Once you finish taking the SAT and receive your score (hopefully one that you are happy with!), the hard part is over… but, the process is not yet done. You still have to send your scores to colleges so that they can take it into account when considering your application. This is a crucial step, and you should make sure to carefully read this article to the end to ensure that colleges receive your SAT score and that all your hard work wasn’t for nothing!
When To Send SAT Scores To Colleges
You can send your SAT score to colleges at three points during the test-taking process. Timing is important, though, and there are several pros and cons to weigh when deciding at what point to send your SAT scores to colleges.
Here are the points in which you can submit your scores to colleges:
- When you register for the test. You can select what colleges and scholarship programs you send your scores to, and once your score is available, it will automatically be sent to colleges. You are eligible for four free score reports if you choose this option.
- Nine days after you take the test. You have the option to send your scores to colleges nine days after you take the test. During this time frame, you can also use your free score reports, which we will discuss in more detail at a later point in this article.
- After you receive your score. Once you can see your score on your College Board account, you can order SAT score reports at any time afterwards and select which colleges and scholarship programs you want to send them to.
Each option has their pros and cons. If you decide to select colleges when you register for the test or nine days after you take the test, you will not be able to see your scores before they are sent out. Importantly, you will not be able to participate in SAT Score Choice, which allows you to pick out specific scores that you want colleges to see and not see (if you want to read more about Score Choice and learn how to take the best advantage of it, check out this article). Your score will be sent to college even if you are not happy with your scores or if you want to use a better section score from a previous SAT you’ve taken. If you are coming close to the application deadline for a college, however, this is the fastest way (without paying for the rush service) to get the score report to them. Thus, this option is best for students who are 100 percent sure that they are only taking the SAT once, if they have great confidence that this particular test will have all of their best scores, or if they are coming up against a pressing application deadline.
Choosing to send scores after you receive them is a more lenient option for students who wish to see their score beforehand and take advantage of SAT Score Choice.
Your scores do not expire, but keep in mind that if you want to send scores from an SAT that you took more than five years ago, there is a special process you have to go through. For older SATs, you must request them from the archives and they cost significantly more than a regular report.
Note: It is always crucial to check the SAT policies of the colleges you are sending scores to. Some colleges require you to submit your official score report along with your application, but some have taken different routes. There are options to self-report your score, where you don’t need to buy a score report, and also options to send in your score only after you’re accepted. Check the college’s policy so you don’t end up paying for a service you don’t need!
Is It Better To Send Score Reports Earlier?
You may wonder if it’s better to send in your score reports earlier rather than later in order to demonstrate to colleges that you are proactive and on top of your college applications. In fact, College Board claims that sending scores earlier shows colleges that you are interested in them and will positively take that into reviewing your application. Does this mean that you should take the SAT and send in your scores at the beginning of your junior year?
Not necessarily. While schools do pay attention to if students have expressed demonstrated interest, this does not really include sending your scores in early. Demonstrated interest can include attending info sessions, touring the campus, and reaching out to college student or alumni representatives. Demonstrated interest usually plays a bigger role after you’ve submitted your application, as well—it’s a tactic that students employ to potentially move up on the waitlist.
But when you send in your scores does not have any effect on demonstrated interest, so it does not give your application an edge. The application officer will probably simply file away your score report and wait for it to be read when your entire application is ready.
Additionally, sending your score in early will preclude you from taking the SAT again and potentially improving your score. Likewise, you cannot benefit from Score Choice where you can extract your best scores from different tests.
How Long Does It Take SAT Scores To Send?
SAT scores take time to be delivered to colleges, so you should plan ahead and check college application deadlines. Ideally, you should order your scores at least 2 weeks before the application deadline. This, however, is the absolute minimum, and if you err on the careful side, you will want to have at least 3 weeks between the time you order your report and the application deadline for safety.
Schools receive the score reports electronically, but it takes about 1 week for College Board to send the scores to colleges, and then 1 more week for colleges to process and file your scores.
If you opted to send score reports right when you registered for the test or in the 9 days after you took the test, they will automatically be sent to colleges as soon as the score report is available.
Another aspect to keep in mind is that the time period between taking your test and getting your official score report can vary. While the SAT usually takes about 2 weeks to grade your test, it can take longer for more popular test dates—for example, a June test date once took over five weeks for College Board to finish grading all the tests. Keep this in mind when deciding when to take the SAT, as the lag can affect when your scores are delivered to colleges.
Rushed Score Report
If you are coming up against a pressing application deadline and are not sure if your score will be received by your selected colleges in time, there is an option to pay extra for College Board’s rush service.
Using this service, College Board guarantees SAT scores will be sent out within 1 – 4 business days.
Paying for this service may be worth it if you want a little extra security if a tight deadline is soon coming up. It is important to note, however, that this service does not speed up how long College Board takes to grade your test and how long it takes for the colleges themselves to process and file your scores. Some schools choose to process scores daily, while others only process them weekly. So, paying for this service doesn’t necessarily guarantee that schools will see your score sooner.
Here are three possible timelines for your score reports:
If you opted to send scores when you registered for the test or 9 days after you took the test:
|Before Day 1||Register for the SAT and select colleges to send your scores to|
|Day 1||Take the SAT|
|Day 1-9||Select colleges to send your scores to|
|Day 22||Official scores released|
|Day 22-32||College Board sends the score report to colleges|
|Day 32-39||Colleges receives your score|
If you opted to send scores after your score report arrived:
|Day 1||Take the SAT|
|Day 22||Official scores released|
|Day 27-34||College Board sends the score report to colleges|
|Day 34-43||Colleges receives your score|
If you opted for the rushed service:
|Day 1||Take the SAT|
|Day 22||Official scores released|
|Day 23-26||College Board sends the score report to colleges|
|Day 30-39||Colleges receives your score|
What Happens If Your Scores Arrive Late?
You might have done everything correctly, but things out of your control can happen and your score report ends up arriving late to colleges. What happens then? Was all the studying and test-taking and headaches thrown down the drain?
The answer is, it depends. Each college has their own policy on late SAT score reports. Some colleges, like the University of Texas, are hard-liners about the deadline and disqualify applicants if they have late required application materials.
Other colleges are more lenient and largely subscribe to the view that everything is fine as long as the score arrives by the time they get around to reading it. This is still a huge gamble, however, as you never know where in the order your application will lie in the huge pile that admissions officers will be sifting through.
Finally, some schools take late SAT reports on a case-by-case basis. If they see an exceptional application with a missing SAT score report, they may give the student the benefit of the doubt and put aside the application until the scores arrive.
Can My Scores Get Lost?
If a college reaches out to you and says that they can’t find your score report, don’t panic. There is probably a logical reason for this, and it is not your fault if you followed all the steps correctly.
The College Board guarantees that your selected colleges will receive your SAT scores, both when you select the option during registration or when you order additional score reports after your official score is released.
First, check that there was no error on your part. Students often find that they selected the wrong school name when adding colleges to the list of where to send their scores. Log into the College Board website to double-check the colleges you selected.
If this was not the case, check to see how much time has elapsed since you ordered the score reports. A good rule of thumb is to wait three weeks after your SAT scores before worrying that it didn’t go through. There is a good chance, as well, that the school received your score but hasn’t filed it in their system yet. After three weeks, calmly and respectfully call the admissions office to ask if your scores have arrived or not.
Finally, if your scores still haven’t shown up (though this is extremely rare), you can simply resend them through the College Board site by ordering new score reports.
So, How Do You Send SAT Scores To Colleges?
Now that you know all about the timing of sending your SAT scores to colleges, what are the actual steps to send your scores? Luckily, the College Board has a streamlined process. All you need is your list of schools and (possibly) your credit card information.
- Sign In To Your College Board Account
- Select The Test To Send And Click On “Send Scores”
After signing into your account, select the test you want to send. The “send score” button should be at the bottom of the page.
- Click On “Send Available Scores Now” Or “Send Scores When Available”
This determines whether you want your score sent immediately after your score is released, or if you want to view the scores before deciding to send them.
- Search For Your Colleges
You can search for your colleges by state and by name. Once you’ve found them, click “Add” to make them a score report recipient.
- Repeat The Process For All The Schools On Your List
You can add as many colleges as you want, but be sure to double check their policies for standardized testing. Some colleges may require you to send them after you’re accepted, and some allow you to just self-report your scores.
- Double-check Your Order And Pay
We will outline the different pricings depending on your order in the following section.
- Check Your Account To See If The Scores Have Been Sent
You can track the status of your scores on the College Board website.
How Much Does It Cost To Send SAT Scores To Colleges?
You incur a different fee depending on when you decide to send your scores to colleges.
Free Score Report
When you select the colleges you want to send scores to during registration, or nine days after you take the test, you are eligible for four free score reports. This means that you can send your scores to four different colleges at no cost.
Additional Score Reports
Any additional score reports you wish to send over the four free ones you get, or if you select the option to send your score reports after your score is released, each score report incurs a fee. It is $12 per score report. So, if you are sending a score report to 5 additional colleges, the total cost would be $60. This fee is refundable if you cancel the order within 24 hours.
Rushed Score Report
Requesting the rushed service costs $31, plus any other regular fees. This fee is non-refundable.
Old Score Report (5+ years)
If you want to send a score report that is over 5 years old, you will have to pay a $31 retrieval fee, on top of the additional score report fee.
|Free Score Reports||If you select colleges to send your score report to at registration or nine days after you take the SAT, you are eligible for four free score reports.||$0|
|Additional Score Reports||If you want to send more than the four free score reports, or if you want to send your scores after they are released, you can request additional score reports.||$12 per score report|
|Rush Order Service||Score reports will be sent to colleges within 1 – 4 business days (not counting holidays and weekends).||$31 plus any regular fee|
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About The Author
Andie Pinga is an expert SoFlo tutor who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Economics and a minor Anthropology. She scored a 35 on her ACT and enjoys rock climbing and playing the guitar.