Test Prep

3 Timing Options for Submitting Your SAT Scores to Colleges

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Each portion of the college application that you complete is stressful enough, but at least you can typically control when you do so. The same can't be said for submitting test scores, like those for the SAT. There, the timing becomes critical, and when you submit depends on two factors: Your test date and which set of scores you'd like to submit. While you can sometimes submit your test scores simultaneously with your regular application in addition to sending official score reports, you typically have three options for when to send official scores. Here's a guide to helping you decide among them.


Within Your Registration Window

The first option for submitting SAT scores is in conjunction with registering for the test. This doesn't actually mean you have to request the score reports when you sign up, though! In actuality, you have up to nine days after your SAT test date to do so. However, only the first four reports are free to send. Any additional you'd like to submit cost you $12 each.

This is the fastest way to send scores to your schools of choice; you may receive your scores anywhere from two to six weeks after your test date, and they'll be sent to colleges within ten days after you receive them.

(More than Nine Days) After the Test Date

If, after your nine-day window has passed, you choose to send your scores to additional schools, you can still certainly do so. However, it'll still cost you $12 for each score report you request — even if you didn't send four the first time around. That's $12 extra for each school, which is one of the many reasons it's important to do your research beforehand, so you can take advantage of any free score reports the College Board offers you!

A good reason to take advantage of this can be if you weren't confident going into the test but earned scores that may have exceeded your expectations. While some schools require that you submit all of your SAT scores anyway, if you've got a school on your list that doesn't, it's good to be cautious and avoid sending a less-than-stellar score.

Get a Rush Order

While it can typically take up to 10 days for the College Board to submit your scores once you've requested them, some instances may arise in which you need them submitted to a school sooner. That's when the SAT Rush Order comes in handy, offering the option to have your scores sent within two to four business days. This option, of course, comes with an extra cost: You'll pay a flat $31 on top of any other applicable fees.

SAT Score Choice

We've spoken so far about when you can send your scores — but we should also note that the College Board will also allow students who are retaking the SAT to decide which scores to send. SAT Score Choice gives you the ability to choose which scores are sent as part of your score report — at no additional cost. This allows you to choose which administrations' scores your school will see.

This is beneficial in a few situations: You might simply retake the SAT and score higher, therefore making your first score irrelevant. Or you might be applying to a college that superscores the SAT. If that's the case, you can send the test date with your highest Math score and the one with your highest Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score. (Score Choice also lets you choose which SAT Subject Test scores are sent to your schools.)

If you don't utilize Score Choice, all of your scores are automatically sent. Like I said, this may be a requirement for some of the schools on your list anyway, so it's important to distinguish between which schools on your list offer the option.

When submitting your SAT scores, as with any part of the college admissions process, it's important to research what you need to submit to each school and when you need to submit it. This can save you both time and money later. To potentially save even more money, read up on fee waiver eligibility.