Score Choice: Is it Worth it?

Score Choice: Is it Worth it?

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    For most students standardized testing is a very stressful and time consuming process. Extreme amounts of effort and money are spent trying to attain a high score in order to get into a certain college, an advanced program, earn scholarship money etc. The pressure to do well coupled with test anxiety experienced by many students, often leads students to take the SAT multiple times to ensure that their score is their personal best.
    In recent years, a new option called Score Choice was created, allowing students to choose which scores to present to colleges. According to the CollegeBoard, Score Choice was implemented as a way to make standardized testing less stressful. Many colleges agree to follow Score Choice and only view the scores of SAT/ACT/SAT II’s that students submit. For example, if a student takes the SAT in March and receives a composite score of 1750 and then another SAT in June and receives a 1900, the student can opt to only allow colleges to see the June score.
    Score choice can be of great help to students. In only allowing colleges to see the scores they submit -presumably the highest ones- students present themselves as more competitive applicants. As the competition for limited spots in colleges increases, it makes sense that students only want to present their best accomplishments. This is not to say that reporting multiple scores is a bad idea. When applying to a school that does not accept Score Choice, multiple scores are not always detrimental. Any type of significant score improvement will be noticed by college admissions counselors. Most colleges pay closest attention to the highest score or will use Super Score and take the highest scores from each section of the SAT and combine them to yield a higher composite score.
    Score Choice can put students from families of lower incomes at a disadvantage, as many students cannot afford to repeatedly take the $50 test over and over again. Students can receive fee waivers through their high school’s guidance department, which will cover the cost of sitting for the SAT two times. Score Choice has been criticized for overcomplicating applying to college and allowing students with the means to take the test multiple times to be at an advantage over those who cannot. If applicants have the option, they should consider the benefits and drawbacks of Score Choice and decide based on that works for their individual situations.

    Ultimately Score Choice can be very beneficial to students, especially those who want to take the SAT early on (in their freshman or sophomore year) without being penalized for low scores. Students who opt for Score Choice have to realize that each college has unique requirements for standardized test scores, and therefore should be looked at individually before making a final decision on how to score report.

What do you think about score choice? Let us know in the comments section!