Preparing for College

Getting SAT Scores to Colleges on Time

Question: If the deadline for my applications is upon me, and my SATs won't be scored for a few weeks, what happens? Will a college still accept my application or do they consider it incomplete and trash it?

Colleges won’t refuse your application if your scores haven’t arrived yet, but it’s still wise to make sure they know what tests you took, when you took them, and when the official scores are due. Typically, an application has a spot where you list all completed tests and test dates. However, even if this is the case, if your scores will show up behind schedule, it’s helpful to include a brief note with your application (it doesn’t have to be fancy. You can even do it on a Post-it) that tells the college which test scores are still not finalized and about when they should expect to see them.


You should also get your scores as soon as possible yourself by using the College Board’s telephone or online reporting service (for an extra fee, of course) and then have your guidance counselor send the scores to your target colleges immediately by fax or e-mail (phone is okay, too). Even if these scores aren’t considered 100 percent “official,” most colleges will accept them happily. The key, however, is that they must come from your school, not directly from you.

On the other hand, if you took the SAT previously and your target colleges already have those scores, and then you find that your new scores are actually lower, you certainly don’t want to go out of your way to hurry the results to the colleges.

Good luck to you—both with your test results and your admission decisions.