super score and if you think that it will be higher than your highest individual test score then you should send multiple scores to colleges who take super scores into consideration.

  • Best scores and speculation from other scores: Some colleges give most weightage to the highest score but also make speculations from other scores submitted. If there is a particular trend going in your scores they note it and take their decision on the basis of it for instance in the above example  a trend of consistent scores in the range of 30-33 can be seen in Math and Reading sections. Thus the student seems to have a good command over them.

When your prospective college has this type of policy and it gives you the choice of sending as many scores as you want then you can choose to send best 2-3 scores and avoid sending the test scores in which you performed poorly.


Remember that you can only choose which and how many test scores to send when the college has not made it mandatory to send all scores. Confirm and clarify the specific requirements and score reviewing policies of your prospective colleges before deciding the number of scores to be sent and choose accordingly.

Frequently asked Questions

Q.) If I think the college will select only the best score, is it okay for me to take an ACT exam just for practice without much preparation?

Ans.) Don’t blow off any of your ACT attempts. Try to give your best because most colleges will take other scores into consideration even when they give more weightage to the best score. For example if your composite scores in different attempts have been 30, 25, 32 then your low score 25 will have a slight effect on the overall value of your application.

Q.) How many times should you take the ACT?

Ans.) It is most appropriate to get high scores in the lowest number of attempts possible. On average taking the ACT 3-4 times is fine. However, try not to take it more than 6 times. Taking the exam multiple times shows a lack of confidence in yourself and colleges can make speculation that it was very difficult for you to get a good score. Especially colleges who ask for all test scores are more likely to make such speculations because they will look at all your attempts. Not to mention it will be very expensive and time consuming to take so many tests. So work hard on your preparation and try to score highest in the minimum number of attempts.

Q.) How can you send multiple scores?

Ans.) You can login to your account on the ACT website and choose the scores you want to send to selected colleges. You can also do this by filling an ‘order form’ to send these test scores. However ACT will charge some fee if you are using this method to send the scores.

Q.) Should I not send scores using ACT’s 4 free reports?

Ans.) ACT allows you to send free reports to 4 colleges however you need to fill the form for it while registering for your exam. This is a cost effective way but if you send scores using this method then you will not be able to see the scores before they are sent to college and even if they are not that great they will be sent. You will not have the option of choosing which scores to send.

Q.) If I get my ACT scores after the application deadline, should I send them?

Ans.) It is always advised to send the scores even if they are late. Although there is a chance that they will not be considered as your application might have been viewed before you send the scores. But there is also a chance that it hasn’t been viewed yet and the college might take scores into consideration. Some colleges might keep your application on hold and wait for the scores if the rest of your application is impressive while if your application is not up to the mark the college might reject it without looking at late scores.