test prep

How to Superscore ACT Scores

Written by: Kristine Thorndyke

While many schools take superscored ACT scores, it’s important to understand how the system works so that you can know what ACT score will be used in your college admissions. We’re going to show you how to superscore the ACT so that you can be sure of how you did on the test, sell off your used prep books, and move on with your life!

What is an ACT Superscore?

The ACT superscore is the aggregate of the top scores you received on each section of the ACT over the ACT tests you have taken to date. In case you’re new to the ACT, remember there are 4 sections, English, Math, Reading, and Science. Each of these sections is scored on a scale between 1-36 and each section added together and then averaged, which equals your composite score, which also falls between the range of 1-36.

What about the Optional Essay?

The essay is scored on a range of 2-12 and does not go into the averaged composite score or the superscored ACT. Understanding how to superscore ACT scores does not require any knowledge about the essay grading. Although the essay score does not go into your superscored ACT score, the quality is important and may be looked at by admissions officers. So be sure that you spend the time preparing for this optional portion of the ACT.

So.. How Do You Superscore ACT Scores?

If you’re wondering how to superscore ACT scores, it’s actually super easy and does not require much calculation besides basic addition and division. To superscore ACT scores, add your best section scores for the English, Math, Reading, and Science and then average these scores. Hopefully, now your superscore is higher than if you had just chosen the composite score of a single ACT test.

Let’s look at an example:

John took the ACT 3 times and here are his ACT scores by section:

[table id=15 /]

You can see by this graph, that his composite scores on each of his ACTs were all 30. But now that we take the highest individual scores among these 3 ACT tests:

32 for Math;

34 for Reading;

35 for Science;

35 for English

The superscoring would look like this equation:

(32+34+35+35) / 4 = 34

This is a pretty cool concept, that your superscored ACT score can be significantly higher than the composite score of all ACTs taken. If John applies to a school that superscores, his score in admissions would show 34. If the school that John applies to does not superscore the ACT, then his score would be 30.

Related: What to Do After High School [12 Ideas Besides College]

Do You Round the ACT Superscore?

Yes, the ACT superscore is rounded to the nearest whole number. If, for example, John’s composite score was 30.5, then this would round up to an ACT superscore of 31. This is simply the rule of rounding numbers to the nearest whole number. The same method applies if John’s composite score was 30.25. This would round down to an ACT score of 30.

What Schools Superscore the ACT?

Now that you know how to superscore the ACT, you’re probably wondering which schools accept the superscored ACT. Of course, finding a college that fits you is a huge factor as to whether you enjoy your four years at school, but also having a good understanding of what are going to be the most economic options is an important consideration as well. Here is a list of 150+ colleges and universities that currently superscore the ACT:

  1. Albion College
  2. Albright College
  3. Alfred University
  4. Allegheny College
  5. Amherst College
  6. Babson College
  7. Ball State University
  8. Bard College
  9. Baylor University
  10. Bates College
  11. Beloit College
  12. Bentley College
  13. Boston College
  14. Boston University
  15. Brandeis University
  16. Butler University
  17. California Institute of Technology
  18. California State University System (not UC system)
  19. California Polytechnic (Cal-Poly, San Luis Obispo)
  20. Champlain College
  21. Claremont-McKenna
  22. Clark University
  23. Colby College
  24. Colgate University
  25. Columbia University
  26. Colombia College (MO)
  27. Colorado College
  28. Connecticut College
  29. Cornell College
  30. Denison University
  31. DePauw University
  32. Dickinson College
  33. Drew University
  34. Drexel University
  35. Duke University
  36. Duquesne University
  37. Earlham College
  38. Eastman College of Music
  39. Embry-Riddle University
  40. Eckerd College
  41. Elon University
  42. Emerson College
  43. Florida Atlantic University
  44. Florida State University
  45. Franklin University (Switzerland)
  46. Furman University
  47. George Mason University
  48. Georgia Tech
  49. Gettysburg College
  50. Gonzaga University
  51. Goucher College
  52. Grinell College
  53. Hamilton College
  54. Hampden-Sydney College
  55. Hanover College
  56. Harvey Mudd*
  57. Haverford College
  58. Hawaii Pacific University
  59. Hendrix College
  60. High Point University
  61. Hiram College
  62. Hollins University
  63. College of Holy Cross
  64. Illinois Institute of Technology
  65. Indiana University-Bloomington
  66. Ithaca College
  67. Johns Hopkins University
  68. Kalamazoo College
  69. Kenyon College
  70. Kettering University
  71. Knox College
  72. Lafayette College
  73. Lawrence University
  74. Loyola University in Maryland
  75. Loyola University in New Orleans
  76. Middlebury College
  77. MIT*
  78. Millsaps College
  79. Montana State University
  80. NCAA Clearinghouse
  81. New York University
  82. Northeastern University
  83. North Carolina State University
  84. Ohio-Wesleyan University
  85. Olin College of Engineering
  86. Pomona College
  87. Providence College
  88. Purdue University
  89. Regis University
  90. Rochester Institute of Technology
  91. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
  92. San Diego State
  93. Seattle University
  94. Seton Hall
  95. Spring Hill College
  96. Smith College
  97. St. John’s College
  98. St. Mary’s – Notre Dame and MN
  99. Stanford University
  100. Swarthmore College
  101. Syracuse University
  102. Texas Christian University
  103. Towson University
  104. Trinity College
  105. Troy University
  106. Tufts University
  107. United States Naval Academy
  108. University of Arkansas
  109. University of Chicago
  110. University of Cincinnati
  111. University of Colorado – Boulder
  112. University of Connecticut
  113. University of Dayton
  114. University of Delaware
  115. University of Denver
  116. University of Georgia
  117. University of Illinois
  118. University of Louisiana – Lafayette
  119. University of Maryland
  120. University of Mary Washington*
  121. University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  122. University of Miami
  123. University of New Haven
  124. University of New Mexico
  125. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
  126. University of North Texas
  127. University of Portland
  128. University of Pittsburgh
  129. University of Puget Sound
  130. University of Redlands
  131. University of Rhode Island
  132. University of Rochester
  133. University of San Diego
  134. University of San Francisco
  135. University of South Florida
  136. University of Tampa
  137. University of Tennessee-Knoxville
  138. University of Vermont
  139. Valparaiso University
  140. Vassar College
  141. Virginia Commonwealth University
  142. Virginia Tech
  143. Wabash College
  144. Wake Forest University
  145. Washington and Jefferson College
  146. Washington State University
  147. Washington University-St. Louis
  148. Wellesley College
  149. Wesleyan University
  150. Wheaton College
  151. West Point Academy
  152. Wheaton College
  153. Williams College
  154. Xavier University

Do ACT Superscores Count for Merit Scholarships?

There is no definitive list out there of which schools accept the ACT superscores for automatic merit scholarships upon admittance. This is worth checking with the school website or with an advisor (or ACT prep course administrator), as this could potentially be the difference between thousands of dollars in scholarship money each year depending on where your superscore lands you in the school’s merit-based scholarship award requirements.

If you are planning on attending college next year, check out some of the best ACT scholarships for college!