Preparing for College

Must My Son Send ALL His Test Results to Colleges?

Question: My son is applying to MIT and several other highly selective colleges. Must he submit ALL of his SAT and ACT results to the schools on his list or can he choose which scores the admission committees will see?

Your son may actually need the MIT degree before he even finishes high school just to figure out which scores he is required to submit! The ACT has always offered "Score Choice," meaning that students can decide which test scores they want colleges to see. The College Board introduced this policy last spring. However, your son must send ALL of the SAT I scores from the same test date ... i.e., he can't submit only the Critical Reading score from June and only the Math or Writing from October, etc. For the SAT II's (Subject Tests) he CAN send the results of only one test, even if he took more than one Subject Test on the same date.

BUT .... life is never simple in the admissions world. So, while most colleges respect the score-choice option, some colleges are now insisting that students must send EVERY score for EVERY test taken. Of course, these colleges will have no way of knowing which tests a candidate did take (unless the scores are on the high school transcript) because the ACT and College Board folks won't tell them. So the honor system kicks in here.

Your son can use this master list that's reasonably current to see what his own target colleges require: (It makes my eyes glaze over.)

There's also an easier-to-read (but less official and complete) list here:

As you'll see on both of these rosters, MIT does allow your son to decide which scores to submit.

The College Board claims that they initiated the "Score Choice" policy to help make the admissions process less stressful. But with so many varying college policies, I think that, instead, they've actually turned up the heat in the admissions pressure cooker yet another notch.