Some days, you just don’t have it. Maybe you’re tired or unfocused or unprepared. Perhaps you forgot your admission ticket or had to deal with a poor proctor. Whatever the reason, if your test day spirals out of control and your ACT scores fall far below your potential, all is not lost.
ACT test takers have many options for handling unflattering scores. The main approach to bad scores is to simply ignore them. Your ACT scores are automatically sent to any high school you report as well as college score recipients you select before testing. But you should never (with limited exceptions) have your unseen scores automatically sent to target schools. Better to wait until after the fact and pay a little extra to choose which ACT scores to send to whom. You can choose test administrations but not specific sections to send.
Considering the availability of selective score reporting and widespread superscoring among colleges, most students have all the control they need to ensure that admissions officers only see scores that support a strong application. However, certain highly competitive colleges demand that applicants submit every single test score. The penalties for violating such a rule remain unclear, but applicants do sign off on the veracity of their records, which suggests that a school that discovers an applicant held scores back could rescind admission.
Why take chances with something as important as admission to your dream school? If one of your ACT scores is so uncharacteristically low that you dread having it appear even accidentally, you can delete it. As far as ACT is concerned, you own your test scores. Thus, you may direct ACT to delete your scores for a particular test date:
To delete your scores for a particular test date, you must submit a written request. Provide us with your name and home address, and we will mail you a form to complete and return to us. We will then permanently remove your record for that test date from our files. All scores from that test date will be deleted.
ACT Institutional Services
P.O. Box 168
Iowa City, IA 52243-0168
The antiquated requirement for a request in writing may dissuade some students. Also, students may not delete scores used to document participation in State and District Testing. But if you’re applying to one of those persnickety schools that require every single score and are willing to jump through a couple of hoops, you can expunge an abhorrent score from your records.
Then, make sure you put in the kind of quality prep to ensure that you do better next time!