Preparing for College

When to Send SAT Scores

Question: Does it matter when one sends SAT scores? Will colleges look at all scores you send them or just the first (then possibly discard your name)?

Your question isn’t clear. ("The Dean" doesn’t know what you mean by “discard your name.”) But here’s how the system works, so hopefully this will provide the information you need:


It doesn’t matter when you send SAT scores as long as they arrive by the application deadline. (And, in most cases, even if they’re a little bit late, you won’t be penalized.) If you send scores to a college but you haven’t applied there yet, the admission staff will save them under your name in a general file until your application shows up (even if you’re a junior and won’t be applying for many months.)

Some colleges require that you send ALL scores for every SAT or ACT you took. Many others honor “Score Choice” which allows you to decide which scores to submit. Admission officials are likely to look at all of the scores you send them … whether they subscribe to the “Score Choice” policy or not. However, many colleges only officially “use” the best of your scores when they evaluate your application.

If admission officials have made a preliminary decision to waitlist or deny you (but haven’t formalized the decision yet) and then new, better scores arrive, the officials may review their earlier decision and decide to admit you.

I hope this answers your question.

(posted 1/8/2012)