Skip to main content

Where We Stand on SAT Score Choice

Posted by on Thursday, September 10, 2009 in Application Process, Score Choice, Standardized Testing.

As many of you may know, the College Board now allows you the option to choose which scores (by test date) you wish to send to colleges.  Earlier this winter the College Board requested Vanderbilt’s official position on its new Score Choice policy.  We wanted to post to help explain our position on this new policy, as well as to let you know how we came to that position.

Our Vice Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions formed a committee composed of members from various University offices to address the issue.  After considerable debate and weighing all the possible options provided by the College Board, Vanderbilt selected “Highest Section Scores Across Test Dates (version 2),” reprinted below.

Highest Section Scores Across Test Dates – Version 2 (Highest M, CR, W)

Vanderbilt University has indicated that it considers your highest section scores across all SAT test dates that you submit. Only your highest section scores will be considered as part of the final admissions decision. Each time you submit scores, Vanderbilt University will update your record with any new high scores.

Vanderbilt University strongly encourages you to submit your scores each time you take the SAT. Sending your scores each time you take the SAT can benefit you by allowing Vanderbilt University to consider you for all available enrollment-related opportunities.

We believe that this position is a highly student-centered option and gives the applicant the most control over the score reporting process.  We believe in the fundamental truth that you, the student ultimately own your test score.  We believe this option most directly mirrors the admissions philosophy under which we currently operate.

In an effort to get the word out, we have placed this statement on our main website, but please share with your friends and others who are applying to Vanderbilt this coming fall.  Also make sure to educate yourself and others about the score reporting process this year.  The College Board has also provided a full listing of college and scholarship score use practices.

A Note to Applicants Regarding Vanderbilt’s SAT Score Choice Policy

Vanderbilt will consider the highest section scores across all SAT test dates. Students should send scores from every SAT test date in which they receive a top score in at least one section: mathematics, critical reading, and writing. Only the highest section scores will be considered as part of the admissions review process. Each time SAT scores are submitted, the student’s record is updated with the new high section scores. Vanderbilt strongly encourages students to submit scores each time they take the SAT.

While many of our applicants submit SAT Subject test scores, they are not required. As part of the admissions review process, the Admissions Committee may consider any SAT Subject test scores that a student submits.

We would love to hear your thoughts.

Tags: , , , ,


  • Seth

    September 10th, 2009

    Are you doing this with ACT as well? Does this put ACT takers in a worse position?

  • Thom

    September 10th, 2009

    The ACT has long had a policy like score choice that allows test takers to select which scores to send (by test date). We will treat ACT scores in the way as what we’re describing here with the SAT Reasoning (i.e., considering only the highest composite ACT score in our final admissions decisions). The only difference between the two is that we do not “super-score” the ACT, whereas we do with the SAT Reasoning. It shouldn’t put ACT takers at any disadvantage.

  • Cherry

    September 11th, 2010

    What is the minimium score for ACT?

  • Kylie

    September 12th, 2010


    There is no minimum score required for applicants. We have a holistic review process. Our admitted students last year had an ACT middle 50% of 31-34. Thanks for the question!

  • kris

    October 15th, 2010

    What is the minnimum for S.A.T. score.

  • Kylie

    October 18th, 2010


    There is no minimum SAT required at Vanderbilt. Check out our 10th Day Data from last year to see the middle range of SAT scores.

  • Rachel

    November 5th, 2010

    If I submit SAT subject test scores after the application deadline, will they be considered during the admission process?

  • Kylie

    November 7th, 2010

    Rachel: We should be able to review those scores. As soon as they arrive in our office, they’ll be included in your file for review.

  • Alex

    December 17th, 2010

    Should I submit just my highest composite ACT score as Vanderbilt does not Superscore?

  • Kylie

    December 18th, 2010

    Alex: Yes. We are only looking at your highest composite.

  • Jacob

    December 19th, 2010

    I already applied regular decision and sent in an ACT Plus Writing score of 31 and an ACT (no writing) score of 33. I fulfilled the requirement of an ACT with a writing score, but will you use the 33 as my highest composite for admission consideration?

  • Kylie

    December 19th, 2010

    Jacob: Yes.

  • Jane

    December 27th, 2010

    If the student is unsatisfied with their SAT scores, is there any way to expunge them from the admission process after the scores have been sent?

  • Kylie

    December 27th, 2010

    Jane: We will look at your highest scores primarily. We do not “expunge” scores once submitted. Best wishes!

  • Anonymous

    January 2nd, 2011

    I am aware that the admissions office receives SAT scores by mail. I’ve sent my SAT scores some time ago via Collegeboard.. how can I resend it through mail?
    Thank you!

  • Kylie

    January 3rd, 2011

    Anonymous: You’ll have to contact the College Board directly and have them mailed to us at 2305 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203

  • Morgan

    February 8th, 2011

    what is the lowest ACT score that Vanderbilt will accept?

  • Kylie

    February 9th, 2011

    Morgan: We do not have a minimum. We conduct a holistic review in order to consider multiple factors. Check out a previous post where I described how we read a file. Also, read my post on what the middle 50% really means.

  • Jarod

    March 31st, 2011

    How does Vanderbilt look at or weigh the Writing section of the SAT? More than, equal to, or less than the Critical Reading and Mathematics?

  • Kylie

    March 31st, 2011

    Jarod: We do not evaluate the writing portion of the SAT.

  • Edward Harpstead

    October 24th, 2016

    Hi! I was reading through this post, and stumbled across this comment. Does Vanderbilt still not evaluate the writing portion of the SAT, or has this policy changed? Thank you very much.

  • Jay Watson

    October 26th, 2016

    Thank you for your question. Our review regarding the Essay portion of the SAT has not changed — that score is not required and we do not rely on it as a part of our evaluation. Thanks!

  • Jarod

    March 31st, 2011


    If Vanderbilt does not evaluate the Writing section of the SAT, why does it have be submitted as part of the application?

  • Anonymous

    August 5th, 2011

    So I realize that Vanderbilt doesn’t score choice the ACT. However, if I send multiple ACT scores, will Vanderbilt consider the highest score in each of the 4 sections of the ACT? I’m wondering because I have two different ACT test dates with the same composite score, yet the sub scores are different.

  • Anonymous

    August 5th, 2011

    In addition, should applicants send their AP scores to Vanderbilt or should we wait to hear if we are accepted and then report the scores to Vanderbilt?

  • Lucy

    September 19th, 2011

    what SAT score is necessary to get into Vanderbilt 

  • Vanderbilt University

    September 22nd, 2011

    Lucy, please contact They will be happy to answer your question and any others.

  • Bri

    February 26th, 2012

    I just saw the campus today and never thought in a million years that I would want to go. Is it too late to apply? I have my ACT scores but I never took the writing portion which wouldnt get completed until April. Im not sure what to do. I really like this school.

  • Ryan Burleson

    February 27th, 2012

    Hi Bri. Thanks for your interest in Vanderbilt. We’re so glad you were able to visit campus, but, yes, it is too late to apply this year. The Common Application will go live in August for the next class. Until then, we wish you the best in your college search and application process!

  • Jklild

    May 10th, 2012

    what is the highest and lowest ACT or SAT score that can get you into Vanderbilt?

  • Carolyn Pippen

    May 10th, 2012

    Because we use a holistic review process, we do not have a “cutoff” or required score for standardized testing. To get an idea of what types of scores our most competitive applicants are bringing in, check out academic profile of this past year’s freshman class:

  • Anonymous

    December 15th, 2012

    Would I be able to only send my ACT score and my SAT Subject scores? OR do I need to send my SAT Reasoning test as well because I want to send my Subject tests?

  • Carolyn Pippen

    December 16th, 2012

    You do not need to submit your SAT Reasoning along with your subject scores. If you would rather submit only your ACT along with those subject scores, we will accept them both.

  • Anonymous

    December 16th, 2012


  • Rachel O.

    December 29th, 2012

    will it be too late to send my sat scores today, dec. 29th if the deadline is thurs. jan 3rd

  • Ryan Burleson

    December 31st, 2012

    Hi Rachel. No, you should be fine to send your SAT scores at this point, but please follow-up with your admissions counselor in a few weeks to ensure we received them.

  • Daniel

    December 3rd, 2013

    You say it is not superscored. But if I hand in multiple ACTs, do you still look at the highest subscores?

  • Jay Watson

    December 3rd, 2013

    Thanks for your question, Daniel. If you send multiple ACT scores, we consider the highest composite score, not the highest subscores.

  • Kyle

    December 25th, 2013

    Does Vanderbilt value SAT writing score as much as CR and Maths?

  • Jay Watson

    December 26th, 2013

    Thanks for your question, Kyle. We evaluate the writing score as a part of our holistic approach to application review. As with other parts of the application, it isn’t a “make or break” element. For admitted students, the writing score is also used for class placement purposes. Thanks for your interest in Vanderbilt.

  • Victoria Hebert

    April 17th, 2016

    While reviewing the admissions requirements I noticed that it said that the ACT writing is required; however, I stumbled across another section that said that it is no longer required. Could you please clarify that for me?

  • Jay Watson

    April 18th, 2016

    Thanks for your question, Victoria. For students entering Vanderbilt in fall 2017 or later, the writing section of the ACT will no longer be required. It has been required up to this point, but for new applicants it will no longer be mandatory.

  • Happy95

    December 12th, 2016

    I also have a question about the writing section of the ACT. Since writing is no longer mandatory, will it still be used in the admissions evaluation since it will be on my official score report? I took the ACT with writing, since some schools still require it. Thank you.

  • Jay Watson

    December 16th, 2016

    Thank you for your question. We do not consider the writing section of the ACT.

  • Happy95

    December 16th, 2016

    Thank you for your reply…Have a great weekend :)

  • Anna Kroner

    December 25th, 2017

    Do you have to send all of your ACT scores or can I only select my best score and just send one?

  • Jay Watson

    January 2nd, 2018

    Thanks for the question. You choose which scores to submit with your application. We will review any scores you submit, but you aren’t obliged to submit all of your test scores.