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Articles / Applying to College / Is January Subject Test Too Late?

Feb. 3, 2009

Is January Subject Test Too Late?

Question: I took an SAT Subject Test in January, and I think I did well, though I won't get my score for a couple more weeks. I already sent the scores from two October Subject Tests to all of my colleges (some that require two Subject Tests and some that don't). If my latest test score is good, should I send it, too, even though it's not required? What if one of the colleges says that December is the last test date they accept ... will they penalize me for sending January scores?

Send the new score if you like it. In fact, to expedite matters, if you have a good relationship with your guidance counselor, ask him or her to fax, phone, or email the score to your colleges as soon as you see it or include it in your mid-year school report, if that hasn't gone out yet. Since the score won't be on the Web until mid-Feb., you'll want colleges to have it as soon as possible. The score isn't mandatory, so it's fine to have it sent by your counselor to make sure it arrives quickly. A self-report by you, however, will not be considered valid.


You won't be penalized for sending a score post-deadline if it's not a required test. Some colleges will pay more attention to it than others will, but there's no down side to sending it in and letting the colleges decide how they will treat it. (Note also that some colleges allow January test scores even if their deadlines have passed by the time they get them.)

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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