This means that if a student takes either test multiple times, the college promises to take only the highest individual section scores and use them for making admissions decisions.
Colleges that superscore the SAT only consider the highest Critical Reading, Math, and/or Writing scores across all test dates (for the ACT, the practice is less common and slightly more complicated involving four different subscores: English, Math, Reading, and Science).
Schools that superscore swear they never sneak a peek at lower test scores, even though they have been sent and are readily available in a student’s file. In fact, some colleges use enrollment management software that deftly picks out the highest scores from among those submitted and only provides those scores to application readers.
“When I read, I’m looking at the two or three digit scores. I don’t see how many times an applicant took the test and I don’t see all of their scores,” explains University of Virginia admissions dean Jeannine Lalonde ("Dean J"), in her admissions blog. “The application system shows me the right mix of scores to get the best possible combination.”
And be aware that colleges only report the highest subsection test results to third party organizations tracking data on applications and admissions. They, too, want to show only the best scores and score ranges to the public.
For this reason, colleges strongly encourage students to send all scores and not risk missing deadlines or underreporting their scores by using Score Choice—a policy permitting applicants to choose scores they send by seating. Note that virtually all colleges allow Score Choice and only a very few relatively selective schools—Stanford, Yale, Rice, Penn, Georgetown and Carnegie Mellon for example—don’t let you choose which scores to submit.
While most colleges superscore the SAT, a handful are very clear that they do not. A recent review by Cigus Vanni, school counselor at Cherry Hill High School West in New Jersey, uncovered almost 120 colleges and university systems that do not currently superscore.
The following is a sample of those schools that do not superscore the SAT:
Arizona State University
Boise State University
Bowling Green State University
Colorado State University
Kent State University
Louisiana State University
Middle Tennessee State University
Missouri State University
Ohio State University
Oregon State University
Pennsylvania State University (all branches)
Texas Woman’s University
University of Arizona
University of California university system
University of Houston
University of Minnesota (all branches)
University of Texas university system
University of the Ozarks
University of Utah
University of Wisconsin Madison
West Virginia University
And keep in mind that all admissions policies are subject to change each year. You should always consult with individual college websites for the most accurate and complete statement of how test results will be treated in the admissions process.