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Articles / Applying to College / Getting SAT Scores to Colleges on Time
Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Dec. 20, 2002

Getting SAT Scores to Colleges on Time

Question: If the deadline for my applications is upon me, and my SATs won't be scored for a few weeks, what happens? Will a college still accept my application or do they consider it incomplete and trash it?

Colleges won’t refuse your application if your scores haven’t arrived yet, but it’s still wise to make sure they know what tests you took, when you took them, and when the official scores are due. Typically, an application has a spot where you list all completed tests and test dates. However, even if this is the case, if your scores will show up behind schedule, it’s helpful to include a brief note with your application (it doesn’t have to be fancy. You can even do it on a Post-it) that tells the college which test scores are still not finalized and about when they should expect to see them.


You should also get your scores as soon as possible yourself by using the College Board’s telephone or online reporting service (for an extra fee, of course) and then have your guidance counselor send the scores to your target colleges immediately by fax or e-mail (phone is okay, too). Even if these scores aren’t considered 100 percent “official,” most colleges will accept them happily. The key, however, is that they must come from your school, not directly from you.

On the other hand, if you took the SAT previously and your target colleges already have those scores, and then you find that your new scores are actually lower, you certainly don’t want to go out of your way to hurry the results to the colleges.

Good luck to youâ€"both with your test results and your admission decisions.

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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