2 years ago
Admissions Advice

Should I bother submitting my ACT scores to colleges?

I have a 4.2 weighted GPA and have consistently improved it throughout my high school years. My high school is also very competitive. I would argue that I have strong extracurricular activities that correlate with one another/relate to what I want to major in. I currently have a 28 ACT score because I have bad anxiety, so I am not a great test taker. Should I submit this score to schools or should I apply test-optional? I'm looking at schools like Bryn Mawr, Wellesley, and Smith College (I have safety/target schools too! These are just my reach/dream schools). I will also be re-taking the ACT in a month or so.

If you have any other college admission tips for these specific schools please let me know. Thank you and good luck to everybody in the admissions process!

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@Sarah6162 years ago

For your reading score, I'd recommend you read as much as you can! Read books you love, read interesting articles (personally, I'd stay away from unedited writing like fanfic or internet posts, as they often are not grammatically correct), anything edited and high school level or above that you can get your hands on. Reading helps you learn the "language" of good/grammatical writing - you start to become fluent in where the comma should be, because you've read it written the right way a thousand

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4 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago[edited]

Hi @anonymous116

If you are applying to colleges like Bryn Mawr (30/33), GWU (30/34), Wellesley (31/35) and Smith (31/34), their middle 50% ACT scores are higher than your 28 composites.

Depending on your demographics, I would aim for different target scores. If you are Black, LatinA, or Indigenous, then I would aim for a 30-31 ACT score which puts you at the 25% percentile. If you are White, I would aim for a 32-33 which is like the middle 50% score for these schools. And if you are from an over-represented minority like Chinese, Korean or Indian, then I would aim for a 33-34 composite test score.

If you are unable to achieve these scores, then I would recommend applying Test Optional to all these schools. I completely disagree with the poster who commented that since you have a 4.2 weighted GPA then you should submit your 28. A low SAT will cause more doubt than clarify things for the admissions officer. I don't know what your Unweighted GPA is but if it's in the 3.7-3.89 range, that's not compelling for these schools except GWU, about 75% of the admits to the other schools are in the top 10% of their graduating class.

If your grades, course rigor, intellectual vitality, ECs, Essays, and recommendations are really good, I would say that's more important than stressing about your ACT score. I would give the ACT one last try but then focus entirely on making sure your narrative is as strong as it can possibly be.

I would also recommend applying either to Smith or Bryn Mawr ED. I would also look at applying to Mount Holyoke which is an awesome college next to Smith, and even Trinity College in Hartford as well as Connecticut College, and if you are open to West Coast schools, Scripps women's college which is part of the 5Cs. Wellesley is a very difficult school and just as challenging as Williams, Amherst, Swarthmore and Pomona, CMC, and Barnard. It's a different tier school entirely.

Good luck with applying to colleges this fall.

2 years ago[edited]


2 years ago

For whether or not to apply test optional... If you use Niche I know there is a way to look at the 'average' ACT score people who go to a certain school get, there could also be a feature like that on here but I'm not sure. Compare your ACT score to the average one and if it's within 1 point of the average or higher I would just submit the score (28 is nothing to scoff at for most places). If it's significantly lower, then probably just apply test-optional.

As for ACT prep...Reading is hardddd to prep for, it's a comprehension skill that is really hard to get better at in any way other than reading and analyzing a lot (so practice exams). Math is much easier to prep for, take some practice exams and remember the types of equations and formulas you're meant to understand/know. Another trick is to ask an Algebra 2 or Pre-Calc teacher at your school about ACT math prep, I know my teachers had some insight into what type of math shows up on the ACT most often. And most importantly, have a graphing calculator the day of and know how to use it, SO MANY ACT math questions can be plugged into a graphing calculator to solve.

Hope this helps! :)

2 years ago


First of all, I would submit your ACT scores because it probably won’t hurt you since you have a good GPA, demonstrating that you are a good student. And there may be scholarships that you need to submit a score to qualify for.

To improve your ACT score I would just take a bunch of practice tests. This will allow you to get more acclimated to taking the test. Practice makes perfect.

Good luck on your college application journey!

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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