Last Updated on April 20, 2023
If you’re a high school student thinking about applying to top colleges, currently working on your college applications, or gearing up to take the SAT in your junior year, you’re probably wondering which schools superscore SATs. After all, superscoring helps you put your best foot forward when submitting SAT scores and could affect any decisions you make about taking the SAT multiple times.
So, in this article, we’ll take a look at which colleges superscore SATs and which colleges don’t superscore SATs, with a focus on schools in the top 25 (per the U.S. News 2022-2023 Best National Universities rankings).
Here are the topics we’ll cover:
- What Is SAT Superscoring?
- How Many Top Schools Accept SAT Superscores?
- Which Schools Superscore SATs in the Top 25?
- Which Schools Do Not Superscore SATs in the Top 25?
- Colleges That Superscore the SAT: Key Takeaways
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- What’s Next?
To start, let’s quickly review what exactly SAT superscores are.
What Is SAT Superscoring?
SAT superscoring is a process by which a college uses your highest submitted SAT math score plus your highest submitted reading and writing score — even if those two scores come from different test dates — to produce your SAT composite score (i.e., your total score). That composite score is called a “superscore.”
So, simply put, an SAT superscore is a composite score derived from your highest section scores on any SAT you’ve taken, provided you’ve submitted the scores from those test dates to schools.
Colleges that superscore SATs use your highest submitted SAT math score plus your highest submitted reading and writing score to produce your composite score.
One thing to keep in mind is that some college admissions offices may focus on your highest section scores but still take your other SAT scores into account, or at least be able to see them. On the other hand, admissions at some schools may not even see your lower scores, if the school’s policy is to generate your superscore before admissions considers your application.
We’ll get into these varying scenarios more throughout this article. A key point to keep in mind for now is that colleges can superscore based only on the SAT scores you send to them. So, depending on how they superscore, you may want to send them only some of your scores, or you may be fine sending them all of your scores. (Keep in mind that some schools require that you send all scores. You can learn more about the superscoring process and score choice in this article.)
At colleges that superscore SATs, admissions may or may not see your lower SAT scores, depending on the schools’ testing policies.
How Many Top Schools Accept SAT Superscores?
Many colleges and universities superscore SATs, including most top schools.
For example, most of the top 5 schools — Princeton, MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Yale — superscore the SAT in some fashion. I say “in some fashion” because their exact superscoring policies vary somewhat.
For instance, Yale states that “admissions officers will focus on the highest individual section scores from all test dates.” However, Yale also states that the admissions committee “does not create a new score total from those sub-scores, but will consider an applicant’s full testing history when available.”
In other words, while they may put more weight on your highest scores in each section, they’re still going to look at all the test scores you submit. So, you probably don’t want any really low scores mixed into that group. And, given that they’re not creating “a new score total” for you, we could say that Yale technically does not superscore. However, since they “focus on” your highest section scores, you’ll still get much of the benefit that superscoring provides.
Even Harvard, which states outright that it does not create superscores, says that the evaluation of SAT scores includes “noting the highest test scores in each section across test dates.” Of course, admissions officers are probably also “noting” your lowest scores. So again, your decision about which test dates to submit scores from will be an important one.
That said, it’s worth pointing out that in both of these cases, your highest section scores will be of note to the college admissions office. And the other schools in the top 5 — Princeton, MIT, and Stanford — all superscore.
In fact, nearly all of the schools in the top 25 superscore the SAT at least to some extent. Let’s discuss.
Which Schools Superscore SATs in the Top 25?
As we just learned, even schools that look at your highest section scores don’t all superscore in the same way. So, although the overwhelming majority of schools in the top 25 superscore, it’s really important that you research their exact policies on a case-by-case basis.
You can do that research by looking at the requirements related to standardized tests
on the individual website of each school you’re interested in. School websites generally contain pretty specific information about SAT superscoring policies — and the most up-to-date information.
Importantly, testing requirements often change. (For instance, many top schools went test optional during the pandemic.) So, if a certain policy was in place when your older brother applied to a particular school, you can’t assume that the same policy will still be in place when you apply.
Of course, if you have questions about the superscoring policies you find on a school’s website or you can’t find the information you need, don’t hesitate to contact the college admissions office by phone or email to get answers.
Remember, there is no universal rule about whether top schools superscore or how they superscore. Furthermore, many schools have different policies for the SAT and ACT. Some colleges that superscore the SAT do not superscore the ACT. Others superscore both (or neither).
TTP PRO TIP:
If you’re unclear about the SAT superscoring policy stated on a school’s website, reach out to the college admissions office for clarification.
All that said, since nearly all of the schools in the top 25 superscore to some extent, it’s instructive to look at which schools don’t superscore.
Which Schools Do Not Superscore SATs in the Top 25?
We’ve already discussed Yale and Harvard (tied at #3 in the 2022-2023 U.S. News rankings), which “focus on” or “note” your highest section scores but don’t technically superscore. So, they take all of your submitted SAT scores into account.
The only other school in the top 25 with a similar policy is Carnegie Mellon (ranked #22), which states:
“If you choose to submit scores, we’re interested in the general pattern of your scores but will give the most weight to the highest score you’ve received on any of the exams.”
So, technically, Carnegie Mellon does not superscore; all of your SAT scores are considered. However, admissions will “give the most weight” to your highest scores across all tests. Thus, their superscoring policy is not all that different from that of many other top schools.
Furthermore, given that admissions is “interested in the general pattern of your scores,” it’s probably a pretty safe bet that an upward trend in your scores will reflect well.
Moreover, we should note that Carnegie Mellon is currently test-optional — as are Harvard and Yale. However, Carnegie Mellon does not currently allow the use of score choice, whereas Harvard and Yale do. So, if you choose to submit SAT scores to Carnegie Mellon, you’ll have to submit all your scores. For Yale and Harvard, you’ll be able to select which test dates you want to submit scores from.
Regardless, we can see that, even at those few schools in the top 25 that don’t technically superscore, you still have some options that allow you to be strategic with your SAT scores.
Yale, Harvard, and Carnegie Mellon are currently the only schools in the top 25 that don’t superscore. However, all three give consideration to your highest section scores across all test dates.
Top Schools That Do Not Consider Test Scores
Note that CalTech (ranked #9) has paused the test score requirement for first-year students applying through fall 2025 and thus will not even look at SAT scores. However, CalTech previously superscored SATs. So, if and when CalTech reinstitutes the test requirement, it’s likely that the school will also reinstitute the superscoring policy.
Similarly, UC Berkeley and UCLA (tied at #20) currently do not consider test scores. In fact, none of the schools in the UC system currently consider test scores.
Colleges That Superscore the SAT: Key Takeaways
- Colleges that superscore SATs use your highest submitted SAT math score plus your highest submitted reading and writing score to produce your composite score.
- Nearly all schools in the top 25 superscore the SAT, with the exception of Yale, Harvard, and Carnegie Mellon. However, those three schools still give consideration to your highest section scores across all test dates.
- Depending on their policies, admissions committees at colleges that superscore SATs may or may not see your lower SAT scores.
- It’s important to research the exact superscoring policies of each school you’re interested in applying to, as policies vary by school and can change from year to year.
- To find out which colleges superscore and to what extent, start by researching the requirements related to standardized tests on the individual website of each school you’re interested in. If any questions remain, contact the college admissions office by phone or email.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Let’s look at the superscoring policies of some top 25 schools that students frequently ask about.
Does Carnegie Mellon Superscore SATs?
Carnegie Mellon does not superscore. However, the school is test optional, likely views an upward trend in scores in a positive light, and “will give the most weight to the highest score you’ve received on any of the exams.”
Does Duke Superscore SATs?
Duke is currently test-optional and does superscore SATs. Duke states that admissions “will consider the highest scores on each section of the SAT, regardless of the test date.”
Does Harvard Superscore SATs?
Harvard currently states on its website that it does not create superscores for applicants. However, Harvard also states that the evaluation of test scores includes “noting the highest test scores in each section across test dates for the SAT.” Furthermore, Harvard allows students to use score choice and is currently test optional.
Does Northwestern Superscore SATs?
Northwestern superscores both the SAT and ACT, and admissions views your highest scores only. The school states:
“For students who take the SAT or ACT more than once, this means that our system will combine the highest section scores across multiple test dates and calculate a ‘superscore’ that will override the high score from a single sitting in our database. Applicants are not obligated to report scores from all test dates, though are welcome to do so.”
Does Notre Dame Superscore SATs?
Yes, Notre Dame superscores SATs. According to admissions:
“If you submit multiple scores, we will superscore the tests for our evaluation. This means we will consider the highest composite score and highest scores on each section, regardless of test date.”
Does NYU Superscore SATs?
Yes, NYU currently superscores both the SAT and ACT.
Does Rice Superscore SATs?
Yes. Per admissions:
“When reviewing SAT and ACT scores, we use the highest score from each section across all administrations. We encourage students to report all scores knowing that we will recombine the sections to get the best possible set of scores for each candidate.”
Does Stanford Superscore SATs?
Yes, Stanford superscores the SAT. Note that Stanford requires test scores for admission but does allow the use of score choice.
Does Vanderbilt Superscore SATs?
Vanderbilt superscores both the SAT and ACT, and admissions views your highest scores only.
Note also that, per admissions, “If a student submits both ACT and SAT scores, Vanderbilt will consider the highest superscore from either the ACT or the SAT, whichever is best.”
Now that you know which top colleges and universities superscore SATs, you may want to check out this article on what a good SAT score is for the Ivy Leagues.
Also, get some expert tips to help you decide whether to retake the SAT here.
And if you’re looking for strategies to improve your SAT score, this guide to increasing your score can help.