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Articles / Applying to College / Must My Son Send ALL His Test Results to Colleges?

Sept. 3, 2009

Must My Son Send ALL His Test Results to Colleges?

Question: My son is applying to MIT and several other highly selective colleges. Must he submit ALL of his SAT and ACT results to the schools on his list or can he choose which scores the admission committees will see?

Your son may actually need the MIT degree before he even finishes high school just to figure out which scores he is required to submit! The ACT has always offered "Score Choice," meaning that students can decide which test scores they want colleges to see. The College Board introduced this policy last spring. However, your son must send ALL of the SAT I scores from the same test date ... i.e., he can't submit only the Critical Reading score from June and only the Math or Writing from October, etc. For the SAT II's (Subject Tests) he CAN send the results of only one test, even if he took more than one Subject Test on the same date.

BUT .... life is never simple in the admissions world. So, while most colleges respect the score-choice option, some colleges are now insisting that students must send EVERY score for EVERY test taken. Of course, these colleges will have no way of knowing which tests a candidate did take (unless the scores are on the high school transcript) because the ACT and College Board folks won't tell them. So the honor system kicks in here.

Your son can use this master list that's reasonably current to see what his own target colleges require: http://professionals.collegeboard.com/profdownload/sat-score-use-practices-list.pdf (It makes my eyes glaze over.)

There's also an easier-to-read (but less official and complete) list here: http://www.prepmatters.com/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/65355

As you'll see on both of these rosters, MIT does allow your son to decide which scores to submit.

The College Board claims that they initiated the "Score Choice" policy to help make the admissions process less stressful. But with so many varying college policies, I think that, instead, they've actually turned up the heat in the admissions pressure cooker yet another notch.

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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