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 a college to see standardized test scores, 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 their average ranges, report your score!

2: How to report scores
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. Although you should verify this information on the college website, James Murphy of The Princeton Review has compiled a list of colleges who do and do not superscore the ACT. 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.

“A few oddballs such as The University of Michigan and The Air Force Academy look at the highest section scores without averaging the composite,” said Mr. Murphy. Some schools like Boston University and New York University do not report “superscoring” on their website, but they do focus on a student’s highest section scores and recalculate the composite.

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.

3. Officially Send Scores
Once you’ve determined what scores and test dates you wish to report, 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 the 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 if your score is at or above the median

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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