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Articles / Applying to College / Confusion over SAT Score-Sending Timetable

Confusion over SAT Score-Sending Timetable

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Sept. 7, 2010

Question: I'm a bit worried about my SAT score reporting because I'm not sure how the College Board does it. I already took the SAT once in May and Subject Tests in June. I have not sent any scores to colleges yet. Right now (early September) I am registered for the SAT I in November and the Subject Tests in December. I want to send all my scores to all colleges (including my new scores, as well as the old ones), but I'm worried that they might not get there on time. I want to use the "registration score send" which allows the to CB send my scores right after they mark my test, before I get to see the results. However, does that mean that my old scores won't get sent until I finish my very last test (in December)?

When you give the College Board the names of colleges via your registration, those colleges will receive:


-all scores from that particular test date (unless you are using Score Choice and are thus withholding some scores)

-all scores from all previous test dates (unless you are using Score Choice)

But, let's say you write down four colleges on your registration in November (we'll call them College A, B, C, and D) and then you write down four different ones in December (which we'll call E, F, G, and H), then Colleges E, F, G, and H will receive your scores from BOTH the November SAT I test date AND the December SAT II test date. BUT ... colleges A, B, C, and D will ONLY get the November scores. In order for A,B,C, and D to get your December scores, too, you must put them on the registration form (and pay a fee for all colleges above the first four "free" ones). Confusing, eh?

So what do you do if you want colleges to see your scores NOW and not wait until the end of December?

Well, if these are colleges that will be making a decision on you before the end of December (i.e., rolling admission colleges, Early Decision or Early Action schools), then you really have little choice but to pay to have your current scores sent there, even before you get your new batch in November and December.

If, however, your colleges all have January deadlines (or beyond) then you really don't need to get the scores to them sooner.

Moreover, if your high school is one that routinely puts test scores on student transcripts, then colleges may get to see your scores before they receive them from the College Board. Many colleges will "count" the scores that arrive on transcripts, although not all colleges will.

Again, I know this is confusing, so I hope it's a bit clearer now.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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