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Should I submit my test score if I am just below the 25th percentile, or go test optional?

, [edited]

I am applying to MIT as my top school for this fall and my ACT score is a 33. It is also important that I am a white male. I am aware that this is one point below their 25th percentile score of a 34. Usually, it is recommended that if you are below the 25th percentile, you should not submit a score. However, this is for MIT, and I am afraid that not submitting a score will hurt me more than help me, and a 33 is a great score anyways, its only one point off from a 34. What do you think I should do? Should I go test-optional at MIT or should I submit my 33? Or, should I retake the test again to try and get a 34 superscore.


3 answers

answered on
Accepted answer

How are your extracurriculars and grades? If both are outstanding, going test-optional is less of a concern, and you might consider leaving out your ACT score. But that said, it's always helpful to have a strong test score, so if you can retake the ACT and get a higher score, that will certainly improve your chances.

My extracurriculars and grades are very good in my opinion. I have a 4.0 UW and 4.7 W. I have taken math up to Multivariable calculus and AP Physics. In an attempt to not sound like I am bragging, I do have a slur of impressive extracurriculars which I believe are the strongest part of my application. My test score is really the weakest part of my application. But I have heard that not submitted a test score at MIT can hurt you in the long run.
That's great to hear! That's correct though - unless the school is test-blind (won't look at scores at all), not having a test score will disadvantage you against someone who has a good test score. So if you can get at 34 or higher, that would be ideal.
Just updating this thread with some new data that one of our founders analyzed. His advice is to submit any ACT score within 3 points of the middle 50%, so that includes your 33:
answered on[edited]

You should take the Sept or Oct ACT if you can.

Ok I will plan on it. Thanks!
answered on

This is a very good guide on whether to submit or not. Also if I remember correctly MIT is test optional so they will receive higher than normal scores.

Hope this helps and please comment if you need clarification as I’d be happy to help clarify!

I actually have watched that video before. The only reason I want further clarification is that she only talks about state schools. I believe that top school admissions is always different. So having a 33 may still be more beneficial than not submitting a score. Let me know if you still have an opinion on whether I should submit or not. I was previously planning on doing ACT section testing but I believe that ACT has canceled that for this year, so now I have to retake the entire test.
So personally I’d say attempt to get a 34 and if you don’t you at least tried. I’d submit the ACT whether a 33 or 34 and above as that is still a decent score and as not a lot of people will submit test scores you show you have a good academic background. I’d wouldn’t be surprised if for the class if 2021 MIT average will be a 35 or even a 36 do you only phenomenal students submitting a score but I’d say submit it as even though it’s slight lower it shows your academics background and you likely
have an edge over people with similiar profiles but you have the edge becuase you’ve proven yourself with the ACT. Best of luck!