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9 months ago
Admissions Advice

Should I send my bad SAT essay score or sacrifice my SAT superscore?
Answered

So I took the SAT 2 times:

In October 2019 I scored 680 EBRW and 800 Math, but had a 15 on the essay

In August 2020 I took it without the essay and scored 730 EBRW and 790 Math.

This means that my superscore would be 1530, but if I choose to send it I would also have to include the bad essay score. I (international applicant) will be applying to lots of T20 schools (all of them test-optional). Should I send my October 2019 SAT with essay score in addition to my August 2020 SAT without essay score?

superscore
internationalstudent
international
SAT
essays
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Accepted Answer
9 months ago

International student here, too.

Congrats on your 1480 and 1520 SAT scores! That's a significant improvement.

I will answer from two perspectives (as I usually do):

Perspective 1: You submit the two scores.

The college gets to see the tremendous improvement you made in EBRW, as well as becomes satisfied that you are powerful in Maths. They get to see your essay score, which isn't spectacular, but what weight does the essay score hold in the college admissions process (especially if the college does not regard the essay as compulsory)?

Whoever reads your application knows that you take improvement very seriously, as evidenced in your EBRW.

Perspective 2: You submit the 1520 score.

The college sees that you are proficient in both Maths and EBRW, but doesn't see the work you had to put in to get there. The college doesn't see the essay (which could send a message that you may not be up to par with English, whereas you clearly are). The college doesn't see that you worked to improve on your multiple-choice test BUT did not retake the essay.

If I were you, I would submit both. By writing the application essays, I would show my knowledge of English beyond the concepts tested in the SAT Essay.

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