Preparing for College

Must We Submit Lousy SAT II Scores?

Question: My son's grades and SAT scores are well within the median range at the

colleges on his list, and his extracurriculars are super. These schools don't require SAT IIs, but he took the tests anyway. He did poorly (16th percentile on Math II!). His counselor says to send the scores to all colleges because they show he tried. Is this good advice?


Frankly, I don't agree with your counselor. Your son should not send very poor scores to colleges that do not require them. Nonetheless, the colleges may see them anyway. If your son has not yet sent all the required SAT I score reports to his target schools and is still in the process of ordering them, then his SAT II scores will show up on those same reports. The College Board issues cumulative score reports which means that it's not possible to submit SAT I's without also sending SAT II's. However, if your son ordered all his SAT I reports sent out before he took the SAT II, then the SAT II results will NOT be on his earlier score reports, and new reports will not be issued unless he orders them. (Confusing, eh?)

In addition, many high schools automatically put testing results on every transcript. If your son's school does this, then colleges will see the SAT II scores there. You can ask the counselor to eliminate them before sending out your son's transcript, but some counselors seem reluctant to comply. Since your son's counselor is pushing for SAT II score submission anyway, you may not be able to get transcript scores removed.

If the option does exist to keep admission folks from seeing your son's SAT II's, that's the strategy that gets my vote.