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Articles / Preparing for College / Will Colleges Consider (Slightly) Late Test Scores?

Feb. 7, 2021

Will Colleges Consider (Slightly) Late Test Scores?

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I am taking the SAT this weekend and the ACT next weekend. There's a good chance my scores won't be back by my first deadline (October 15). Should I send them anyway? Is there a chance that colleges will allow slightly later test scores following the deadline? I have had a really hard time getting a test sitting this year. My PSAT was really high so I don't want to miss the chance to try and get a high SAT or ACT.


Even in the past, prior to this crazy COVID year, admission officials have typically been flexible when it came to accepting test scores that arrived a bit after the application deadline (although they may not have exactly advertised their flexibility!). This year, however, you can expect more wiggle room than ever before. College officials understand that their applicants have been plagued by rescheduled and canceled test dates. So it's highly likely that your test scores will be included in your application review, if you want them to be, even if they show up a little past a deadline.

However, because you anticipate that the college with the October 15 deadline won't receive your scores by then, you'd be wise to send a quick email to your regional rep to provide a heads-up that the tests have been taken but the scores will be tardy. Your regional rep is the admissions staff member who oversees applicants from your high school. You can often find the name and email address on college websites; if not, just call the admissions office to ask. Perhaps you've already established a "relationship" with your regional rep and have exchanged a message or two. But if not, this is a good time to initiate these ties.

Granted, admission folks are going to be really busy for the next six or more months, and they're not looking for new pen pals, so don't use this score snafu as a way to launch an ongoing chat. But even so, a brief note to your rep right now is a good way to say hello and to provide an alert that your test results will soon be on the way. Then, once you do get your scores, you can ask your school counselor to please email them to the college with the early deadline. Even if scores that come directly from the testing agency are necessary at this school (a requirement that's quickly changing in favor of self-reported scores), admission staff will be able to use the scores sent by your counselor while they wait for the official ones.

Good luck on your tests just ahead!

About the Ask the Dean Column

Sally Rubenstone is a veteran of the college admissions process and is the co-author of three books covering admissions. She worked as a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years and has also served as an independent college counselor, in addition to working as a senior advisor at College Confidential since 2002. If you'd like to submit a question to The Dean please email us at editorial@collegeconfidential.com.

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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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