Five Tips For Reporting SAT, ACT and AP Scores To Colleges

Be prepared to send in either your ACT or SAT scores unless “test optional” is a good fit for you.

Fall of senior year is here and it is time to get into the nitty-gritty details of applying to colleges. If you want colleges to receive official score reports, you will need to have them sent officially by ACT or by College Board for the SAT and SAT Subject tests. Here are some tips:

1: Decide whether you are submitting scores.
Check the college’s website to determine if it is “test optional.” If not, you are required to send your best ACT or SAT scores. If the college offers a test optional policy, determine the college’s middle 50% range (scores reported by students accepted last year who fall in the 25% to 75% range). If your ACT or SAT score falls within or above their average ranges, report your score!

2: Deciding which scores to report on your application
The first place to report scores is on the testing section of the Common Application (or whatever application you submit) where you will report your highest scores. Virtually all colleges superscore the SAT so if you took the SAT more than once and received higher section scores on different dates, report each relevant date and the college will focus on the highest score for each section.

You may be able to send your superscore to colleges.

The ACT is more complicated, since colleges’ policies about superscoring vary and are continually evolving, generally toward acceptance of superscoring. To “superscore” the ACT means that a college will accept your highest section scores from different sittings of the test and will recalculate your composite score. Your best information source is to verify each school’s policy on their individual websites. Published lists can be helpful in determining which schools superscore, but keep in mind that lists such as this one from PrepScholar may not reflect changes since they were published. 

If a school does not superscore, send them your highest composite score test date. Bear in mind, if you send all test dates to a college that does not superscore, they will choose the sitting that puts you in the best light so it won’t hurt you to submit more than one test date as long as there are are no glaringly low section scores on a particular date. If you are applying to a mix of schools that superscore and others that don’t, simply provide the scores for all dates that contribute to your superscore and highest composite, and each school will use the scores that meet their requirements and represent you most favorably. 

3. Officially send scores
More and more colleges are allowing applicants to self-report test scores on their applications, and only require official scores after acceptance. You can check the website for each school you’re applying to, however some families just feel more comfortable sending official score reports to all schools. Once you’ve determined what scores and test dates you wish to report to which schools, log into your ACT and/or College Board account and list the colleges to which you want scores sent. Select the test date(s) to be forwarded, and have a parent available with a credit card to pay the fee. Allow 2-3 weeks for receipt. Plan ahead!

4. How to report AP scores
Report your AP exam scores and upcoming AP exams to be taken in senior spring in the testing section of your Common Application (or other applications). In most cases, you only want to report scores of 4 or 5. Some colleges such as University of Michigan will not consider self-reported AP scores, so you will need to have them officially sent through College Board. However, most colleges do not require an official AP score report until you enroll. Other exceptions are universities in the United Kingdom and a few colleges that offer flexible testing plans which require you to send AP scores officially.

5. Sending SAT Subject test scores
Only a handful of colleges require SAT subject test scores and an additional few require them only for students submitting the SAT (versus the ACT). Most of these highly selective colleges recommend submitting two scores (Georgetown recommends three). Check each college’s website to know for sure. To decide whether to submit a score, determine the percentile of your score and decide whether the score would impact your presentation favorably or not, depending on its relative competitiveness compared with your other credentials. In general, if the college admits less than 20% of applicants, you probably only want to share scores of over 700.

Keep in mind that college testing policies are constantly changing so it is important to check the college’s website during junior year and as you apply to be sure you are adhering to their requirements.

If you are a sophomore, contact us today to develop a testing strategy and timeline for junior and senior year.

 

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