Use Forethought and Strategy to Send SAT Scores
The College Board allows students to send scores for free to four colleges when they register for an SAT and up to 9 days after students take that particular test. This is a useful and cost-effective way to send scores to colleges, and many colleges take advance receipt of your scores as an indication of your interest in the school.
Unless you have a specific reason to do so, however, you might want to wait to send your SAT scores until you absolutely have to, particularly if you’ll be taking the SAT multiple times or you plan to take more SAT Subject Tests than a college requires.
Sometimes you’ll have more test scores than you need for one particular college, and sometimes you’ll want to send strong scores to a college even if sending those scores is optional. In these cases, you’ll want to know the scores you’re sending beforehand.
How to Send SAT Scores Online
Outside of your four free score reports, it costs $12 per score report unless you qualify for a fee waiver. Rushed scores, like those you’d send in the case of early admissions or appealed admissions decisions, cost $31 each.
To send SAT Scores, log into your account at collegeboard.org and go to My SAT. You’ll see a button that reads “Send Your SAT Scores” on virtually every page that allows you to view your SAT scores.
An alert will pop up detailing why you need to send official reports rather than simply self-reporting within your application, which is, of course, free. In fact, some schools, like Stanford, allow students to self-report SAT scores rather than send official SAT scores for the purposes of applying; they don’t require official scores in the interest of saving students money. If students are ultimately admitted at Stanford, they’ll be required to send an official SAT Score transcript only then. Watch for this policy at other colleges.
Once you’re in the “Send Scores” window, the College Board also reminds you about one of its best features: SAT Score Choice.
Use Score Choice to Send SAT Scores Whenever Possible
The advent of score choice has revolutionized the way that colleges receive your SAT scores. It used to be that, even though schools would agree to “super score” an SAT (meaning use your highest score on each subsection to create your highest score), you’d have to send them all of your SAT scores anyway. In other words, if you had a rough day and had a 570 on the Math one day and a 710 on the Math on another day, even if you were “using” the 710 to apply, colleges would still see the 570. It was difficult to believe that a low score might not affect an admission decision.
These days, score choice allows you to send only your highest score on each section of the SAT to colleges, so the admissions committee only sees your superscore and nothing else. It’s a great way to feel reassured that the admissions committee is seeing your scoring in its best light.
You can only use score choice for schools that allow you to do so. You can find out each college or university’s score choice guidelines on the admissions page of its website. Generally, though, at this point, an overwhelming number of schools welcome score choice.
The same luxury of score choice is true for SAT Subject Tests: you only need to send test scores you want to, either from select tests or select dates, provided a college requires those tests.
SAT Subject Test Scores are Sent the Same Way as SAT Scores
If you’re sending scores online you’ll see your SAT Subject Tests listed below your SAT scores on the same page. Online score choice through the College Board allows you to send everything to a college in one convenient batch.
How Long Does it Take for Colleges to Receive Scores Once They’re Sent?
The College Board doesn’t say too much about this, but apparently, colleges themselves vary in how they receive scores. I don’t want to speculate, but it sounds like some receive scores digitally and some receive paper scores in batches.
Either way, once a college receives a score, as with everything, it takes time to process those scores. The College Board recommends you wait another week before verifying with the school that it received your scores, should you feel the need to do so.
Send SAT Scores to Scholarship Organizations
Any scholarship organization that offers awards based on your SAT scores will require that you submit an official SAT score. Those scholarship organizations are usually listed in the recipient bank in the same window you’d use to send scores to colleges on collegeboard.org.
For those who have yet to take the SAT test, here’s a list of our best prep courses as well as practice books for getting the scores you can’t wait to send out.