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Articles / Applying to College / I'm Too Late to Take Required Subject Tests

Oct. 22, 2011

I'm Too Late to Take Required Subject Tests

Question: I am currently taking SATs in December and in time for January 2012 application deadlines. However, I did not have the time to take Subject Tests in time and would be non-eligible for several colleges that I'm really keen on applying to.

Should I resign to my fate and apply next year or is there a way I can go about my applications? Please help!


Many colleges will accept January Subject Tests, even if their application deadline has already passed. If you take the tests on January 28th, you should have your scores sent directly to the colleges that require them. Then, on February 16th, when you get your scores online, you should ask your school counselor to fax, email, or phone them in to admission offices. Although the colleges will still expect official scores from the College Board, they will usually consider the ones that come from your counselor to be legitimate and can use them in the decision making process while they wait for the official ones to arrive.

You can check with admission offices now to make sure that the January scores are accepted (before you waste money on application fees and spend time on applications). But, in most cases, you should be okay with the January test date, even though you're cutting it a bit too close for comfort.

If you find out that January is too late for your top-choice colleges but you have some extenuating circumstances to explain your tardiness (e.g., there were problems at home, you or a family member was ill, you are the first in your family to go to college and you didn't receive adequate advising), then you may be able to request an extension and submit January scores anyway.

Another option is to take the ACT on December 10th, the week after the SAT's (regular ACT registration deadline = Nov. 4th). Many colleges that require the SAT Reasoning Test and two Subject Tests will accept the ACT in place of BOTH. So that's something to look into as well. If your target schools accept the ACT in place of the Subject Tests, then you won't have to worry about late scores at all.

(posted 10/22/2011)

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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