Should I submit my entire test history to UPenn and Rice even if my score declined?
I am caught in a really tough position when it comes to Score-Choice for UPenn and Rice. The first time I took the SAT I got a 1480 (R:750 M:730) which was just short of my 1500 goal. Thinking I could raise my math enough, I went to take a second attempt at the test. But COVID really did mess up my preparation: my tutor had to suspend his services and I had to wake up at 4 am and drive across the state to my test site because all the local centers closed. I ended up getting a 1390 with no improvement in either section. I am planning on taking it one more time on the November test date and my tutor just reopened his services, so I will hopefully see a higher score than the 1390. But, in my current predicament, I feel like reporting a 90 pt drop is unfavorable. For every other school I was just going to use score choice to submit my first attempt, but Rice and UPenn are different in that they both recommend that I submit my entire testing history. I know UPenn, in specific, mentioned that they recommend this especially for students who want to superscore, but that doesn't really apply in my case. Another layer of complexity is my essay scores. The first time I took the essay I got an 18 and this second time I felt like I did much better (essay score got delayed). I am looking for advice on how I should proceed. Would these schools know that I took the exam more than once if I choose to only report my 1480? Will the fact that I did not report all my scores hurt me more than reporting the 1390 woud? Would these schools even consider my lower score and just want to see if I took the test an appropriate amount of times? If my essay score improved significantly, should I just report both test dates fully? Should I take the time to explain how COVID-19 played into this decreased score on the covid/additional info sections?
Thanks and sorry if I seem tense, college apps are due soon and I want to sort this out asap.
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If you are applying for ED, then just submit your 1480 because UPENN ED is 19.7% compared to 8.07% overall, and if you do the math correctly the regular decision acceptance rate was only 5.97% for the Class of 2024. Since the UPenn Class of 24 stats were softer than Class of 23, I expect this trend to continue. So my guess is ED is going to be like 20.5%, 8.8% overall, and 6.5% regular decision. You have a 3 1/3 X times greater chance of getting in with ED and remember that UPENN is test-optional and perhaps a 1/3 of applicants will not have a test score to submit. 1480 is within the 1450-1540 50% percentile range on the 2019-2020 common data set so I wouldn't worry too much about your test score.
Rice had a 18.9% ED rate and an overall 10% acceptance rate last year. And their 50% SAT ranges was 1470-1570.
And 18 is a good essay score. It passes the threshold for most schools if they are considering it at all.
Now if your thinking is to apply regular decision to both of those schools because you think you might get a higher SAT score, you are taking a huge risk in my opinion. You already got a 90 point lower score so even if all the stars aligned and you had the perfect curved test and got 1500-1550 Practice test scores (like on 5-6 practice tests) doesn't mean you are going to perform the same way and get a 1500+ with a Mask on in a test center when you are stressing and putting all that pressure on you. November is really cutting it close.
I would recommend you pick 1 of these schools and apply ED and just submit (1) 1480 test score.
Good luck with your decision.
I would just report your 1480 (congrats btw!) as 1390 would not help your case at all, especially since you received this score after your 1480. Depending on your score in November, only report it if either section score increases so that you can superscore.
As for your essay score, honestly there is no use in reporting it at all. Virtually every school in the US does not even look at essay scores.