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Articles / Applying to College / Must I Submit All SAT Scores AND All ACT Scores?

Aug. 5, 2010

Must I Submit All SAT Scores AND All ACT Scores?

Question: I took the SAT I and I am satisfied with my score, but I wanted to try the ACT as well. If my ACT score is not as good as my comparative SAT score, do I have to list my ACT scores on the Common Application?

This is a good question, but one that comes with a somewhat convoluted answer. I personally would like to tar and feather every admissions director who doesn't participate in Score Choice. The varying policies that many colleges insist upon are confusing to students, who have enough to worry about already. And many colleges don't make their policies clear to begin with.


Yale University is one of the colleges that requires "All Scores" from its applicants. But, if you read their test-submission practices below (which are pretty clear ... thank you, Elis!) you'll see that, if you take both the SAT and the ACT, you don't have to submit any ACT scores. Likewise, if you do well on the ACT, then you don't have to submit any SAT scores. BUT ... if you decide to submit scores from both tests, then you must send all scores from each of your SAT and ACT sittings. If you only take the ACT once, then that's a moot point for you. (Well, okay, it's still a bit confusing, but if you're aiming for a place like Yale, you should be able to figure it out ;)).

Yale requires results from all of the SAT I and SAT II tests or all of the ACT tests you have taken. If you choose to fulfill our testing requirement with SAT scores, then it is not necessary to send any scores from the ACT, even if you have taken the ACT. And if you choose to fulfill the requirement using the ACT, you do not need to send us any SAT scores, unless you wish.

However, and this is important, if you elect to use the SAT scores, you must report all scores from all SAT exams (both SAT I and SAT II) that you have taken. If you elect to use ACT scores, you must report all scores from all ACT exams you have taken. And if you choose to use a combination of SAT and ACT results, we require that you report all scores from both agencies.

Unless a college specifically insists otherwise, I suggest that you treat each "All Scores" college on your list as if it were Yale. That is, if you plan to send any SAT scores, then you must send all SAT scores, but you don't have to send the ACT score, too, unless you decide you want to.

Hope that helps. Good luck navigating the rest of this confounding maze.

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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