Most colleges require an SAT score from applicants, so it’s critical that you send your best scores to your preferred colleges well before the deadline. Luckily, College Board makes sending scores easy. Just follow these instructions to stay on top of your application.
Sending Your Scores
While registering for the SAT, you can sign up for four free score reports right away. Just list up to four colleges to which you plan to apply, and College Board sends your SAT scores to them one to two weeks after posting them online. If you want to see how you performed on the SAT before sending your results, you can wait up to nine days after taking the test to sign up for your free score reports. You can also send your scores to SAT scholarship programs, if desired, or to college sports associations such as the NCAA for proof of academic merit.
To send regular score reports, log into your College Board account, and click the View Details button next to your scores on the dashboard. Click the Score Sends tab, and then click Send Additional Score Reports. Using the interface that appears, add the schools to which you’re applying to the Your Selected Recipients box. Click the Continue button to reveal a list of your scores, and pick the ones you want to send off. Keep in mind that you can send a school as many scores in a single report as you like without paying extra. Your colleges only get to see the SAT results you want them to see, so you should pick your highest scores. This principle also applies if you plan to send ACT scores.
Once you’ve picked the scores you want to send and the schools you want to send them to, you can review your order and pay for it. Regular score reports cost $11.25, as of 2018. However, you may qualify for a fee waiver if your household income falls below a certain threshold. The waiver lets you send up to four free reports in addition to the four free reports available when you register for the SAT, for a total of eight free reports. You might want to ask your school counselor if you’re eligible for the fee waiver.
Choosing Your Scores
Which scores should you send to your preferred colleges? That depends on the colleges’ admissions requirements. Some schools require scores for every test you take, so you might as well register to send your free score reports to them, regardless of how well you perform on the SAT. Most schools only require a score for one SAT test, so send these schools your highest scores.
Other schools have a superscoring rule, which means they take your highest scores ever for each section of the SAT and combine them into a single test score. For colleges that superscore, don’t be afraid to send them a lackluster SAT report if your score on a given section of the test was your highest.
In addition, if you take an SAT Subject Test, such as Literature or United States History, you only have to send your results if you so choose. Similarly, if you take a Subject Test more than once, you can send your best score and ignore the others.
When Is a Score Good Enough to Send?
Schools often publish statistics of each matriculating class’s scores to give applicants a score target. To greatly improve your chances of acceptance, you should shoot for a score in the 75th percentile of the most recent matriculating class. Average scores at competitive colleges often rise steadily from year to year, so a high target gives you an edge when applying to college.
Rush Score Reports
If you’re brushing up against the deadline for an application, you can send a rush score report for $31, and the document should arrive at your chosen college within two to four business days. Unfortunately, fee waivers don’t cover rush reports. Also, because colleges process applications at their own pace, they may not process your score reports by the deadline even if rushed, so your best bet is to send out the scores as quickly as possible. You can send rush reports online or via traditional mail.
Since some schools disqualify applicants who provide test scores after the deadline, it’s a good idea to splurge for a rush score report even if you’re only a bit worried your scores won’t arrive on time. Schools often have a fixed number of admittance slots, so even a strong candidate may be unable to attend the school if these slots are full. If the school has begun reviewing your application without the scores, you should send a rush score report and alert the admissions officers about it, as they may postpone the review until the scores arrive. Don’t bother sending colleges SAT scores by fax or mail, as they typically only trust scores sent through College Board.
To avoid sending rush score reports, keep in mind the time delays involved in taking the SAT, scoring the test, sending it off, and processing it. College Board takes two to three weeks to score SATs and another week or two afterward to send them if you signed up for the free reports. These days, College Board sends scores electronically, so they arrive at colleges right away. However, colleges download the scores manually, and they can go several days between downloaded batches of SAT scores. Additionally, colleges must collate the scores with your application, which can take time. All told, over a month can pass before the SAT you take appears in your college’s application file, so try to take the SAT at least a month and a half before your first application deadline.
Sending Old Scores
If you want to send SAT scores over a year old, just call (866) 756-7346 to order them, or send an Archived Score Report Order Form to SAT Program at P.O. Box 7503 London, Kentucky 40742-7503. Old SAT score reports cost $31 each, and you must pay an additional $15 if you order them over the phone.
What If Your Scores Go Missing?
Although a rare occurrence, colleges may not receive your score reports, such as if you filled out the report form incorrectly. If your preferred college doesn’t have your report, check that you sent it to the right place. Be sure to wait at least three weeks after you send your scores before politely asking college admissions offices about them. If the scores really are missing, just order new ones on College Board as soon as you can.
Sending your SAT scores to colleges doesn’t need to be a hassle. Just remember to send early and give your highest scores priority.